Person

Ron Unz

Occupation:

Former investment industry and software entrepreneur

Known For:

Pushing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Ron Unz is a financially successful former investment industry and software entrepreneur. Since 2013, he has been the publisher of the Unz Review, a website notable for spreading anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories, especially about U.S. policies related to Israel and the Middle East. Unz Review writers, including Unz himself, have denied the Holocaust, made unsupported smears of lynching victim Emmett Till, and praised the infamous anti-Semitic tract Protocols of the Elders of Zion. [1]

In 2018 the Anti-Defamation League declared Unz had embraced “hard core anti-Semitism.” [2] In one Unz Review entry sympathetic to Holocaust denial theories such as those of David Irving, Unz concluded instead that “in per capita terms Jews were the greatest mass-murderers of the twentieth century.” [3] In another essay, Unz observed that he “couldn’t help but notice that all the powerful mass-media technologies of our modern world–film, radio, and television–had been invented and pioneered by Gentiles, mostly of Anglo-Saxon origin, but in each case control was seized by ruthless Jewish businessmen, who sometimes destroyed the lives and careers of those creators.” [4]

In addition to Unz Review, Unz has been the financial supporter and promoter of an ideologically diverse and often conflicting list of causes. He has been a financial backer of the far-left Counterpunch magazine and Mondoweiss, an explicitly left-wing, anti-Israel publication. [5] In 2016 he gave $2,000 to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, with Unz stating he agreed with Sanders’ anti-interventionist foreign policy views. Unz has twice ran as a Republican for statewide office in California, the first time spending $2 million of his own money on an unsuccessful 1994 Republican primary race to unseat Republican Gov. Pete Wilson in a primary. [6] He financed and ran the campaign for Proposition 227, a successful 1998 California ballot question that sharply restricted bilingual education programs in public schools. [7] For six years, until the summer of 2013, Unz was the publisher of the right-leaning American Conservative. [8] In the early 1990s he was reportedly a donor to right-of-center and libertarian public policy organizations, such as the Manhattan Institute and the Reason Foundation. [9]

Background

Ronald Keeva Unz was born in Los Angeles in 1961. He was raised by an unmarried mother receiving government assistance and living with his grandmother. Unz won scholarships and government aid to attend Harvard University, where earned a degree in theoretical physics. [10]

After graduating he worked in New York’s financial industry for the investment bank First Boston. He wrote a software program for First Boston that a 1999 profile in The New Republic said “allowed cash flows from large pools of mortgages to be sliced up and profitably recast into new securities.” Shortly after the success of this computer program, Unz went into business for himself writing financial software, founded the firm Wall Street Analytics, and later relocated it to Palo Alto, California. [11]

A wealthy man by 1999 with a reported net worth in the “high single-digits” millions of dollars, his personal wealth presumably increased further in 2006 when he sold Wall Street Analytics to the Moody’s rating firm for an undisclosed amount. In a press release announcing the purchase, Moody’s stated “the addition of Wall Street Analytics enhances Moody’s current collateralized debt obligations (CDO) product suite and immediately adds mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and asset-backed securities (ABS) analytic software capabilities.” The Moody’s CEO also noted the CDO/MBS markets were “growing rapidly worldwide”;[12] [13] the CDO/MBS markets would be implicated as a contributing factor to the 2008 financial collapse. [14]

Political Campaigns

In 1994 Unz launched a Republican primary challenge to incumbent California Gov. Pete Wilson. Wilson had become unpopular with California Republicans due to his support for a large tax hike and—in a move widely understood as an effort to recover support with the Republican base—had endorsed Proposition 187, a state ballot measure that proposed to block illegal immigrants from gaining access to some non-emergency public services in California. In 1999 The New Republic wrote that Unz opposed Proposition 187 because he believed it “reeked of totalitarian oppression” turned “teachers into border cops and kids into snitches on their undocumented parents,” and would “throw hundreds of thousands of innocent kids out of school.” [15]

But outside of the Proposition 187 issue, Unz’s campaign tacked politically to the right of Wilson. Seeking to capitalize on the unpopularity of Wilson’ tax hike, Unz campaigned for tax cuts, against affirmative action, and for an end to bilingual education in California public schools. Unz spent $2 million of his own money and won 34 percent of the Republican primary vote. The New Republic noted in 1999 that the $2 million Unz spent on the campaign likely represented “an outsized share—perhaps even the bulk of his net worth” in 1994. [16]

After losing the Republican primary, Unz refused to endorse Wilson for the November general election. He also took an active role in trying to defeat Proposition 187, persuading nationally prominent Republicans like former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp and former Education Secretary William Bennett to publicly oppose it. Voters approved the measure, but it was later invalidated by a federal court. [17]

In 2016, Unz ran as a Republican in the state’s so-called “jungle primary” for an open U.S. Senate seat eventually won by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. In sharp contrast to the pro-immigration positions he took in 1994, the Unz of 2016 campaigned for a 50-plus percent cut to immigration levels and “drastically reducing illegal immigration.” Unz finished in a three-way tie for 10th place in the 35-person multi-party primary, with 1.3 percent of the vote. [18] [19]

Anti-Bilingual Education Campaign

Unz was the primary supporter of the successful Proposition 227, a ballot measure approved by 61 percent of California voters in 1998. The proposal sharply restricted the use of bilingual education in California schools, in favor of promoting English proficiency for immigrant students and their rapid assimilation into classrooms taught in English. [20]

In keeping with his opposition to Proposition 187 of 1994, Unz was at this time generally considered supportive of California’s immigrant communities. He said his motive for advancing Proposition 227 was to prevent the rise of animosity against immigrants by assimilating them into the majority language and culture as soon as possible. “There are few forces that could so easily break America as the coming of white nationalism,” he warned in an essay shortly after Proposition 227 passed. [21]

Harvard University Board of Overseers

During 2016 Unz led and ran a slate of candidates seeking to take control of Harvard University’s governing board that included left-leaning political activist Ralph Nader. The central platform of the unsuccessful effort was to make Harvard a tuition-free university, with Unz and his slate arguing the school’s $38 billion endowment and relatively small student body provided more than enough investment income for it to comfortably function without charging tuition. Unz and his fellow insurgents believed a success would influence other schools with healthy endowments to follow the example. [22]

In 2012, in an essay written for The American Conservative, Unz accused Harvard and other Ivy League schools of a biased admissions policy favoring Jewish applicants and excluding better-qualified Asian and non-Jewish white students. [23]

American Conservative

In March 2007 Unz became the publisher and a major financial investor in the American Conservative, a so-called “paleoconservative” journal noteworthy for supporting an isolationist foreign policy and opposing immigration. It was founded in 2002 by controversial right-leaning writers Pat Buchanan, Scott McConnell and Taki Theodoracopulos as their reaction against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that had been supported by right-of-center politicians such as President George W. Bush. [24]

Shortly afterward Unz stated that he found the immigration stance of the magazine “obnoxious,” but strongly agreed with its anti-interventionist foreign policy position. He became a major contributor of content to the American Conservative until the summer of 2013 when he and the magazine acrimoniously parted ways. [25]

Departure

In 2013, then-American Conservative editor Daniel McCarthy rejected publication of an essay from Unz that Unz subsequently posted on Unz Review with the headline “Race and Crime in America.” The article purported to demonstrate a much stronger correlation between crime and African American neighborhoods than the correlation between crime and any other race or significant demographic factor. In an email to staff and the senior leadership of the American Conservative, McCarthy charged Unz’s essay represented a “distraction” that was not related to and fatally detracted from the journal’s mission areas of “realism in foreign policy, a defense of constitutional civil liberties, and a humane Burkean conservatism.” [26] [27]

McCarthy’s email included other concerns regarding Unz:

I reject the essay without fear of losing financial support because Ron Unz has already ceased to be an active supporter of the magazine. He has made no contributions this year, nor has he ever fulfilled the traditional publisher’s role of assembling funding from other sources. Having relinquished the duties of publisher, he has instead, over the last six months, tried to assume those of editor. He has demanded excessive space for his own work in every issue, he has regularly insisted that his stories should take the cover, he has attempted to assign or accept material from other writers, and he has imposed a blog of his own—which he uses almost exclusively to promote himself—on the website. [28]

A report on the dispute in the right-of-center National Review also quoted a former staffer of the magazine who said Unz “grated on the staff,” and accused Unz of being easily upset and regularly submitting excessively long essays for publication in the magazine, including one that ran 18 pages. [29]

From his side, Unz told National Review he had been “purged” from the American Conservative because he had recently proposed ideas to improve its finances and management. He said the journal had focused too much on promoting gay marriage (“20 articles supporting gay marriage? That’s too much.”) and too little on what he believed was most valuable (“… when one guy is generating half your traffic and you’re spending close to a million dollars on everything else — you can’t do that!”). [30]

Other Political and Policy Giving

According to the Los Angeles Times, Unz gave $2,000 to the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I—Vermont). Unz said that while he disagreed with Sanders on many issues, he agreed with Sanders’ “opposition to Wall Street.” [31]

The New Republic reported Unz was a donor to right-of-center and libertarian public policy organizations the early 1990s, such as the Manhattan Institute and the Reason Foundation. [32]

Between 2007 and 2015 the Unz Foundation gave $185,000 to the far-left Counterpunch magazine and $80,000 to Mondoweiss, an explicitly left-wing, anti-Israel publication. [33]

Unz Review

Following his split with the American Conservative, Unz launched the Unz Review in 2013. At the time he said his aim was to post “a selection of the sort of interesting, important, and controversial perspectives that rarely if ever reach the pages of our major newspapers or the pixels of our television sets.” [34] [35] Describing his decision to feature the writers who appear at the Unz Review, Unz wrote that “over the years I have regularly read the writings of all these individuals and found their ideas stimulating and useful.” [36] When challenged in April 2016 about the content of the website, he told the Los Angeles Times: “I don’t even read most of the articles I publish, and I certainly don’t edit them.” [37]

Unz Review features the work of several regular authors noted for anti-Semitic or racially incendiary writings. Some have histories of writing for the anti-immigration website VDare.com, a website the Anti-Defamation League has said “posts, promotes, and archives the work of racists, anti-immigrant figures, and anti-Semites.” [38] A 2010 report from the Washington Post defined VDare as “best known for publishing work by white nationalists while maintaining that it is not a white nationalist site.” [39]

Writers Published at Unz Review

Philip Giraldi

As of November 2019, Philip Giraldi was listed on the Unz Review masthead as the “national security editor,” the only titled contributor other than Unz himself (who is listed as the “editor-in-chief and publisher”). [40] Giraldi is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest, an Unz Foundation-funded anti-Israel advocacy organization. [41]

Examples of Giraldi’s frequent contributions to Unz Review include:

  • Israel’s Role In 9/11” (May 2019). Giraldi claimed to be revealing information ignored or not examined by the U.S. government commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He wrote that Israeli intelligence officers “were notably filmed celebrating as the Twin Towers were burning and collapsing” and that there were “Israeli fingerprints all over the place, with cover companies and intelligence personnel often intersecting with locations frequented by the hijackers.” He concluded by pointing out the “Global War on Terror” has existed ever since the 9/11 attacks and implying “just maybe it was a fire that was ignited by Israel.” [42]

 

