Anti-Semitism is something that has been prevalent for centuries, with political figures, the upper echelon of gentile society, and society as a whole often finding the Jewish people at fault for the world’s problems. This can be seen with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, but also in more historical cases with the Black Death of the 14th century and caused the First World War for financial profit. With the rise of far-right politicians in the U.S. and throughout the globe, anti-Semitism has become a strong talking point of the right wing and many fake news groups have engaged in promulgating anti-Semitic conspiracies.
Of these right-wing organizations, however, none of them are more prolific or controversial than the Unz Review. The site is quite popular, being listed by Feedspot as the 26th out of 100 most popular political blogs and websites in 2021.
On the site’s “About” page, the site’s founder, Ron Unz, details how he views the site and how he intends the site to be utilized, writing, “This small webzine will aim to provide convenient access to a least a fraction of those voices and topics [Alternative media outlets of the Left and Right…providing those perspectives usually ignored by our mainstream media]”.
At a glance, the website accomplishes this goal; Holocaust denial, eugenics, international Jewish conspiracy, and white nationalism topics are not given a platform in such mainstream news organizations like the Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal. For a news organization or any political/current events discussion website to support or publish such views, giving them a platform and lending them credibility to a select group of people (as well as allowing such content to be disseminated), it would result in them being severely crippled due to the extreme lack of evidence behind such ideas. Many of those previously mentioned topics featured on the Unz Review are in no way accurate given the documentary, forensic/physical, eyewitness, and intellectual evidence surrounding a historical event or incident nor are certain ideas, theories, or hypotheses posted on the site backed up by scientific or concrete evidence leading to such a conclusion. What is most concerning about this site is the fact that they engage in both far-right and far-left conspiracy theory promulgation, appealing to both sides for the goal of white nationalism/supremacy, to paraphrase from a research article conducted by a PhD student at the University of Arizona and an instructor at Portland State University.
The Facts behind The Unz Review
The site engages in a vast majority of anti-Semitic literature being promulgated. Now, unlike other sites (such as GlobalResearch) in which anti-Semitism has been mentioned, the Unz Review takes this to an entirely new level. Nearly every article on the site tries, in some way, to blame the Jews or promotes white nationalism. Examples of this are abundant on the site and can be seen on the very first page.
First, on the far right of the main page, there is a “Featured Book” tab which has recommended a book titled, “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry,”
The book’s updated 2015 version is available in full on the site and spliced into chapters. The book was initially written in 1976 by then-recently tenured Northwestern University professor of electrical engineering Arthur Butz. The book was seen as being increasingly influential in Holocaust denial and was one of the first to reach a popular audience. An op-ed contributor for The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern University’s student paper) describes the content of the book as, “[an attempt] to disprove the commonly-accepted knowledge that the Holocaust was meant to exterminate Jews, that Nazi camps were responsible for the deaths of six million Jews and that the gas chambers and crematoria even existed” with The Baltimore Sun expanding, “He [Butz] not only accuses the Allies of forging mountains of documents almost overnight to prove their case at Nuremberg, but contends they brainwashed the Nazis on trial there into believing their own guilt”. Butz also was even more influential in the Holocaust denial movement, “by writing articles for the now-defunct Journal of Historical Review (on whose editorial advisory board he served from 1980 through 2001) and occasionally speaking at Holocaust denial conferences”.
Other articles also show a distaste of Judaism, Israel, and Jews in general. A few examples of this are listed below;
Israeli Historian Discovers ‘6 Million’ Holocaust Figure Was Invented at Zionist Conference In 1944 (The article makes the claim that the six million Jews killed figure was created at a Zionist conference, however, this is a either a deliberately dishonest or a simply poor interpretation of the content. The historian, Joel Rappel of Boston University, did find a document mentioning a Polish Jew who repeated the six million number at a Zionist conference in 1944, yet the Haaretzarticle cited by the Review writes, “How did Unger [the Polish Jew] know about the outcome of the Holocaust in real time, before the killing had ended? “At the time the number 6 million was the accepted number of European Jews,” says Rappel. He found reinforcement for his claim in other newspapers, where they warned of the fate of “6 million Jews,” even after Unger had spoken”. Being that the Unz article paraphrases from paragraphs above and below the excerpted section of the Haaretz article, it seems more likely that this is a selective editing practice, rather than a poor interpretation. As well, the article tries to claim that Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Hoss’s assertions as to the amount of Jews killed in the Holocaust were forced by their interrogators and should be discredited, in fact the exact opposite of conclusions come to by the vast majority of learned historians in addition to being contrary to Nazi German documentary evidence from the 1930s and 40s. Also, the final paragraph of this Unz article notes, “they [the Jewish community] are now beginning to concede that the “6 million” is nothing more than Zionist propaganda is a major blow to the myth”, somewhat asserting that the entire Jewish Holocaust is fictitious)
It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo (Almost a rant, the article, which is a reprint from Russia Insider (itself a rather discredited source), making allegations that Russian hostility is an international Jewish conspiracy conducted by members of the media and politicians while also arguing that the 2014 student protests in Ukraine was incited by Jews and that the alt-Right media is a more accurate source for information on Russian history and affairs. The article is essentially conjecture, having little evidence to back up the claims made and verging into the white genocide conspiracy theory territory)
Can You Trust Historians? (The article first expresses a dislike for the mainstream media (alleging they make the news rather than report, even though, as has been explored with my previous analyses, alternative news organizations do that just as much, if not more). The entire article basically casts doubt upon the official history of the Jewish Holocaust while also seemingly arguing that, had Hitler recorded all his conversations, perhaps a new view of history would be created)
The Yad Vashem Claims These Jews Were Murdered By the Nazis. They’re Actually Alive and Giving “Holocaust” Lectures (The article tries to make the claim that many of the persons listed on the Yad Vashem Hall of Names are listed multiple times (finding five examples, hardly enough to qualify as an empirical study nor enough for a legal case) and are alive rather than dead. Naturally, those chosen for this examination have rather common Jewish, German, Greek, and Polish surnames with such examples including Benjamin Lesser, Margit Buchhalter Feldman, Dario Gabbai, and Yitzhak Arad. Yitzhak and Benjamin are both very common first names in Jewish culture (Yitzhak being a variant of Isaac, a patriarch of Israel and very important to Jewish culture and Benjamin being another name closely associated with the Bible and a common name in various sections of the globe) as is Margit, itself a very common German female’s name and a variant of Margaret. Their surnames too are not rare either with Lesser being common in both the German and Jewish communities and the surname of “Buchhalter Feldman” being a combination of a Jewish title for someone who “kept the books of the Jewish community” and another common German surname. Taking the name of Dario Gabbai as an example, Dario is a Greek form of Darius, which dates back to Darius I, King of Persia who allowed “the Jews to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem,” and is again an important figure in Judaism. Gabbai as well is a common word in Hebrew which initially meant, “lay communal official…[before] the meaning of the word extended to include other communal officials,” so it is natural that variants of these names would appear. Again, the name of Arad is also a common surnameand the cities of Arad were two very important roads in the ancient world and in the history of Judaism and Israel. The article’s points are further dismantled as all of those examples listed have different spellings and, in most cases, are backed up with relatively detailed ID cards listing different dates of birth, residences, and other personal information. Unless the article is going to make the claim that all of that documentary evidence is falsified, which they do not, then the evidence for their claim is rather slim. The article’s entire point is further damaged by a correction at the bottom noting that one of those names listed “appears to be a different individual than the one listed in the Shoah victim s archive/[sic]”. The article also makes the claim that Dario Gabbai, a notable Holocaust survivor, was a fraud, in spite of Nazi German documentary evidence to the contrary. It is also important to note that this author has previously made claims supportive of Pizzagate conspiracy theories and taking part in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017)
