The Ten Commandments Monument at the Arkansas State Capitol. (Photo/Wikimedia-LittleT889 CC BY-SA 4.0)
The Ten Commandments Monument at the Arkansas State Capitol. (Photo/Wikimedia-LittleT889 CC BY-SA 4.0)

Look beyond the Buffalo murders. The extremists’ ideology is mainstream on the right.

The recent shooting in Buffalo has revived America’s dialogue around the “great replacement theory,” the conspiracy that the alleged gunman — and many others who have targeted racial minorities, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and queer people — have cited as inspiration.

The theory, which originated in the early 20th century but has been prevalent in white nationalist circles since 2011, posits that Jews are operating behind the scenes to manipulate other minorities, the media and the governments of countries with white Christian majorities in order to destroy these societies.

The relative mainstreaming of this theory has played a major part in the rise of extremist murders in America. But even if the conspiracy were to disappear tomorrow, minorities would still be in danger. There is something larger and more insidious operating in our country (and beyond).

That something is a vision that the United States should be a white nationalist Christian theocracy. And that vision is not relegated to extremists — it is the vision of the right in our politics today.

Too often, we focus on what the extremist right is trying to destroy: immigration from non-white countries, the existence of queer people, rights for minorities.

But what this extremist movement is actually trying to achieve is far more dangerous, because it is far more all-encompassing and far more widely accepted in the mainstream right. And it is only when we tap into the broader vision that we will be able to understand and fight individual conspiracies.

Elad Nehorai
Elad Nehorai

Elad Nehorai is the co-founder of Hevria and one of the leaders of Torah Trumps Hate. His writing can be found in the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, the Guardian, and other outlets. A formerly Orthodox Jew, he is an outspoken activist on extremism both within and outside of the Jewish community.


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