  • America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars: Shouldn’t they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?” (September 2017). Giraldi accused Jewish Americans of trying to pull the nation toward a war with Iran, and specifically named several of his targets, such as right-of-center commentator Bill Kristol. Giraldi wrote that “we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East,” and that “Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries.” After asserting that ideally Jewish Americans should not be presenting advice on foreign policy issues that have a connection to the Middle East, Giraldi proposed a second-best alternative would be for media outlets to clearly identify them as Jewish when presenting their opinion: “That would be kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison – translating roughly as “ingest even the tiniest little dosage of the nonsense spewed by Bill Kristol at your own peril.” [43]

 

  • Teaching Holocaust” (July 2019). In an essay declaring the Holocaust to be a “very debatable narrative that pretty much has been contrived over the past fifty years for political reasons,” Giraldi argued against teaching it as a historical fact in public high schools. Declaring the genocidal Nazi policy as an “alleged atrocity,” Giraldi asked: “When does the almost incessant pandering to Zionists and Jewish groups become too much for the deliberately kept-in-ignorance American public to tolerate?”[44]

From 2014 to 2017, former CIA officer and notable critic of the George W. Bush administration Valerie Plame sent at least eight of Giraldi’s Unz Review essays to her Twitter followers. [45] Plame had been a board member for the Ploughshares Fund, a left-of-center nuclear disarmament organization, but was forced to resign after she re-Tweeted and then briefly attempted to defend the “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” essay by Giraldi in September 2017. [46]

During September of 2017, Plame sent a link to Giraldi’s “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars” essay to her 50,000 followers on Twitter. After receiving criticism for the post, she responded that the essay was “provocative, but thoughtful,” and that while she didn’t necessarily agree with it, she encouraged her followers to “Read the entire article and try, just for a moment, to put aside your biases and think clearly.” [47]

After further criticism, she claimed to have “missed gross undercurrents to this article & didn’t do my homework on the platform this piece came from.” To this, New York Magazine writer Yashar Ali Tweeted out her eight other Twitter references to the Unz Review over the ensuing years and asked her “Did you skim these pieces too?”[48]

Passing along Giraldi’s “Israel’s Role In 9/11” essay, Plame had commented “I never heard this story,” and referencing another essay titled “Why I still dislike Israel,” she responded with “Well put, Mr. Giraldi.” Each of the Tweets connected to the Unz Review were removed following the September 2017 incident. [49]

Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a writer best known for his writings on supposed “racial differences in intelligence and behavior” [50] who has received financial support from Ron Unz’s Unz Foundation. [51] In recent years he has written several posts each day for the Unz Review. [52]

A 2017 profile of Sailer in New York magazine called him “The Man Who Invented Identity Politics for the New Right,” and described his former work as a mainstream journalist as “a plain-spoken form of science journalism, numerate and clued-in to developments in genetics and evolutionary theory, but also infamous for applying, often in a blunt and inflammatory manner, such methods to alleged racial differences in intelligence and behavior.” [53]

Sailer has a consistent history of racially inflammatory writings. Commenting at the controversial anti-immigration website VDare.com (which has faced allegations of racist motivations[54]) in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. About the New Orleans tourist slogan “Let the good times roll,” Sailer wrote:[55]

“What you won’t hear, except from me, is that ‘Let the good times roll’ is an especially risky message for African-Americans. The plain fact is that they tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society.” [56]

Conservative writer John Podhoretz denounced Sailer’s Katrina writing at the right-of-center National Review, declaring it a “shockingly racist and paternalistic riff,” possibly the “most disgusting sentence” written about Hurricane Katrina. “Nobody with the unspeakable gall and tastelessness to write such sentences should be suggesting that any other person on earth requires “stricter moral guidance,” concluded Podhoretz. [57]

Sailer is also the author of America’s Half Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance” (2008), a book published by VDare.com Books just before Barack Obama took office as President. Commentator Bari Weiss described the book’s argument as “that Obama’s deepest commitment is not to the country but to his race—or more accurately, half of his race.” [58]

John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire is a former writer for the right-of-center National Review. The magazine announced a “parting of the ways” with him in April 2012 over a column written for another media outlet. In a letter to readers explaining the incident, NR editor Rich Lowry wrote that Derbyshire’s missive had lurched from the “politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible,” would never have been published or permitted in National Review, and that its appearance elsewhere by someone associated with NR’s reputation was “so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.” [59]

The controversial entry for the inflammatory far-right outlet Taki’s Magazine was titled “The Talk: Nonblack Version,” and was Derbyshire’s claim that “nonblack Americans” supposedly give a lecture to their children about interactions with African Americans. He was comparing this to “The Talk,” a lecture many African American parents have said they give to their sons instructing them on dealing with potentially hostile interactions with law enforcement. [60]

The column was written in the form of a lecture Derbyshire claimed to have given to his own children. It included several racist stereotypes such as the claim that five percent of African Americans were “ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths or inconvenience to harm us,” and that half would also “go along passively” with such hostility out of “racial solidarity.” To remain “safe” from these alleged risks, Derbyshire supposedly advised his children to avoid beaches and parks on days when they are “likely to be swamped by blacks,” to scrutinize the character of African American politicians “more carefully than you would a white,” to leave quickly from events where “the number of blacks suddenly swells,” and not to “act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.” [61]

After his dismissal from National Review, Derbyshire began writing for the controversial anti-immigration website VDare.com, and his writing has been extensively featured and cross posted to Unz Review. Many of these entries contain racially inflammatory language and perspectives aligned with what led to his departure from National Review. For a February 2019 Black History Month report, he recounted several recent controversies, saying “I have logged the following outrages that have black Americans cowering in fear in their tarpaper shacks.” [62]

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts is an economist who briefly worked in the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the Reagan administration. During the 1980s he became a right-of-center syndicated columnist, but later veered into endorsing numerous unfounded conspiracy theories. He has alleged that the 9/11 attacks were the “Reichstag Fire” of American history, a “false flag” event either “perpetuated or covered up” by the “powerful elements in the Deep State.” Of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he has concluded that “all evidence” indicated a “plot by the Joint Chiefs, CIA, and Secret Service whose right-wing leaders had concluded that President Kennedy was too “soft on communism” to do what was necessary for the US to prevail in the contest with the Soviet Union.” He has praised the work of Holocaust denier David Irving, saying that Irving’s “factual evidence is that the holocaust of Jewish people was different from the official Zionist story.” [63] [64]

The Unz Foundation has funded Roberts’ Institute for Political Economy, where Roberts posts many of his essays. [65] The essays are cross posted and featured several times per week at Unz Review. [66]

Paul Kersey

Paul Kersey is a prolific featured contributor to Unz Review whose article titles betray a reliable pattern of inflammatory rhetoric concerning inter-ethnic relations:[67]

  • “How Can We Blame This on the NRA & Whites? Mass Shooting at Black “Twerk or Tweet” Halloween Party on Campus of Texas A&M-Commerce Followed by Retaliatory Gun Attack at Vigil…”— October 28, 2019.
  • “Philadelphia Office of the City Controller Produces Report Showing Black Gun Violence/Homicides Drops Home Values (Decreasing Tax Revenue).”— October 27, 2019.
  • “’Never, Never and Never Again’: An Interview with K.M. Breakey On His Fictional Story About Whites Living in Black-Run South Africa.”— October 25, 2019.
  • “Her Name Is Toni Abad: Days Before Christmas 2017 Outside Atlanta, White Grandmother Beaten to Death with Baseball Bat by Two Blacks.”— October 24, 2019.
  • “The 2018 Minnesota Uniform Crime Report Shows Blacks Were 15.2 Times More Likely Than Whites to be Arrested for Homicide.”— October 22, 2019.
  • “Columbiana, Ohio, a 98% White City, Rated by Reader’s Digest As Nicest Place in America: City Leaders Promise They’re “Seeking Ways to Attract Diversity.””— October 21, 2019.