Teaching Holocaust (The article describes the incident which occurred back in 2018 in Boca Raton, Florida when the principal of Spanish River High, “told a parent, who was seeking information about Spanish River’s Holocaust curriculum, that he had to remain “politically neutral” [stating] “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event”. While I personally find that the principal simply acted irresponsibly with his wording and does believe that the Holocaust occurred, and that some of the backlash was unwarranted, the article takes the stance that neglecting alternative theories on the Holocaust is wrong (even those that outright deny it). The article also subtly hints at the white genocide conspiracy theory, insinuating that every professor or educator about the Jewish holocaust is Jewish and engaging in some whataboutism, a fallacious line of thought)
Jews Can Be Trouble (A rather self-explanatory piece, it is an interview between Israel Shamir (who we will get to in a minute) and an editor of the site in which Shamir makes statements like, “We Arabs know the Jews – for thousands of years – and we see them as every reason of absolute evil in this world,” which is quite a big claim. Again, the article is mostly conjecture, with no evidence beyond personal being utilized in the interview)
The Last Days of the “Holocaust” (The article, written by the author of the Yad Vashem article reviewed above, describes a new book on Mengele which notes how the doctor of Auschwitz treated those he considered his experiments better (which, while true, the author uses this to claim that Mengele’s treatment of twins was a hoax and that, “[his motivation was not] hate and sadism…only a passion for advancing medical science,”). A prisoner at one of the camps recountedhow Mengele sewed two twins together before both died of gangrene, with other prisoners accounting their experiences at Auschwitz and being victimized at Mengele’s hands. This is backed up Mengele’s assistant, a Hungarian Jew and pathologist, who additionally described how, when a twin being experimented on died, Mengele would kill the other and once personally killed fourteen children. As well, Robert Jay Lifton’s book, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, expertly documents Mengele’s racist, sadistic, and anti-Semitic nature, observing Mengele’s own belief that the Jewish people should fully be eliminated. Sybille Steinbacher, a German historian who wrote one of the most concise works on Auschwitz, classifies Mengele’s studies (and the Nazi German human experimentation) as being to justify, scientifically, Aryan physical and biological superiority, which is what Nazi Germany strongly desired. So, Mengele’s experiments were not for the advancement of medical science as the Unz author claims, but instead to try and prove that Aryans were biologically superior (an outright falsity) and, personally, to eliminate a race he found offensive. Naturally, the author would probably discount the testimony of the prisoner and the pathologist because of the fact they are Jewish and would cite Lifton, Posner, and Steinbacher’s works as “revisionist”, in spite of the Nazi German documentary and forensic evidence that backs up much of their works and testimonies. If anyone is being revisionist, it is this article and the author)
From the outset, it is apparent that the Unz Review is quite anti-Semitic and, naturally, has little evidence to back up their claims that Jews are completely and totally awful and responsible for every evil thing, disaster, and conflict in the world.
Factually, the site is quite revisionist in regards to history and has engaged in an appeal to both the left and right of the political spectrum, writing articles that are pro-Trump and anti-Trump, pro-DNC and anti-DNC, etc. in addition to supporting conspiracies levied by both sides. Because of this, the site engages in the promulgation of various conspiracy theories. Below is a short listing of many of the dubious and baseless conspiracy theories that have been broadcast by the site;
Many of these theories lack the hard evidence necessary to make a criminal case (MLK and JFK’s assassination by “Elites” and the Secret Service, respectively) and all of them routinely ignore contradictory evidence, make misleading statements, take big leaps in logic, and rely upon inaccuracies or factual errors in statements, evidence, or even doctor information to better fit the argument being made.
The Review, due to their often discussion of IQ and race and more discussions of past historical events than current events, does not have much of a track record in terms of factual accuracy with larger fact-checking bodies such as Snopes, PolitiFact, or FactCheck. However, there is one article by FactCheck, the fact-checking organization run by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, which does analyze the Unz Review.
A 25 May 2018 article written by Mike Whitney insinuates that Michelle Obama is planning a bid for the 2020 Presidential Election and that Amazon and Jeff Bezos will back her, with Whitney writing, “Why is Amazon running a full page of “Michelle Obama for President” T-Shirts?”. In FactCheck’s analysis, “It’s true that such shirts are available on Amazon, where individuals and businesses sell millions of products to customers. The specific Obama T-shirt pictured on Your News Wire and Unz Review has been sold by the online shop Brave New Look since September 2015, according to the product description. The company, one of the many independent vendors on Amazon, sold shirts with the same design for Obama’s supporters during the 2016 election. In fact, as of May 31, a search for “Michelle Obama 2020” on Amazon produced 471 results for shirts, socks, mugs and other items being sold by different vendors. But those product listings don’t mean that Bezos is advertising for Obama, or urging her to run for president. And while Bezos and Trump have publicly criticized each other over the years, we could find no record of the Amazon chief making any public remarks about the former first lady potentially challenging the president in the next election”.
So, quite simply, using evidence that is circumstantial, the Unz made a claim that was not backed up by any factual evidence and was entirely speculative, utilizing poor sources (Seth Myers while hosting the Oscars and Oprah on her show) to boot.
The site also has some very interesting affiliations with other websites and authors who have shoddy track records. Now, some may see this as fallacious, a guilt by association tactic. However, I argue that who the site aligns themselves with and chooses to have on their platform is important. The editor is essentially the gatekeeper and they get to determine what kinds of articles and authors are allowed to comment and submit works on their site. The people who are allowed to post on a given site either have an article or viewpoint that the editor agrees with (either for personal, economic, or other professional reasons). With that editor being Ron Unz, these affiliations can indicate who he deems as credible or professional and who he may agree with. Below is a listing of some of the contributors to the Review;
Michelle Malkin – (a conservative columnist and blogger, she has been involved in her fair share of controversy. In 2006, she doubted that a source listed in an Associated Press article on mosques being burned by militiamen was real (and doubted the entire story), before issuing a partial correction (admitting the person existed, but doubting the burnings) once it was proven the source was legitimate. Malkin has also written a book titled In Defense of Internment: The Case for “Racial Profiling” in World War II and the War on Terror in which she claims, “that ethnic and religious profiling was a legitimate anti-terror measure and that such sensible measures were being avoided because of “profiling alarmism” caused by a guilt complex about the Japanese-American internment during World War II… Some Japanese aliens and even some U.S.-born Japanese-Americans had pro-Japan sympathies and the U.S. had evidence that the Japanese military was working to recruit them; since there was no way to assess individual risk, mass detention was entirely justifiable as a wartime security measure — and besides, the camps weren’t really all that bad, anyway”. She also assisted in promulgating a conspiracy theory involving a 2005 bombing at the University of Oklahoma in which she claimed a student who blew himself up with a bomb, “was a Muslim convert and would-be jihadist suicide bomber. What apparently made Hinrichs a suspect was that he had had a Pakistani roommate, had lived a block away from a mosque (once attended by 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, before Hinrichs’ time on campus), and had grown a beard. Rumors that Hinrichs had been a regular at the mosque and that Islamist literature and a one-way plane ticket to Algeria had been found in his apartment were quickly shot down; rumors that he had tried to enter the crowded stadium but had run away when a guard wanted to search his backpack were disproved by security footage. Still, the speculation continued, undeterred by the fact that it was causing considerable anguish to Hinrichs’ family…Malkin snarked about the “peaceful religion” of Islam and accused not only the mainstream media but the FBI of a cover-up motivated by “political correctness”. This was later proven to be entirely untrue after an extensive FBI investigation. Malkin is also a frequent contributor to VDARE, a known white nationalist, anti-Semitic/immigrant website that has been called a hate group by the SPLC. As well, the Young Americas for Freedom, a popular youth conservative movement, broke ties with Malkin after, [she] praised 21-year-old broadcaster Nick Fuentes and his followers, who call themselves “groypers.” Fuentes has a history of making anti-Semitic and racist comments, and the mainstream right has sought to distance themselves from him and his supporters… [YAF stated] there is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists”)
Israel Shamir – (Shamir is well known for his denial of the Jewish Holocaust, conducted under the Nazi German regime from, roughly 1941 to 1945, vocally supporting David Irving’s views and writing in a 2005 book that Jews control the global media and the international Jewish conspiracy (reminiscent of the early 20th century conspiracy, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion); he also was a speaker at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust” which basically was a conference meant to support the idea that the Holocaust never occurred of which notorious Klan member and American Neo-Nazi David Duke was in attendance; he has also written that he has been published and featured on RT. He also is a contributor to the pro-Russia conspiracy website GlobalResearch)
Steve Sailer – (Initially a writer for the conservative National Review in the 1990s, Sailer largely wrote on science and genetics, “infamous for applying, often in a blunt and inflammatory manner, such methods to alleged racial differences in intelligence and behavior. Sailer popularized the term “human biodiversity” (HBD) – now a mainstay on the alt-right – to describe his field of interest, which, despite winning a few lonely adherents in the academy, has been dismissed by critics as pseudoscience at best and eugenics at worst,” before leaving around 1997 when a new editor took over. Since then, he has become a very powerful force in the new political right, coining and developing a lot of their rhetoric and talking points, becoming a regular contributor on VDARE. His content also is quite inappropriate at times, with many noting his 2005 VDARE article on Katrina in which he writes, ““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”. Not only is this incredibly racist and built upon misunderstandings of the IQ and race relationship and utilizing pseudoscience and poorly conducted medical studies, but the author is taking a crisis and racializing it. According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Sailer too, “extols the work of academic racists who say Africans as a group are innately less intelligent than whites or Asians. He is also a staunch defender of the Pioneer Fund, a primary funder for such racist research [the SPLC has a great overview of their work]… he ruled out the possibility of a gay gene, suggesting instead that homosexuality is a disease, possibly caused by a germ”)
Paul Craig Roberts – (At first glance, Roberts is a seemingly respectable source, having a doctorate in economics and being a former Asst. Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy for two years under Ronald Reagan; however his writings are concerning. As for a few examples, Roberts has claimed that, “All evidence [surrounding the assassination of JFK] pointed to a plot by the Joint Chiefs, CIA, and Secret Service whose right-wing leaders had concluded that President was [soft on communism]” which goes against the vast, vast majority of what the forensic, eyewitness, and documentary evidence indicates about the assassination in addition to publishing a theory that the Charlie Hebdo shootings were a false flag, has shown support for holocaust denier David Irving and said, “No German plans, or orders from Hitler, or from Himmler or anyone else have ever been found for an organized holocaust by gas and cremation of Jews… The “death camps” were in fact work camps. Auschwitz, for example, today a Holocaust museum, was the site of Germany’s essential artificial rubber factory,” which outright denies one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th century and goes against, again, all of the evidence we have about the Holocaust (including those from Nazi German sources). Roberts is also a frequent contributor to RT, the state-sponsored news agency for the Russian Federation)
Anatoly Karlin – (A self-described journalist and IQ researcher, he studied political economy at UC-Berkeley and has only one peer-reviewed published article (in the Siberian Psychology Journal), he is a frequent poster to the Unz Review. In his writings, he has claimed that the human carrying capacity is 100 billion, while most other scholarly and pro-science sources cite the human carrying capacity as being between 8 – 10 billion, with the Australian Academy of Science finding only two out of 65 peer-reviewed papers coming to a similar conclusion as Karlin. He also has repeatedly tried linking race and IQ together, relying on such controversial and academically questionable material like Richard Lynn’s researchon the subject and The Bell Curve, falling for common and faulty assumptions about race and IQ. Karlin also has a Reddit account and, not uncommon for many Redditors, has voiced his own view on race, writing, “I am quite happy that few Blacks associate with Russia, considering the type of violence-ridden underclasses they tend to create in countries that open their doors to them…So yes, I am a racist and very happy with that”. He also has tried to link homosexuality and pedophilia. So, all around, someone who should not be given a platform, yet has been due to the Review)
Philip Giraldi – (A former CIA officer and national security editor for the Review, he believes that Jews and Israel were involved in the 9/11 attacks and that much of the history of the Jewish Holocaust is debatable, writing, “The imposed holocaust narrative is full of holes and contradictions in terms of who was killed and how” and that Jews should be labeled when on the media, “kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison”)
Ron Paul – (A well-known figure in American politics for being a U.S. Representative from Texas and a 2008 and 2012 Presidential contender, he has made a few controversial statements over the years. His website, The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, also came under fire for racist language regarding African-Americans picking up their welfare checks stopping further destruction in the 1992 LA Riots, African-American teenagers infecting people with HIV laden syringes. Paul stated in 2001, “those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all”. He further qualified by stating he had some form of moral responsibility, though one journalist noted that he was laxly supervising an organization that netted him, “almost $1 million…in 1993 alone,” and a later interview with him in 2013, he seems to not take that moral responsibility. Some (both from the Libertarian movement and Ron Paul’s own staff) allege that Lew Rockwell wrote these articles, which makes sense considering the content. Paul has also claimed that the Syrian chemical attacks have been false-flag operations and suggesting that COVID-19 was a “hoax” while also calling Anthony Fauci a “chief fearmonger”)
