Gender Critical Antisemitism
Gender Criticals & Antisemitism
Foreword: “We know that most of our videos are light-hearted and make jokes in order to add comic relief and allow us to address difficult topics without being overwhelmed. We did not feel that was appropriate for this topic. Please be advised that this is outside of our normal tone and is going to be rough, but we believe it’s important that people know what’s going on. This video contains examples of antisemitic propaganda, violence, and other hate that may be unsuitable for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Narrator: For thousands of years, Jewish people have faced persecution around the world. From ancient times to modern, antisemitism has been and remains common in political movements worldwide. One such movement is the “Gender Critical” movement, and understanding antisemitism is crucial to understanding their movement. But first, we need to know what antisemitism is.
[Screen shows IHRA definition of antisemitism]
Narrator: The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a worldwide organization promoting knowledge about and understanding of the Holocaust, defines antisemitism as follows:
[maybe use a different voice for this section?] “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Narrator: In simpler terms, antisemitism is a set of beliefs against Jewish people, which can lead to real-world actions discriminating against or attacking Jewish people or groups. While historically the term “semite” has been used to describe multiple groups originating in the Middle East and North Africa, the word “antisemitism” in modern use specifically describes prejudice against Jews.
You may have seen my earlier video, “What is transphobia”, in which I paid homage to Philosophy Tube’s video essay about antisemitism. I additionally mentioned antisemitism among GCs in my video on “Gender Critical and the Right.” Now, I would like to devote an entire video to the overlap between transphobia and antisemitism, especially right now as antisemitism and transphobia feed into and fuel each other, as I’ll elaborate on shortly. The reason I bring this up is to point to several important things which I (and Abigail) talked about then that are also relevant here: That bigotry is antagonism, hostility, or mistrust of certain groups of people based on unchosen characteristics, and that it starts in ideation and turns into action. That bigotry is frequently useful to people in power as a form of scapegoating or manipulation of masses. And that we have to focus not just on what bigotries look like, but what that bigotry does.
Narrator: Like many bigotries, antisemitism rarely remains confined to thoughts, however, and spills over into the real world. This can include actions on the individual level, such as harassment or assault of Jewish people or people perceived as Jewish; boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses on the basis of their owners’ Jewish status; or attacks on Jewish community buildings such as synagogues, religious schools, or mikvahs. Antisemitic beliefs can also lead to systematic discrimination, such as restrictive covenants prohibiting Jews from living in certain areas, laws discriminating on the basis of Jewish religion or descent, up to and including genocide. Countries around the world have had and continue to have laws that allow or encourage discrimination against Jewish people, and throughout history millions of Jews have died as a result of ethnic cleansing policies.
Narrator: But why do so many people discriminate against such a tiny minority? And how can we recognize antisemitism when we see it?
Narrator: While sometimes antisemites just openly admit that they hate Jews for no reason, this is often socially unacceptable, so they hide it behind various dogwhistles and tropes. As a result, to recognize and oppose antisemitism we need to know these. We also need to be able to examine conspiracy theories, as many antisemitic tropes come in the form of conspiracy theories implicating Jews for perceived faults of society. Let’s begin.
Part I: Dogwhistles and Tropes
Narrator: First, let’s get some definitions out of the way.
Narrator: What is a dogwhistle? A dogwhistle is coded or suggestive language which has a secret meaning to an in-group but does not hold meaning to outsiders. This is usually intended to push a bigoted political narrative while maintaining plausible deniability of that bigotry. In the case of antisemitism, dogwhistles are words which imply Jews without explicitly mentioning Jews. Therefore, they usually are only perceived as such by antisemites and people who study antisemitism. They are often used to spread antisemitic ideas under the radar, so that people who otherwise would oppose antisemitism can end up ignoring or unknowingly promoting it.
Narrator: What is a trope? A trope is a narrative, a pattern in storytelling, and they are as present in political narratives as they are in fiction.. In the case of antisemitism, tropes are recurring antisemitic ideas or conspiracy theories. Most of these date back a long time and may have some changes to modern settings, but generally retain the same themes. Many of these tropes have given rise to dogwhistles, or ways to invoke them without explicitly mentioning the antisemitic origins.
Narrator: There are many antisemitic tropes which exist, but since bigots generally aren’t that creative, there are a few very common tropes that get used time and time again with minor variations, so we are going to talk about some of the most common ones which are used by the “Gender Criticals.”
Banking Conspiracy Theories
Narrator: A lot of antisemitic conspiracy theories lean on the idea that Jews are all wealthy through illegitimate means and/or control the banks. This stems from the middle ages, when Jews in Europe were prohibited from owning land or working in many jobs. However, one job that Jews were allowed to have was that of money-lender, a job most Christians avoided on the belief that it was sinful or occasionally illegal for Christians. Some Jews succeeded in this niche role and were able to move up in society, in spite of the antisemitism they faced. However, this led to several new antisemitic ideas coming to fruition. First, the belief that Jews are all wealthy, from the existence of a few wealthy individuals who were the exception and not the rule. But more insidiously, the belief that Jews are corrupt, greedy, and control the banks or financial systems of the world stems from this history of Jews doing the only job they could, then being blamed for it.
Narrator: It isn’t that far from claiming that Jews control banks to outright declaring that Jews control the world, or that a shadowy Jewish conspiracy does. Perhaps the most notorious example of this is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an early 20th century forgery purporting to be the notes from a meeting of an international Jewish conspiracy. This book influenced much of 20th century antisemitism and continues to be promoted by neo-Nazi groups today.
Narrator: The idea of Jews controlling the banks and/or the world was heavily used during the Holocaust to justify persecution of Jews, and is used today as a part of many neo-Nazi conspiracy theories.
Narrator: However, most antisemites who push these theories today do not want to admit that they are blaming Jews, so they use dogwhistles instead, such as [dogwhistle sound for each] “globalists,” “internationalists,” “international bankers,” “cabal,” or “elites.” Most of these words also have another meaning, which allows them to deflect from accusations of antisemitism, but in this context and to other antisemites are a way to covertly implicate Jewish action.
[clip of Donald Trump addressing the UN, where he says “The future does not belong to globalists”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wJ8tdxDVgI]
Narrator: Another modern adaptation is focusing on individual Jewish people, especially those with progressive views, such as George Soros. Often these people are accused of having purchased or bribed government institutions or industries, which is often referred to as “institution capture.” In particular the media and the pharmaceutical industry are common targets, the latter forming a new subset of conspiracy theories known as “big pharma.”
Narrator: As we will see in more depth later on, the GC movement heavily promotes conspiracy theories about George Soros and other Jewish people or families such as the Pritzkers.
Narrator: To recognize this trope, be on the lookout for associated dogwhistles and for claims that Jewish individuals or families such as Soros or the Pritzker family are behind social movements or have done “institution capture.” Especially be aware of those alleging that some group, which may or may not be explicitly stated to be Jewish, is controlling governments, banks, media, or pharmaceutical companies.
Case study: JK Rowling and Harry Potter
Narrator: These tropes also permeate fiction. One particularly relevant example is that of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In this series, the banks are controlled by a race of goblins that resemble a wide variety of stereotypes about Jews. Greedy, hook-nosed, duplicitous, and controlling the money. Even though JK never explicitly says that the goblins are Jewish, the combination of Jewish visual stereotypes and the belief that they control the banks makes this a definitively antisemitic characterization. Intentionally or otherwise, they are *coded* as Jewish, which is to say they tap into these antisemitic tropes and stereotypes. Compare this promotional image with the common neo-Nazi propaganda cartoon, the “happy merchant.”
Narrator: And if this weren’t enough, there’s a Star of David, a common symbol of Judaism, emblazoned on the bank floor in the films and the park. This is because this section was filmed in the Australia House, London. JK Rowling chose to film in a location that had this star, which would have been difficult to do by accident given the large number of buildings that don't have the Star of David on the floor. Unless you’re okay with pushing antisemitic tropes, this should be an obvious thing to avoid, and I have a really hard time believing that this filming location - which Rowling had editorial control over - was an accident, and if it was, that’s a level of insensitive carelessness that is absurd for a writer with numerous advisors and no lack of resources at her disposal. Add in the caricatured goblins, and it doesn't look good at all.
Narrator: Those who believe that Jews are bankrolling some nefarious agenda also often believe in various theories about what exactly that agenda is. While these theories are varied, a common one is Cultural Marxism. This theory stems from the Nazis, who believed that “Cultural Bolshevism” was a secret Jewish plot to spread communist ideas through new styles of art and music, which they considered “degenerate.”
Narrator: This conspiracy theory largely fell by the wayside after the fall of Nazi Germany, but in the 1990s, far right political pundits began to resurrect it. However, since the Soviet Union had fallen, they presented it as “Cultural Marxism” and replaced references to the Bolsheviks with references to the Frankfurt School, an early 20th century intellectual movement. Some aspects of these theories became mainstream in the 2010s due to the influence of alt-right figures such as Jordan Peterson who blamed “Cultural Marxism” for people asking him to use the correct pronouns. Modern Cultural Marxist conspiracy theories claim that there is a Jewish plot to disseminate communist ideas and destroy modern civilization. In addition to antisemitism, these theories are also often racist, homophobic, and transphobic; claiming that movements like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, or feminism are part of the plot; or that the end goal is white genocide. This is why whenever you ask a chud to define or explain “Postmodernism” or “Cultural Marxism” down to policies or specific ideas, they can’t. They just give vague non-answers like “adherence to ‘woke’ ideology.” And then they can’t ever define “Woke” either.
Narrator: To recognize this trope, listen for allegations that something unrelated to Marxism is a “Marxist” or “Cultural Marxist” practice. Sometimes the term “Cultural Bolshevik” is still used, but it is rarer since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Narrator: One more common trope to know is blood libel. Blood libel is an antisemitic conspiracy theory which dates back hundreds of years to medieval Europe, where Christians ginned up hatred against Jews with the claim that Jews were killing Christian children to steal their blood for ritual use or to make Matzo, a traditional flatbread. This is obviously false, as Jewish religious law explicitly prohibits murder and human sacrifice, and Jewish cooking never uses mammalian blood because it is not kosher, but this myth motivated the killings of countless Jews by Christians who believed it. Hundreds of years later, the Nazis were still using this trope as a way to turn the German populace against Jews.
Narrator: The idea of blood libel is still promoted as a part of many far-right conspiracy theories, such as QAnon, which centers around the idea of [dogwhistle sound] international elite pedophiles harvesting adrenochrome from children’s brains. Although Jews are not explicitly mentioned in this theory, it is still an antisemitic conspiracy theory because, as I mentioned, [dogwhistle sound] “international elites” is a common dogwhistle and it is based on the centuries-old blood libel myths.
Narrator: To detect this trope, look for claims that some group is harvesting your children’s organs, blood, or other body parts and substances - this has been used to scare-monger against abortion rights as well. Be on the lookout especially if it invokes the other dogwhistles we have talked about, like [dogwhistle sound for each one] “internationalist,” “globalist,” “elites,” “Cultural Marxists,” “international bankers,” or variations thereof.
Part II: Antisemitism and Transphobia
Narrator: Now that we have talked about some common presentations of antisemitism and how to recognize them, you may be wondering: I thought this was a video about transphobia. What does this have to do with transphobia? And the answer is: a lot. There are multiple ways in which transphobia and antisemitism overlap, but we are going to focus on three of them: the ways in which transphobia propagates similarly to antisemitism, how the “Gender Critical” movement uses antisemitic conspiracies as part of their transphobia, and how the same people and groups tend to be both antisemitic and transphobic.
How is transphobia like antisemitism?
Narrator: At a glance, there are several similarities between antisemitic and transphobic claims. Both often work on the claim that a very small minority—Jews are 0.2% of the population and trans people are around 0.6%—has disproportionate power and influence and is using that to cause major cultural shifts. On top of this, transphobes and antisemites alike claim that their enemy, be it Jews or trans people, is simultaneously all-powerful, but also weak and easily destroyed.
[Find some examples of transphobes saying things like this about trans people]
Narrator: This is, of course, a core feature of fascism. As Umberto Eco noted in his essay “Ur-Fascism”,
Umberto Eco Voice: The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies...However, the followers must be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.
Narrator: The contradiction of the enemy as simultaneously all-powerful and weak, as Eco notes, allows fascists to frame their opposition as requiring urgent action, but also claim that victory is inevitable. We saw this in the Nazis and modern neofascists, who frame Jews and other enemies as controlling all major institutions but also claiming that they will triumph over their enemies. We can also see this in “gender critical” people, who often have apocalyptic predictions about trans people and trans liberation destroying society, but also assure each other that they will inevitably win and that the tide is turning.
Narrator: It additionally feeds into their victimhood complex, because it allows bigots to frame themselves as oppressed and bravely rising up against their oppressors, rather than being an oppressive majority and beating down a minority. This is also central to fascism.
Narrator: And fittingly, fascists are almost universally both transphobic and antisemitic, as we’ll see in a bit.
Narrator: Beyond that similarity in messaging, a fair number of transphobic claims approximate blood libel. Often, transphobes use shock imagery and gore relating to transition surgeries, especially as it relates to surgeries like mastectomy or hysterectomy. While this focus is largely linked to white supremacist patriarchal ideas about reproduction and white motherhood, it also occasionally frames trans people as stealing tissue ritualistically, such as this postcard from Partners for Ethical care.
Narrator: The focus on blood and gore and also the invocation of children is highly reminiscent of blood libel, which accuses Jewish people of stealing children’s blood or body parts for religious purposes. Others go a step further and refer to trans people as a “children’s blood cult,” an accusation which, when aimed at Jews, forms the backbone of blood libel.
Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories and GCism
Narrator: Many GCs aren’t content to stop at “using some antisemitic tropes but not bringing Jews into it explicitly.” No, many of them go that extra kilometer or whatever unit they use in Britain, and enter explicit antisemitism territory. A great example of this was provided in July of 2021, when Helen Joyce published Trans, a book which, among other ideas, claims that 3 liberal Jewish philanthropists—George Soros, Jennifer Pritzker, and Jon Stryker—are behind some sort of global trans agenda.
Narrator: This is a very common GC belief, as we saw with Magdalen Berns and will see again with some other GC figures who have promoted this idea. However, it took another turn when people started calling her out for antisemitism and she threatened to sue her critics for libel. This is a quintessential example of SLAPP suits, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. This is a type of lawsuit which is threatened, usually by someone wealthy, that is unlikely to be won but can bankrupt less wealthy defendants by forcing them to pay for attorneys. As such, even the threat of these suits which would be difficult to win forced many UK citizens to remove their criticisms of her book.
Narrator: At the same time, this also raised awareness of her antisemitism, both from critics outside the reach of UK court systems and from the Streisand Effect; her attempts to suppress criticism of her antisemitism have raised wider awareness of it. All of this is quite typical of the GC movement, which has a history of threatening to sue critics and of promoting Soros conspiracy theories.
Narrator: To better understand the antisemitism of GCism, we are going to examine a few particularly prominent figures who promote these theories extensively.
Narrator: Jennifer Bilek is a prominent figure on GC Twitter, with almost 10,000 followers. She has been promoted by much larger accounts like the LGB Alliance. She is best known for her writings for The Federalist, a US far-right news site; and her blog, The 11th Hour Blog, where she writes elaborate conspiracy theories about trans people. Many of these theories revolve around the idea that trans people are part of some sort of medical plot to make money off of surgeries and hormones, or that trans people are part of an even more extreme plot to separate people from their bodies and usher in a transhumanist new era.
Narrator: I’ll give you three guesses as to who she thinks is behind all this.
Narrator: That’s right, she thinks that Jews are funding it. She is particularly interested in a few Jewish philanthropists and businesspeople, such as George Soros, Jennifer Pritzker, and Martine Rothblatt. In the case of Soros, she believes that he and his progressive charity group the Open Society Foundations are funding the “disembodiment of children,” which sounds a lot like the old blood libel conspiracy theories which accused Jews of abducting and killing Christian children.
Narrator: Her focus on Soros is fairly typical, as seen with the other examples of right-wing and GC beliefs about Soros. However, when it comes to Jennifer Pritzker and the Pritzker family she goes the extra mile. Jennifer Pritzker is heir to a medical company, and some of her siblings have had careers in politics. Bilek created this elaborate flowchart, depicting a supposed conspiracy by the Pritzker family to make large amounts of money off of trans healthcare.
Narrator: I can’t quite make heads or tails of the fine print on this one, other than that it’s a classic example of how different conspiracy theories intersect. From the belief that Jennifer Pritzker controls all of these institutions, to her claims that Penny Pritzker perpetuated a secret agenda to control the government from within the Obama administration, it’s an omnibus of sorts. It’s as if Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had hated Jews and trans people a lot more.
Narrator: It doesn’t stop with that map either, she also has explicitly claimed that Jews are bribing the government for a trans agenda.
Narrator: She and her fellow GCs also like to blame Martine Rothblatt, a Jewish trans woman, for the existence of trans people. They believe she is some sort of foundational figure of trans rights.
Narrator: Which is odd because no actual trans people seem to think that. Most have never even heard of her. My friends at GC Antisemitism, an account that documents the overlaps between antisemitism and transphobia and consulted on this video, performed a poll of trans people and allies about whether they had any idea who Martine Rothblatt was before GCs started claiming she was a central person in trans history. Although Twitter polls are not an ideal source of information, the consensus is clear that the vast majority had no idea who she is.
Narrator: It is once again important to emphasize that Bilek is not some one-off weirdo. She is extremely important within the GC movement and is followed by many other important people who share her theories. Remember Joyce? Bilek publicly called out Joyce, claiming that she stole her ideas and “journalism” in the publication of her recent book, “Trans”. While many transphobes claim that there was no antisemitism, Bilek comes forward to say that her antisemitic answers were all copied.
None seem in the least bothered by her antisemitism, at least not enough to condemn her or reject her influence. As such, an indictment of her is also an indictment of her enablers who have had ample opportunities to point out that she is an antisemitic conspiracy theorist on the level of Alex Jones or David Icke (whom she has endorsed) but have chosen not to.
Narrator: There are few individuals in the GC movement who have the cultish following that Magdalen Berns does. JK Rowling has a similar status of reverence, but she was world-famous for her Harry Potter franchise before picking up the baton of transphobia. On the other hand, Magdalen is a homegrown GC celebrity: she is primarily known for her transphobia and virtually unknown outside their sphere, but still is hailed by many GCs as a messiah-like figure.
Narrator: One thing her many fans are less keen to note is her promotion of antisemitic conspiracy theories. Berns believed that George Soros was behind trans people, and regularly shared articles from rightwing news sites promoting this link.
Narrator: She kept this interest up for years, and yet no prominent GC has condemned her for or even lightly criticized her antisemitism. This would be enough to make them complicit, but it is compounded by how universally beloved she is in their movement. I have never seen a GC condemn Berns antisemitism - even when confronted with how she was fixated on Jewish people, they usually deflect or say that it’s not antisemitic if these people merely *happened* to be Jewish. But hey, I’d love to be proven wrong. While they’re at it, they can also condemn the living members of their movement for the antisemitism they continue to promote and maybe realize that it’s impossible to separate the antisemitism from the movement as it stands. But they won’t, because even among those in the GC movement who aren’t overtly antisemtic or even acknowledge that antisemitism is bad and wrong, they hate trans people more than they care about Jewish people.
Narrator: One more common antisemitic action within GCism is making comparisons between trans healthcare and the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a horrific period in world history, resulting in the deaths of over six million Jews and numerous members of other groups such as Romani, LGBT people, disabled people, and more. One part of the genocide was the sadistic torture of Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who performed horribly unethical medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Today, transphobes often compare trans healthcare, especially transition care provided to youth, to Mengele in particular or to the Holocaust in general.
Narrator: In the most notable incident, Graham Linehan made this comparison on BBC Newsnight in February 2020.
[include 1:26-1:56 (from the host saying “what about” to Glinner saying “I’m afraid I am”) from this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e79k6LILL1I]
Narrator: This is both logically inaccurate and hugely offensive to Holocaust victims. The key difference is: consent. Mengele’s victims did not freely consent to his torturous experimentation, unlike modern trans healthcare which has repeatedly been shown to be safe and is consensual. To conflate the two is both to lie, to misrepresent the past and present, but also to minimize the suffering of victims.
It’s also worth noting that Mengele never cared about the health of his victims. None of his experiments had any intention to help those experimented on or improve their lives. Meanwhile, actual trans healthcare, even if you disagree with the methods, is designed to try to help people who are suffering and need help. This is a fundamental difference.
Narrator: GCs also have a tendency to compare trans people or LGBTQ+ people as a whole to the Nazis.
Narrator: These ahistoric comparisons are made all the worse by the reality of how the Nazis treated LGBTQ+ people. The Nazis destroyed the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, at the time the world’s leading center for transition research, burned all the research, and sent gay and trans people to concentration camps. Many GCs try to deny this, which is historical revisionism in and of itself.
Friends of the Movement
Narrator: As seen in my video on GCs and the right wing, which you should check out in the description if you haven’t already, GCs often claim to be progressive but have no qualms working with openly right wing organizations and individuals that share their goal of opposing trans rights. Many of these organizations also happen to be antisemitic, as is common of the far right. Some have gone even further, though, and worked directly with and promoted openly antisemitic individuals.
Narrator: In 2019, prominent GC Posie Parker appeared on the YouTube channel of Canadian white nationalist Jean-François Gariépy. Gariépy is an infamous figure of the far right, who, among other things, has advocated a white nationalist ethnostate, tends to accuse his enemies of being secretly Jewish, and has hosted a veritable who’s who of the alt-right. Other guests on the same show have included neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. He is also known for his misogyny, as he is openly anti-feminist and has been accused of attempting to impregnate a disabled teenage immigrant.
Narrator: To their credit, GCs on Mumsnet immediately did an about-face and unequivocally spoke out against Po—[laughs]who am I kidding, they immediately started justifying and defending her actions.
Narrator: The vast majority were both unfazed by the fact that one of their sheroes went on a white nationalist YouTube channel, and claimed that it was good that she had talked to a white nationalist. Others claimed that the antisemitism was acceptable in the service of transphobia. This therefore isn’t an indictment of Posie so much as of her and her fans who defended her actions and whom she associated with. They were literally saying that harm to Jewish people from spreading antisemitism was acceptable collateral for trying to attack trans people. If your movement was legitimate, you would not accept political collateral at all.
Narrator: Posie isn’t the only established GC figure who has appeared with or endorsed antisemitic conservatives before, either. Jennifer Bilek, whom we mentioned before as an antisemite in her own right, has promoted the works of both David Icke and Keith Woods.
Narrator: David Icke is a conspiracy theorist best known for his claim that the world is secretly controlled by reptilian aliens who disguise themselves as humans to feed off the energy of children. This should sound familiar by now, seeing the history of antisemites accusing Jews of feeding off their children, and it probably will come as no surprise that many of the people he accuses of secretly being reptilians are Jewish, such as the Rothschild family. As you can probably tell, this is blood libel under a new veneer. Icke also claims that the aforementioned Protocols of the Elders of Zion, known to be a forgery, are genuine. And Jennifer Bilek thinks he’s worth promoting, and has no issue with his promotion of blood libel and other antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Narrator: She has also used her blog to promote the videos of Keith Woods, a neo-Nazi who shares her beliefs regarding a secret Jewish plot to institute transhumanism.
Narrator: Woods has also described Jews as “parasites” hijacking government institutions and media. He blames Jews for immigration, sharing a graphic that claims that various prominent political figures in Europe, the United States, and Australia are Jewish and responsible for increasing immigration. And he’s friends with fellow neo-Nazi Richard Spencer.
Narrator: In short, if you thought Bilek was antisemitic, wait until you see her friends. Once again, to date no prominent GCs have condemned or rejected her or any of her friends.
Far Right Endorsements
Narrator: Aside from these collaborations and direct promotions of the far right, transphobia as an ideology is extremely common on the far right as a whole. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a far right person who isn’t transphobic. Similarly, the far right tends to be antisemitic, often promoting the conspiracy theories I have enumerated. I still highly recommend that you watch my video on GCs and the far right, but in case you haven’t seen it, the inevitable result of these similarities is crossover between GCs and the far right despite their claims to be progressive feminists. And quite often, this leads to them endorsing antisemitic individuals and organizations.
Narrator: In the United States, Marjorie Taylor Greene is a far right politician even by the standards of her own party. GCs have mixed feelings about her (largely for optics reasons), but overall seem to support her due to her trans-exclusionary beliefs and rhetoric that sounds extremely similar to theirs about “protecting women and girls.”
Narrator: Can you see a difference between her views on trans people and the typical GC view? I can’t. And they seem to think she’s “perfectly sensible.”