In 2017, the Anti-Defamation League reported that Kersey spoke at a New York City forum held by the explicitly white supremacist publishing group Counter-Currents. [68] In 2019, Counter-Currents publisher Greg Johnson was arrested and deported from Norway for alleged “previously expressed support for Anders Breivik,” a white supremacist terrorist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011. [69]

Gilad Atzmon

Atzmon is a secular Jewish writer who has written he is “proud to be a self-hating Jew.” His work for his own website is frequently featured and cross posted on Unz Review. He is the author of The Wandering Who?, a 2011 book noted for several controversial statements regarding the Jewish people and Israel. Atzmon wrote in his book that its assertions were based in part on an Austrian philosopher who was “an anti-Semite who loathed almost anything that wasn’t Aryan manhood.” [70]

“We must take the accusations that Jews are trying to take over the world with utmost seriousness,” Atzmon said in a 2011 interview. “Israel is the Nazi Germany of our time.” He also noted “I despise the Jew in me.” [71]

His entries posted to Unz Review display a fixation on the topics of Israel and Jews:[72]

  • “A Window Into Jewish Guilt.” — October 28, 2019.
  • “Iran, Israel and Destiny.”— October 8, 2019.
  • “Here Come the Polocaust Deniers.”— October 5, 2019.

Kevin Barrett

The Anti-Defamation League has described Kevin Barrett as an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist” who believes Israel played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States and other violent assaults that have been plausibly connected to Islamic terrorists. [73] His writings from his own website are featured several times per week at Unz Review. [74]

Controversial Statements

In his Unz Review posts and elsewhere Unz has written supportively of stereotypical anti-Semitic dogmas and many other unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. His sprawling essays in the Unz Review typically run well over 2,000 words and have climbed above 20,000 words. He references numerous sources per entry, tying together information from both reputable researchers and unsubstantiated or discredited conspiracy theorists to support his conclusions. The essays are usually styled from a first-person perspective, with Unz laying out his evidence with a personal narrative regarding how he came to be “shocked,” “surprised” or “stunned” to discover a new source that supposedly proved one of his previously held mainstream beliefs was in error. [75]

Holocaust Denial

In August 2018 the Unz Review posted a 17,600-word entry authored by Unz that bore the title “American Pravda: Holocaust Denial.” The essay summarizes the work of several conspiratorial writers (most notably the notorious pseudo-historian David Irving) who have questioned either the severity of the Holocaust or its very existence. Unz also criticizes the work of researchers who have debunked the claims of Holocaust deniers such as Irving. [76]

In the opening paragraph of a subsection titled “Holocaust Frauds and Confusions,” Unz writes:[77]

Since the Holocaust only became a major public topic after wartime memories had grown dim, the story has always seemed to suffer from the problems traditionally associated with “recovered memory syndrome.” Truths and falsehoods were often mixed together in strange ways, and the door was opened wide to an astonishing number of outright frauds and liars. [78]

Unz also claimed that mass murder perpetuated by Jews had been ignored. Discussing the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Unz wrote that “Jews were obviously over-represented among Communist leaders by as much as 5,000%” and “remained enormously over-represented in the Communist leadership, especially dominating the Gulag administration and the top ranks of the dreaded NKVD.” To this assertion he added that the “death toll of innocent civilians from the Bolshevik Revolution and the first two decades of the Soviet Regime was generally reckoned at running well into the tens of millions.” And with these points he reached an “inescapable conclusion” that “in per capita terms Jews were the greatest mass-murderers of the twentieth century, holding that unfortunate distinction by an enormous margin and with no other nationality coming even remotely close.” [79]

This belief led him to an assertion that Jews would be responsible for future mass murder: [80]

Today’s American Neocons are just as heavily Jewish as were the Bolsheviks of a hundred years ago, and they have greatly benefited from the political immunity provided by this totally bizarre inversion of historical reality. Partly as a consequence of their media-fabricated victimhood status, they have managed to seize control over much of our political system, especially our foreign policy, and have spent the last few years doing their utmost to foment an absolutely insane war with nuclear-armed Russia. If they do manage to achieve that unfortunate goal, they will surely outdo the very impressive human body-count racked up by their ethnic ancestors, perhaps even by an order-of-magnitude or more. [81]