Ilana Mercer – (A contributor for the Mises Institute and the Daily Caller, Mercer has also been involved in making many pseudohistorical and rather offensive statements. She has called Robert E. Lee an American hero and taken points from the “Lost Cause” ideology, while ignoring that Lee was an incredibly cruel slave master who called slavery evil, yet did nothing to try and free those he inherited. She has also said that a ban on Muslims entering the United States, “is neither illogical, immoral, or un-libertarian,” before opining that Islam is inherently violent and that “moderate Islamists” don’t matter, which is quite Islamophobic. Her Islamophobia has resurfaced in her books and articles, calling burqas, “nose bags”. Furthermore, she was slated to speak alongside the likes of Richard Spencer at the H.L. Mencken Club, a prominent white nationalist club, and has blatantly called America, scientifically, intellectually, and probably genetically, superior to African and Arab nations)
John Derbyshire – (Like Sailer, Derbyshire got his start at the National Review too, Derbyshire was terminated by the company after his writing of an article in response to the Trayvon Martin shooting in which he writes, “they [Derbyshire’s teenage children] should “stay out of heavily black neighborhoods” and “not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks”…He also says not to live in an area run by African American politicians and to scrutinise [sic] black politicians more closely than white ones. Derbyshire goes on to write that “the mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites”. He says that many black people only have “cognitively demanding jobs” because of affirmative action”. Going as far back as 2003, Derbyshire admitted to being a racist and a homophobe (though he attempted to clarify his statements by stating he does not like homosexuality, believing it has a negative effect on society, and racist in the sense “that race is real and important”). After his firing, he detailed his frustrations in an article on VDARE (previously mentioned under the discussion of Malkin) in which he, “defended his positions, saying that the term “white supremacist” is not a bad term, considering that a society “in which key decisions are made by white Europeans is one of the better arrangements History has come up with””. He also argued in one of his books (and supported the claim in interviews) that women should not have gotten the right to vote and that America would have been a better country without the 19thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution. He also has made some concerning comments that border on pedophilia)
Naturally, this is just the tip of the iceberg with these contributors, with others being consistently factually inaccurate or so biased that they become incredible sources to gain information from. Others who have shoddy track records or have postulated suspicious and factually inaccurate content are Kevin Barrett, Paul Kersey (a pseudonym), Pepe Escobar, Paul Gottfried, the entire news site ZeroHedge, among various others.
Ron Unz is a very integral figure in discussing the Unz Review as, after all, he is their founder. What is most interesting about him at first glance is that he is Jewish.
In a CNN article discussing Unz’s attempts to require all California public schools to mandate English for all Limited English Proficient students and effectively eliminate bilingual courses, they mention his background, writing that he was educated at Harvard University, “[and majored] in theoretical physics and ancient history,” before going to Cambridge where he studied quantum gravitation before founding a financial software firm, which made him extremely wealthy. In a 1999 interview with LA Weekly, the magazine spoke with some of the professors who knew him well in both high school and college, stating, “He would be among the top few students I ever taught,” and “He‘s a genius… I thought he would win the Nobel Prize, honest to God”. He also was a recipient of the Westinghouse Science Prize, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards in science. By all accounts, an intelligent fellow.
The article also describes how Unz is a political oddity in California, “He‘s profoundly conservative on taxes, crime and welfare, but also out of step with conservatives in manifold ways: He’s pro-immigrant but anti-multicultural; anti-voucher in pro-voucher times; anti-abortion but nondogmatic, framing his position as a ”personal view“; a free trader who is sanguine about China; an unreligious person among followers who root their politics in religious fervor; a right-wing activist driven only marginally by concern about gays and guns”. This makes his later work and writings quite interesting.
