Fascist Meetup: Netanyahu Welcomes Elon
Plus the Netherlands, Argentina, and the global far-right
Yesterday Elon Musk went to Israel. Well, he didn’t just go, he was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. He had special viewing sessions of videos from October 7th with the President and toured a kibbutz that had been attacked with Netanyahu. He did not go to Gaza or the West Bank, and did not meet with any Palestinians. But something did come from this inauspicious visit: an agreement between Musk and Israeli authorities that he would not use space link in Palestine without their permission. In other words, he will not help Gaza stay connected to the internet.
All of this might, to some, be especially surprising given Musk’s recent virulent antisemitism. The billionaire recently endorsed a post saying that Jews "have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them." His response to this drivel obviously meant to drum up even more antisemitism in this moment was “You have said the actual truth.” And this is just the latest in a series of posts for his millions of Twitter followers and the entire world to see. In fact, at the end of a long day in Israel attempting to wipe the smear of antisemitism from his irreparably damaged reputation, Musk got back on the social media app he owns and repeatedly boosted a post targeting the son of George Soros, a favorite of antisemites worldwide. So he wants it both ways. He wants the following he’s cultivated to know very clearly that he remains antisemitic, but he wants to simultaneously appear to toe a line meant to stem the exodus of advertisers from Twitter, and keep his other businesses from being affected. It should be very easy to see through this façade.
On the one hand this clarifies that Netanyahu doesn’t care about the safety of Jews worldwide. Musk is both the richest and the most influential antisemite on Earth and feigned care for the state of Israel does absolutely nothing to change that. It’s a frightening glimpse into how the fascist Zionist right places their nation above the safety of Jews everywhere else. Some, like Netanyahu, even appear to embrace the perverse incentive that danger to Jews around the world bolsters Israel as the only place that can ensure our safety. It’s a deal with the devil. Or, in this case, a deal with Elon Musk.
But what we’re seeing here is even bigger than one billionaire, or any one nation. There is a deeply troubling rise of the far-right across the globe. From Israel to the Netherlands to Argentina to the U.S. the right has recorded surprising wins in recent years, and in recent days. And it’s no coincidence that billionaires are increasingly backing fascist candidates. Javier Milei, the new President-elect of Argentina, likened to Trump from his past as a TV pundit to his slogan ‘get rid of them all’ (echoes of drain the swamp) to his politics, won support from an unusual coalition. When Milei entered Argentinian politics he made no secret of his effort to “blow up” the system. But he of course doesn’t mean the exploitative capitalist system, because he’s an ‘anarcho-capitalist,’ aka libertarian who wants the rich to be able to trample and exploit everyone else without government intervention. He meant government regulation and oversight of corporations. So it’s no surprise that on the night he won Elon Musk responded to the news, which he saw on the page End Wokeness, by saying “Prosperity lies ahead for Argentina.”
Milei, an outspoken admirer of Israel, did something unusual just yesterday as well. Only a week after winning the presidential election he visited New York, and specifically the grave of a prominent Orthodox rabbi. This is reportedly connected to his imminent conversion to Judaism. It’s all but assured that he will be by far the most pro-Israel leader in South America when he takes office. And he will also be the most far-right. This trend is mirrored in Geert Wilders, who leads the far-right party that won last Wednesday’s election in the Netherlands. Whether or not he and his party will be able to form a government, given the reluctance of mainstream parties to ally with them, remains to be seen. But his views are clear. Wilders is known largely for his Islamophobia, virulent anti-Arab statements, and his anti-immigrant sentiments. He also has a history of standing with Israel, displaying the Israeli flag in his office after October 7th.
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More recently, however, the way his Zionist and anti-Arab sentiments have combined has upset quite a few people. He said, and proudly tweeted, that “Jordan is Palestine” and therefore all Palestinians should go to Jordan. This is an endorsement of the ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the West Bank. Unsurprisingly, Wilders pairs these sentiments with a desire to deport more immigrants from the Netherlands, and “push back” asylum seekers to other EU nations. Across the world, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, the right has for years played up fears of immigration. That will come as no surprise, but the traction it’s gained in recent years has boosted far, far-right fascist parties in Europe. From Italy to the Netherlands to Hungary and beyond the success of this strategy should alarm us all.
Here in the United States we see that one of the biggest promoters of these views is, you guessed it, Elon Musk. He both boosts racist anti-immigrant accounts on Twitter and promotes anti-immigrant politicians. But he’s not alone. Other billionaires from David Sacks to Peter Thiel to Charles Koch are bolstering the far-right attack on migrants and even asylum seekers. And they’re not just sending tweets, they’ve built and are building sophisticated infrastructures to run candidates and influence policy at the state and national levels. They all want essentially the same things: unfettered ability to exploit us without government or union protections, and for none of us to realize what’s going on. In pursuit of this second goal, billionaires are embracing fascism more and more overtly. They want us angry at immigrants, queer and trans people, and people of color. They want us angry at anyone who isn’t them. This both distracts us from who is really harming us, which is of course largely the billionaires themselves, and enables them to build power with the far-right.
Fascists will try to fool us every way they can. They’ll conduct symbolic gestures while they stab us in the back, and then when they’re in power they’ll discard all pretense. What we have to know, unequivocally, is that our safety is tied together. Whether it's Jewish safety and Palestinian safety, or migrants and permanent residents, or any other groups that the far-right hopes to use to promote division and gain power. Anyone trying to sell us a world where we get safer by attacking, deporting, or going to war with another scapegoated group must be rejected. As capitalism faces a real threat from the left, and from the internal pressure genersted from growing inequality it has created, we will see the super-rich go even further right, eager to ally with those who would hurt masses of people if it protects their wealth.
The recent results in the Netherlands reveal several things. But perhaps the most important, in addition to what we just discussed, is that centrist parties in the Netherlands tried to woo right-leaning voters by espousing certain right-wing positions. They moved right on immigration, crime, gender and more. And it didn’t work. Instead of winning over voters they legitimized Geert Wilders and the far-right, and contributed to their own defeat. It doesn’t take much to see the parellels in the U.S. and elsewhere, and to see that the path we need to take is away from legitimizing fascist viewpoints and politics, and towards a staking out a clear and distinct perspective that combats harmful ideologies and doesn’t cede ground to those who will take a mile if they get an inch.
So we must both see through these lies that promote hatred, and present a compelling alternative. We must disarm the deception of billionaires and fascists and show that there is power in the working class sticking together. There is power in a union, there is power in organizing, there is power in refusing to be divided. There is power in tackling racism, homophobia, Islamohpbia, antisemitsm, and every form of hatred together as a united working class that refuses to be split by scapegoating. We can stick together or hang separately. So let’s practice a beautiful and radical solidarity and unite against those who would eagerly throw us into the meat grinder if it meant they could keep lining their pockets. Let’s move toward a better world, and away from one filled with scapegoating and the illusion that we can lift ourselves up by pushing others down. And let’s do it both with urgency and with thoughtfulness about what can really build a powerful, lasting, liberatory movement around the globe.
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