Narrator: Of course, what they conveniently elide is that Greene is one of the most vocal proponents of QAnon, which, as we saw, is blood libel updated for the Trump era. She also blamed forest fires on Jewish space lasers, a remark which led to her being stripped of House committee assignments. Does this sound sensible to you?
Narrator: Greene isn’t the only far right antisemite that GCs find common ground with. Quite a few expressed a preference for Donald Trump over Joe Biden because of Biden’s stated support for trans rights.
Narrator: In addition to Trump’s well-known racism and misogyny, he has openly catered to white supremacist groups, defended protestors chanting “Jews will not replace us” at Charlottesville by saying that there were “fine people on both sides” and claimed to be working in opposition to “globalists,” as we saw. He also endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theory, which originated among his fans. Correspondingly, antisemitic hate incidents increased significantly during his first year in office, as a result of the empowerment of antisemites in his base.
Narrator: Included in these statistics is the Tree of Life shooting, the deadliest antisemitic terrorism act in US history with 11 dead. And yet none of this troubled the GC movement, which at best saw Jewish deaths as acceptable collateral damage in exchange for transphobia.
Narrator: But even beyond Trump, every fascist or neo-Nazi group I’ve seen is both explicitly antisemitic and transphobic. Many even combine the two, often claiming that trans people or trans acceptance are part of a [dogwhistle sound] Cultural Marxist or Jewish agenda. While unfortunately transphobia and antisemitism both do exist within left-wing movements, they tend to be much more explicit and central to far-right movements. If you are GC, and you find yourself, as they do, agreeing with the far right on ideas like transphobia, you might want to ask yourself why you feel ok siding with these people given their other views.
Part III: Counter-Arguments and How to Rebut Them
Narrator: GCs tend not to like being called out on their antisemitism. As we’ve seen, they often threaten legal action at critics. However, their defenses also fall flat. Let’s look at some common arguments that transphobes use to try to absolve themselves of charges of antisemitism, and why they don’t hold up.
“But we have Jewish members!”
Narrator: Many times, they will point to the existence of a few Jews that self-identify as gender critical, or to Jews that share their transphobic views. And these do exist. However, the existence of Jews which agree with you doesn’t mean you’re not an antisemite. For one, this is the “I have a [insert minority] friend” argument. Transphobes use this argument with regards to trans people as well, often pointing to someone like Debbie Hayton, Blaire “Feminism is Cancer” White, or Fionne Orlander who espouse their views. This doesn’t change, however, that their views are, in fact, transphobic and that most trans people oppose them. Similarly, the existence of a Jewish person that agrees with you doesn’t mean that you aren’t antisemitic. There were also Jews who voted for Donald Trump, this does not mean he wasn’t antisemitic.
Narrator: For two, the idea that members of a given marginalized group can’t espouse bigoted views against their own group is a very weak analysis. Plenty of people from marginalized groups do internalize beliefs against their own groups, and some are very public about this. Few with any knowledge of feminism would argue that Phyllis Schafly wasn’t misogynistic because she was a woman, for example. There definitely are transphobic trans people, homophobic gay people, misogynistic women, and antisemitic Jews. As such, this argument that a movement can’t be antisemitic because there are some Jews in it does not work.
“It’s not because Soros is Jewish!”
Narrator: GCs often try to claim that their disproportionate focus on George Soros, the Pritzkers, Rothblatt, or any of their other targets is not because those targets are Jewish but because they are significant figures in some sort of trans rights movement. However, that doesn’t explain why other non-Jewish people have donated significantly more to pro-trans charities, yet they focus on these Jewish individuals. As for being central figures, as we saw above, Martine Rothblatt and Jennifer Pritzker are extremely marginal figures who happen to be Jewish and trans, yet they attract a lot of attention from GCs. Whether intentional or not, and it would be difficult to do this unintentionally, the blaming of wealthy Jews for trans people’s existence or trans rights plays directly into age-old antisemitic tropes.
If you focus in on people who happen to be Jewish while ignoring more powerful or politically active people of a certain movement who aren’t, then you are either motivated by antisemitism, complicit in it, or knowingly using it to further fear-mongering.
“But we’re not far right! We’re on the left!”
