Stephen Miller: The Jewish White Supremacist

While the White House uses Stephen Miller's Jewish heritage to shield him, there is overwhelming evidence he holds white supremacist and nationalist views.
Senior White House Adviser Stephen Miller (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons License)

Senior White House Adviser Stephen Miller (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons License)

Sixteen years ago, comedian Dave Chappelle debuted his new comedy show with an unlikely premise. He featured a “Frontline documentary” on Clayton Bigsby, a black white supremacist. Chappelle’s character was a blind African American who grew up in a southern white orphanage. Neither Bigsby nor his white classmates could see. No one, including the main character, knew he was black. They easily imbibed the doctrine of white supremacy. Bigsby grew into a leading proponent of white nationalism. Since he always appeared publicly in KKK robes, no one ever saw him.

This brings us to Stephen Miller, one of President Trump’s most prominent aides. Recent information surfaced that proved what many suspected. Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. Stephen Miller is also Jewish. This makes as much sense as a black white supremacist.

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Ironically, the White House used Miller’s Jewishness to discredit the claim of white nationalism. According to spokesman Hogan: “It is completely ignorant to slander a Jewish man as a White Nationalist, and it dishonors the Jewish victims of anti-Semitic persecution across the globe.”

Conventional wisdom holds that Jews would of course not be white supremacists. As far as this movement is associated with religion, it’s the Christian Right. Not Jews.

To that end, a number of Jewish groups have protested Stephen Miller’s presence in the White House. They jointly wrote a letter opening with:

White supremacy has no place in the White House. As entities who represent a broad diversity of American Jewish life, we share a deep concern about White House advisor Stephen Miller’s support for white supremacist ideology and the disturbing ways in which his dangerous views have influenced U.S. immigration policy. Such views have no place in the White House or as a basis of American policy.

The Jewish community itself has no room for such bigotry. It doesn’t matter that he’s Jewish.

Until the Southern Poverty Law Center published emails from Miller that exposed him sharing white supremacist articles, a case could be made that his stance related to immigration, not race per se. Even that scenario does a grave disservice to Jews, indeed to all Americans. Few among us are indigenous. We are not only a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of refugees.

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Like Stephen Miller’s ancestors, my own family fled Belarus around the turn of the twentieth century. Vicious pogroms — anti-Jewish riots, looting, murders — frequently swept through Russia. While the United States has a history of not exactly welcoming immigrants, our history is one of providing safe havens, whether or not the new arrivals looked or worshipped like “mainstream” Americans. The United States didn’t save all endangered Jews, but our country took in many of us. And the law protected us here. In the Old Country, the “law” raped and killed us.

Stephen Miller’s family escaped persecution in Antopol, Belarus, in 1903. My great grandparents fled Mazyr, Belarus, in 1906. The towns are approximately 200 miles apart. For Jews in either town, life was brutal. Vicious pogroms — anti-Jewish riots, looting, murders — frequently swept through the area.

My grandmother was a little girl when her family immigrated. She still was able tp describe the brutality and fear of the pogroms. That oppression led to a massive wave of immigration from Eastern Europe. Those who didn’t flee, those who survived the pogroms, died in the Holocaust.

Most of the new immigrants didn’t speak English. Their children did. But the immigrants themselves spoke Yiddish. Not so different from new Spanish-speaking immigrants.

And while this is my history, this is also Stephen Miller’s history. It’s also the story of the wave of refugees desperate for a new life. The refugees Miller wants to block.

The United States has a history of not exactly welcoming immigrants, our history is one of providing safe havens, whether or not the new arrivals looked or worshipped like “mainstream” Americans. The United States didn’t save all endangered Jews, but our country took in many of us. And the law protected us here. In the Old Country, the “law” raped and killed us.

Stephen Miller wants to keep out immigrants and asylum-seekers who don’t share his skin color. Worse, his policies abuse children. For European Jews throughout history, children were kidnapped and converted to Christianity. For Miller, the children aren’t converted, they are ripped from their families and put in cages. Miller’s policies go beyond cruelty. He should know better than to emulate the oppressors

Dr. David S. Glosser, Miller’s uncle, wrote a sharp critique of his nephew’s anti-immigration policies. He described the family’s difficult journey escaping Russian persecution. Like most Jewish refugees, they were poor. He described the path of his family in realizing the American dream. Glosser doesn’t understand how his nephew could deny the same life-saving opportunities to others.

Enter Clayton Bigsby, black white supremacist, the bigot who didn’t know who he was.

With Miller, his anti-immigration stance seems tied to notions of racial superiority. That requires a strong denial of his own Jewish history. In 1916, an author, Madison Grant, wrote The Passing of the Great Race, a pseudo-scientific book spreading the doctrine of white superiority. Grant explained that the “great Nordic” race founded America but by the early twentieth century, faced peril. According to Adam Serwer in The Atlantic:

“He blended Nordic boosterism with fear-mongering, and supplied a scholarly veneer for notions many white citizens already wanted to believe. Americans’ gauzy idealism blinded them, he argued, to the reality that newcomers from the Mediterranean and eastern Europe—to say nothing of anyone from Asia or Africa—could never hope to possess the genetic potential innate in the nation’s original Nordic inhabitants, which was the source of the nation’s greatness.”

Jews were among these despised newcomers.

How does even a false theory on Nordic superiority on its face fly in the face of Jews subscribing to this doctrine? After all, most (not all) American Jews are white.

But not in the eyes of the Nordic theorists:

“In 1899, William Z. Ripley, an economist, concluded that Europeans consisted of “three races”: the brave, beautiful, blond ‘Teutons’; the stocky ’Alpines’; and the swarthy ‘Mediterraneans’.”

In these theories, not all white people are white. Jews especially belong in a “lower” category. Jews are sometimes blond, but we don’t certainly wouldn’t place them among the “brave, beautiful, blond “Teutons.” We are descended from the “swarthy Mediterraneans.”

The white supremacists don’t consider or welcome Jews as fellow whites. For Miller to think differently requires him to employ serious cognitive dissonance. As with Clayton Bigsby, Stephen Miller doesn’t know who he is. The white nationalist embrace of his policies is in spite of his Jewishness. They like the policies. They scorn who he is. Miller just doesn’t have the presence of mind to recognize that.

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Opinion // Stephen Miller / White Nationalism / White Supremacy