Reputable commentators and scholars reject both of Unz’s interpretations, and substantial evidence exists to support that rejection. [82]

Jews Hate Non-Jews

Unz took seriously and then dwelled upon the supposed implications of several antisemitic slurs in a 7,800-word July 2018 Unz Review essay titled “American Pravda: Oddities of the Jewish Religion.” He sourced many claims in this essay to a 1994 book written by the late Israel Shahak, an Israeli chemistry professor, Holocaust survivor, and once-prominent opponent of his government’s policy toward Palestinians living in Israel. In one of many examples of strange religious traditions gleaned from Shahak’s book, Unz wrote that “religious Jews apparently pray to Satan almost as readily as they pray to God.” [83]

Shahak’s book examined the history and evolution of Jewish religious traditions over many centuries as part of Shahak’s argument that extreme religious viewpoints were still being practiced in modern Israel and animating the government’s contemporary treatment of non-Jews. While he did not attribute these attitudes to all observant Jews—such as those in the United States— Shahak’s assertions were nonetheless very controversial within the Jewish community. The Anti-Defamation League referred to him as a “notorious anti-Semitic” and his book to be “essential reading for a variety of anti-Semites across the ideological spectrum, who frequently cite Shahak’s conclusion that Zionists and religious Jews possess a seething hatred for the rest of mankind, and that Judaism encourages crime and violence against non-Jews.” [84] [85]

Unz endorsed this interpretation of Shahak and supported its implications when he wrote that a “religion based upon the principle of “Love Thy Neighbor” may or may not be workable in practice, but a religion based upon “Hate Thy Neighbor” may be expected to have long-term cultural ripple effects that extend far beyond the direct community of the deeply pious.” The historical significance of this “Jewish hostility toward non-Jews,” according to Unz, was a Jewish people “more likely to extract every last penny of value from the peasants they controlled for the benefit of their local king or lords, and their notorious antipathy for all non-Jews ensuring that such behavior was minimally tempered by any human sympathy.” [86]

In Unz’s theory, “some of the most common traditional economic niches of European Jews” were the reward for this supposedly exceptional willingness of Jews to act as culturally united and merciless enforcers for various regimes. “I think I’ve read here and there that some scholars believe that Hitler may have modeled certain aspects of his racially-focused National Socialist doctrine upon the Jewish example,” wrote Unz, in a passage where he claimed to have told a Jewish friend in jest that Nazism was just “Judaism for Wimps.” [87]

Jewish Oligarchs Oppressed Russia

“Oddities of the Jewish Religion” also stated that the collapse of the Soviet Union brought about “a decade of total misery and impoverishment for the general Russian population” due to the “overwhelming domination of a small group of Oligarchs, almost entirely of Jewish background.” Unz’s analysis was that “these trends reversed” and the lives of Russians “enormously improved” after an “actual Russian named Vladimir Putin regained control.” [88]

Unz also alleged a damaging impact inflicted by Jews on other nations:

In many cases, lands reliant upon Jewish economic intermediaries, notably Poland, never successfully developed a native middle class, and often later fared quite poorly against their nationally-unified competitors. Spain was actually one of the last countries in Europe to expel its Jews, and over the next century or two reached the peak of its military and political glory. [89]

Drinking Blood of Christian Infants

“Oddities of the Jewish Religion” traffics in the “notorious Christian superstition” that “Jews sometimes kidnapped small Christian children in order to drain their blood for use in various magic rituals.” Unz declared a “fairly strong likelihood that these seemingly impossible beliefs were actually true” and that “a considerable number of Ashkenazi Jews traditionally regarded Christian blood as having powerful magical properties.” [90]