Narrator: As mentioned above, antisemitism exists all along the political spectrum and it is possible to be left-wing and antisemitic. This is why it is so vital to oppose antisemitism, because no movement is immune. However, when you find yourself holding views on Jewish people and on trans people that align more with the alt-right than with most left wing groups and promoting alt-right conspiracy theories, you may wish to reconsider whether you are on the left. Beliefs can speak louder than self-assessment when it comes to political
“But Magdalen Berns is dead!”
Narrator: Contrary to common tradition, being dead does not mean that someone cannot be criticized. By this logic, most of the worst people in history cannot be criticized, as they are also dead. Pol Pot, Andrew Jackson, Idi Amin, Genghis Khan, Irma Greyse, Violette Morris, and Adolf Hitler are also all dead, by this logic none of them can be criticized either. Obviously, while a bad person, Magdalen Berns does not come close to these genocidal leaders, but the logical conclusion of the belief that the dead are immune from criticism is that we cannot criticize anyone who is dead. If we can’t speak ill of the dead, we can’t tell the past accurately, and if someone was a horrible person in life there’s no reason we should be nice to them after death. Death doesn’t redeem a lifetime of misdeeds.
“These are just fringe weirdos!”
Narrator: Many GCs will try to play this off by saying that they’ve never heard of any of the people we point to as examples of antisemitism. However, regardless of whether an individual is familiar with Bilek, or Berns, or Joyce, these are all very prominent people in GCism, followed by most of the main voices, whose ideas are widely disseminated throughout the movement. These are NOT fringe views in GCism. These are not tiny faceless sock accounts, but people with a broad audience. Ironically, the same people who make this counter-argument will often point to collages of random trans accounts that no one knows, much less endorses, as evidence that all trans people are evil, or abusive, or are sending death threats to JK Rowling. Double standard much?
“Guilt by association is a logical fallacy!”
Narrator: This is another common claim by transphobes. Their argument suggests that it is incorrect to compare them with antisemitic right wing groups just because they share similar views on trans people. However, as we’ve seen, they often are antisemitic in their own right and openly work with and promote antisemitic right wingers, so it’s not really an association fallacy to compare them. If it looks like a conservative and quacks like one…
“Antisemite is a slur” and use of lawsuits against critics
Narrator: As we have seen, transphobes have a bit of a habit of declaring that any criticism of them is a slur or somehow worse than actual transphobia.
Narrator: And when called out as antisemitic, they react similarly.
Narrator: This is also a right wing tactic, to frame calling someone out as bigoted is worse than actually being bigoted. It’s a way to shut down critics. It’s also false. Antisemite, like TERF, is not a slur. Both words are descriptors for a certain type of hate. Unlike being Jewish or being trans, being antisemitic or transphobic is something you can change. And if being called transphobic or antisemitic bothers you, you should consider not being either of those things.
Narrator: This is the same mindset that drives people like Helen Joyce when she threatened to sue anyone who said she was an antisemite. For a group that claims they’re being silenced, GCs sure like to silence other people with threats of legal action.
Narrator: Helen, if you’re watching this, sue me if you want. The country I live in has explicit federal protections against Britain’s broken libel system, so you won’t get anywhere, but it’ll be fun to watch you try. But one thing no lawsuit can change is, GCs are antisemitic, and to say this is only to say the truth. Wasn’t it one of your own who said:
Part IV: Conclusion
Narrator: As we’ve seen, GCism is shot through with antisemitism. From the antisemitic tropes reapplied to trans people, to the conspiracy theories blaming Jewish billionaires like George Soros for the existence or increase of trans people, to the collaboration with antisemitic right-wingers, it is impossible to separate the GC movement from antisemitism and thus impossible to understand them without understanding this aspect. This is not some extreme edge of the movement or bug, but a central feature.
Narrator: Regardless of where you sit politically, it is important to reject antisemitism and transphobia, and this means wholeheartedly rejecting the GC movement. Listen to and support your Jewish and trans comrades. In particular, listen to people who are both Jewish and trans, as these are the people who have noticed and spoken out about the antisemitism of “gender critical” movements for a long time. If you are not Jewish or trans, educate yourself to be a good ally to Jewish and trans people in your communities.
Narrator: This video was made possible by generous consulting and assistance from GC Antisemitism, an account which does what it sounds like and documents the antisemitism of “gender critical” people and other transphobes. I highly recommend following them to keep up to date on this issue and educate yourself about the intersections between antisemitism and transphobia, as well as antisemitism in general.