I’m working on an article on right-wing nationalist movements in Ireland, focusing on Anti-Corruption Ireland, the National Party, and Identity Ireland, with a historical background of the Citizenship Referendum of the early 2000s. These parties employ rhetoric and tactics associated with fascism. Political scientists don’t typically agree on all of the ideas that define fascism, but they do agree on a couple: (1) Pro-natalism and anti-abortion policies that oppress women while simultaneously idealizing them as keepers of the “home”; women thus have the responsibility of raising the next generation of X nation; (2) Extreme nationalism that rejects immigrants and other “races” as inferior and as defiling the purity of the nation; this type of nationalism also looks to the nation’s mythic past and wants to restore the nation’s bygone greatness; (3) corporatism that tames capitalism, and attacks powerful/wealthy companies (and labor unions, sometimes).
I posted about my research on Twitter, with a little joke about Justin Barrett and Gemma O’Doherty having an excellent ouija board with which they communicate with Benito Mussolini.
This was an excellent lesson for me in Internet cultures, and how such groups operate. First, a supporter of Gemma O’Doherty asked me a question about alleged fascism in Israel–a response to a tweet that had literally nothing to do with Israel. This person started by saying: “Weinstein. Interesting name, that,” followed by a question about the Israeli government. The implication here was clear: Because my last name is Weinstein, I’m (1) Jewish, and (2) harbor loyalty to Israel. The person seemed to have been attempting to induce me to defend Israel.
First, this tweet was overtly antisemitic. The deployment of my surname in this way is definitive proof of that. Second, this person invoked the antisemitic trope that Jews have dual loyalty to Israel. I pointed out that I’m American and sometimes live in Ireland, but the person–eventually people–involved in this was not moved. Finally, I noted that while I think Israel engages in a variety of human-rights violations, I’m not an expert on Israel/Palestine, and so I don’t feel comfortable commenting further.
Before I blocked the offending morons, I realized a couple of things about how the supporters of far-right nationalism work:
(1) They operate in online gangs in attempts to bully people into backing off of their positions, or, in my case, research.
(2) While I don’t believe all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, in this case, their use of conspiracy theories to attack Israel stank of anti-Jewish ideas.
I have no interest in engaging with gobshites on Twitter, so I just blocked this person. But, he gave me excellent fodder to open my article when I have enough research to write it. A personal anecdote is always a good way in, right?
For reference, here’s my original Tweet:
And here’s a small selection of the insanity that I received in response:
These boneheads have also suggested that I’m aiding and abetting paedophiles. Seriously: