Probably Not A Great Idea To Have (Alleged) Nazis Guarding The US Capitol From Nazis
Two months ago, white supremacists stormed the US Capitol, and two nights ago, a white supremacist tract was discovered near a Capitol Hill security checkpoint Sunday.
Zach Fisch, the chief of staff to Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), spotted and photographed the document about 7 p.m. Sunday while leaving the South Capitol Street entrance to the Longworth Building, one of the few 24-hour entrances on the House side of the Capitol campus. He later provided the photos to The Post.
The document Zach Fisch saw in plain sight on a table inside an entrance to the Longworth House Office Building was the Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion, which documents a secret meeting among 19th Century Jewish leaders — the “Elders of Zion" — who are conspiring to take over the world. Their plans include corrupting the morals of non-Jewish people, controlling the world's economy (as well as the press), and eventually destroying civilization entirely. It's an anti-Semitic hoax, of course. The fabricated text was printed in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and published internationally. Henry Ford funded the distribution of 500,000 copies of this sick garbage in the the US during the 1920s.
So, this is extremely NSFW and freaking terrifying.
This is both a national security problem and a workplace safety problem. Our office is full of people — Black, bro… https://t.co/i6J0VJfd7P— Zach Fisch (@Zach Fisch)1615849115.0
Fisch, who's Jewish, was rightly freaked out. He tweeted Monday:
This is both a national security problem and a workplace safety problem.
Our office is full of people — Black, brown, Jewish, queer — who have good reason to fear white supremacists.
If the USCP is all that stands between us and the mob we saw on Jan. 6, how can we feel safe?
The Capitol Police department confirmed Monday night that acting chief Yogananda D. Pittman had suspended an officer pending an investigation "after anti-Semitic reading material was discovered near his work area on Sunday."
"We take all allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously," Pittman said in the statement. "Once this matter was brought to my attention, I immediately ordered the officer to be suspended until the Office of Professional Responsibility can thoroughly investigate."
They didn't find a Hustler on his desk. This is hardcore anti-Semitic material, which the officer felt comfortable bringing to the Capitol not long after the January 6 siege. What was going through his head, other than "Heil Hitler"? According to the photos Fisch took, the Protocols copy was printed in January 2019, and a binder clip held together its tattered and stained pages. Nazis must not bother uploading PDFs to their Kindles.
Protocols is one of the earliest examples of “conspiracy theory" literature. You could draw a line from the document to QAnon conspiracies about Satan-worshipping pedophiles. The anti-Semitic tropes might be less overt in more “respectable" rightwing rhetoric but ultimately the talking points are the same: “Elites" control the media, the banks, and academic institutions. Their goal is to transform the “traditional social order." It all sounds very much like a Tucker Carlson segment.
Former Democratic Senator Al Franken had noted in 2016 that a campaign ad from the previous White House occupant had an “Elders of Zion feel."
The copy Fisch spotted was apparently downloaded from the Australia-based Bible Believers Church website, an online haven for anti-Semitic materials. Unfortunately, the tract is easily found online. YouTube is filled with recent videos discussing the fake conspiracy.
On January 6, some of the violent insurrectionists roamed the Capitol wearing anti-Semitic garb including one asshole in a "Camp Auschwitz" shirt. It's horrifying to think that anyone in Capitol security might share those sentiments. The aftermath of the Capitol attack has shown us how deeply embedded white supremacists are in law enforcement and the military.
The Capitol Police department announced in February that it was investigating at last 35 officers for perhaps being a little too supportive of the MAGA mob. Six officers are on paid suspension pending the outcome of the internal probe. Let's hope they're not spending their down time brushing up on anti-Semitic conspiracies.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."