Unz sourced this claim to Passovers of Blood, a 2007 book by Ariel Toaff, a history professor at an Israeli university. In 2008, alleging critics of his book had misunderstood its conclusions or failed to read the book at all, Toaff wrote a statement of clarification. He said his book had examined an extreme sect of Jews operating outside the standard Judaic traditions, whose ritual had been to dissolve dried blood in Passover wine. The blood Toaff wrote about had “originated from unknown ‘donors,’ alive and well and mostly belonging to indigent families.” Of the alleged ritual homicides and infanticides sometimes stereotypically attributed to Jewish communities, Toaff unequivocally stated these were myths, that they were “not rites practiced” by the Jewish communities his book had examined, and that these baseless myths remained a “slanderous stereotype” directed at Jews. [91]

Jewish Control of the Media

“Oddities of the Jewish Religion” also touches on the antisemitic paranoia regarding the alleged Jewish domination of American media:

I couldn’t help but notice that all the powerful mass-media technologies of our modern world–film, radio, and television–had been invented and pioneered by Gentiles, mostly of Anglo-Saxon origin, but in each case control was seized by ruthless Jewish businessmen, who sometimes destroyed the lives and careers of those creators. By the 1950s, nearly all of America’s leading concentrations of electronic media power—with the sole major exception of Disney Studios—were solidly in Jewish hands. [92]

In a section sympathetic to authoritarian Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, Unz writes: “America’s media organs were overwhelmingly friendly toward Russia when it was under Jewish Oligarchic rule, while Putin has been demonized in the press more ferociously than any world leader since Hitler.” [93]

John McCain Conspiracy Theory

A March 2015 Unz Review essay written by Unz ties together several conspiratorial speculations regarding the late U.S. Sen. John McCain (R—Arizona) and McCain’s incarceration as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. [94]

The central allegation is that McCain participated extensively in anti-American propaganda broadcasts on behalf of his captors. The essay’s title is “John McCain: When “Tokyo Rose” Ran for President”—a reference to an American woman deployed by the Imperial Japanese as one of many World War II propaganda broadcasters seeking to demoralize American forces fighting against Japan in the Pacific. [95]

McCain admitted to signing a single coerced propaganda confession during his more than five years as a captive, a capitulation he reports happened only after he endured extensive torture and mistreatment that left him contemplating suicide. He was not the only POW reporting such stories of confessions extracted through torture, and other American POWs have verified witnessing the torture inflicted specifically on McCain. A highly prized captive because his father was a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy, McCain repeatedly refused to allow the North Vietnamese to score a propaganda coup by sending him home before other POWs captured before him. The injuries and beatings he endured during the ordeal left him with lifelong disabilities, including an inability to raise his arms above his head. [96]

As of November 2019, more than half a century after his 1967 capture by the North Vietnamese, no evidence had surfaced of additional propaganda broadcasts and other alleged confessions made by McCain during his POW captivity. He died in 2018, following a very high-profile 35-year career in the U.S. Congress, and two unsuccessful campaigns for President of the United States.

Reconciling the flaws in the allegation that McCain had been a propaganda broadcaster, Unz proposed an elaborate conspiracy theory based on the assumption that McCain had lied about being tortured as a POW and had faked the ensuing disabilities for the remainder of his life. “It is certainly acknowledged that considerable numbers of American POWs were indeed tortured in Vietnam,” wrote Unz, “but it is far from clear that McCain was ever one of them.” [97]

According to Unz’s theory, McCain and his allies used the supposedly fabricated torture history as a public relations inoculation against his alleged propaganda work ever being exposed. Thus, the lack of evidence (i.e.: the missing propaganda broadcasts) became for Unz the evidence for a conspiracy to cover up the evidence. “Once the public had fully accepted McCain as our foremost Vietnam war-hero and torture-victim,” wrote Unz, “any later release of his propaganda tapes would be dismissed as merely proving that even the bravest of men had their breaking point.” [98]

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