The reason why Ron Unz may be more of a recognizable figure in California politics is due to his campaign in the 1994 gubernatorial election for the State of California in which he ran as a Republican, mostly via out of pocket finance. According to the LA Weekly article, “Unz ran in opposition to Proposition 187, the Wilson-supported initiative to deny medical care and education to the children of illegal immigrants. But he ran to Wilson‘s right on the environment, taxes, crime and other issues, winning the support of the right-wing California Republican Assembly. ”What I was really doing was highlighting the internal contradiction — in classic Marxian sense — between the extensive social-welfare state and an openness to immigration,“ Unz says now. ”If people think illegal immigrants are coming here because they need work and they’ll go home again, that‘s one thing. But if they feel they are coming here and getting all these government goodies paid for by your tax dollars, that makes them very upset.“ At the end of a short primary challenge, Unz got 34 percent of the vote, a credible showing. But he left a raft of disappointed allies in the campaign’s wake. His campaign strategist, Arnold Steinberg, acknowledges that the campaign ”collapsed after about three weeks,“ largely because there was no money to keep television advertisements on the air. According to others active in the campaign, few if any of the staff members who worked on that first campaign still support Unz, because he didn‘t know how to build good working relationships”.
In more recent years, Unz has still kept at it in politics, even running for a U.S. Senate seat in the 2016 United States Senate elections, yet has predominantly changed his view to focusing on his foray into journalism (with both the Review and The American Conservative) and overall financing of Conservative causes. With The American Conservative, Unz was the publisher from 2007 until 2013. Spectator USA, an American version of the popular British weekly, describes Unz’s time with the magazine, writing, “He invested much of his fortune in the magazine, and, in time, began to use it as an outlet for his writings. Unz wrote some of the magazine’s most successful essays. A piece arguing that Hispanics did not have high crime rates was applauded in the liberal press. An analysis of bias against Asian-Americans in Harvard’s admissions system was widely discussed and encouraged the creation of the Free Harvard, Fair Harvard campaign on which he worked with veteran leftist Ralph Nader.
Unz left The American Conservative in 2013. He argues he was forced out for submitting contentious material while the editor claimed that he was arrogant and overbearing”. Expounding on his tenure at the magazine, the ADL writes, “…Unz published a controversial article “The Myth of American Meritocracy,” in The American Conservative in which he claims that Jews are overrepresented at elite schools even though their achievement levels have been in a downward spiral. He also claims these schools discriminate against better-qualified Asian-Americans and non-Jewish whites who represent a greater percentage of the population. Unz postulates that one reason that Jews are more readily admitted to Ivy League schools is that a large percentage of the schools’ administrators are Jewish and are more apt to admit Jews based on “unconscious biases.” Most disturbingly, Unz implies that Jews are an alien presence in the United States compared to White Anglo Saxons who dominated elite schools in the past”.
In late 2013, after leaving the magazine, Unz founded The Unz Review. In the Sepctator’s writing of the site’s initial beginnings, “The Unz Review wasn’t bad in its first years. It was edgier than The American Conservative. There was much to disagree with. But it also contained much of interest. Unz had begun to finance and publish nationalists, which he rationalized [sic] by saying that he did not agree with them but thought that they deserved a space in the public sphere. He also published acres of anti-Israel content, which became more tedious than anything”. The ADL assessed that Ron Unz has, “provided a new outlet for certain writers to attack Israel and Jews”.
Unz has often tried to distance himself from those writers who write such material on his site, claiming, “This is not to say that I personally agree with all or even most of what these writers believe or claim. However, sometimes the most valuable insights are obtained by reading opinions sharply divergent from one’s own… However, as publisher of The Unz Review [sic], I do fully stand behind my own past writings, and over the years the corpus of my work has grown to include numerous major articles across a wide range of topics presenting ideas at least as controversial as almost anything else published on this website”. So he makes it clear, he does not agree with everything postulated, yet does stand behind what he himself writes. Let us examine his own writings.
One of his most popular series is called American Pravda. With Pravda being Russian for “Truth”, this seems quite befitting of the site for obvious reasons. There are numerous entries (some dating back to before the Review’s founding in 2008) and, as time goes on, they become increasingly more extreme, volatile, and embracing of the authors which the site allows an outlet. A few of these articles are linked below with the main points summarized;
JFK was assassinated and there was a conspiracy revolving around it (he later alleges in Part 2 that Mossad was behind the assassination)
These types of articles, all written by Unz, display a similar theme to what has previously been mentioned by other writers who are featured on the site. It is important to note that there is not much evidence to back up the claims that MH17 was shot down by someone other than the Russians or a Russian-support Ukrainian group nor is there evidence backing up the idea that the U.S. government assassinated JFK nor is there evidence backing up the idea that Israel perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. Most of these articles rely upon books that are known to include fabricated material and other discredited articles, are overtly anti-Semitic, or simply do not have enough information to back up their claims such as Seymour Hersh’s The Dark Side of Camelot, Victor Ostrovsky’s The Other Side of Deception, Mark Lane’s Plausible Denial: Was the CIA involved in the assassination of JFK?, John Beaty’s The Iron Curtain Over America, and James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable.
Not only does Unz engage in this type of conspiracy promulgation, but he engages in the publishing of anti-Semitic works that are quite concerning;
These are only a few of the articles in which Unz goes on a rant about Judaism. However, in these articles, he makes it clear that he holds a distaste for Jews and is something of a historical revisionist.
In his work, “The ADL in American Society,” he makes the claim that Leo Frank was guilty for the murder of Mary Phagan. This goes against first what the forensic evidence stated as well as what many historians believe. Not to mention that a credible witnesses in 1982 testified that he had seen another man, a white gentile man, dispose of the body.
In his work, “Jews and Nazis,” Unz alleges, “those violent Neo-Nazi elements [in Ukraine] are all being bankrolled and controlled by a Jewish Oligarch who holds dual Israeli citizenship…these days it is the Nazis who occupy the role of eager suppliants to the formidable power of International Zionism, which now so heavily dominates the American political system and through it, much of the world”.
To put it succinctly, there is a lot of revisionism, factual inaccuracies, and content that is outright misconstrued or utilizes faulty evidence in Unz’s writings. Below is a listing of the many problems with Unz’s writings as detailed by InfluenceWatch, which accurately details the flaws in Unz’s content;
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.
In the opening paragraph of a subsection titled “Holocaust Frauds and Confusions,” Unz writes:
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.
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.”
This belief led him to an assertion that Jews would be responsible for future mass murder:
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.
Reputable commentators and scholars reject both of Unz’s interpretations, and substantial evidence exists to support that rejection.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.”
As one can see, Unz has seriously become a full-blown conspiracy theorist, endorsing severely inaccurate and insane views that are indisputably anti-Semitic. In his aforementioned work, “The Bolshevik Revolution and its Aftermath,” he also writes near the end, “Until about a dozen years ago, I had always vaguely assumed that Henry Ford’s The International Jew was a work of political lunacy and the Protocols was a notorious hoax. Yet today, I would probably consider the former as a potentially useful source of possible historical events otherwise excluded from most standard accounts”. In this article, he essentially praises articles that have been proven to be either a hoax or based on a hoax (the Protocols and Ford’s International Jew respectively). For a clearer explanation as to how and why both of these specific articles are extremely incorrect and the exact opposite of what Unz claims, Jonathan R. Lodgson, a student at Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, provides a fantastic history of this issue.
As well, Unz’s anti-Semitic dealings do not end with purely his writings. As mentioned before, he donates money to various political causes. In an article for The Harvard Crimson written by the Managing Editor and Associate Managing Editor, “Unz’s public tax filings connect the Silicon Valley multimillionaire with VDARE, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an “anti-immigration hate website,” in addition to several writers who have published articles arguing that white people are genetically superior and homosexuality is a transmittable disease, among other extreme views… In 2010, The One Nation One California Research and Education Fund donated $36,000 to VDARE over the course of several months, according to the One Nation’s 990 tax filings. Though the organization does not officially list Unz as a staff member on the tax filing, Unz said that he created and funds the group… Unz funds several individual writers and thinkers [via the Unz Foundation] …The Unz Foundation’s most heavily financed fellow in 2008 was Gregory M. Cochran, who received $600,000 to serve as an “Unz Independent Scholar.” Cochran, then an adjunct anthropology professor at the University of Utah, has written that homosexuality may be spread by a “germ” and tied Jewish intelligence to genetics. Unz also gave $24,000 to VDARE writer Steven E. Sailer, who described his personal ideology in a blog post as “citizenism”— the belief that “Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners.” Sailer has also written about what he calls the “black-white IQ gap,” and argued that the devastation incurred by Hurricane Katrina indicated that African Americans “possess poorer native judgment” and “need stricter moral guidance from society.” Thomas E. Woods ’94, another “Unz Research Fellow,” received $108,000 from the Unz Foundation over three years starting in 2008. Woods, a historian and writer, is a founding member of the League of the South, a self-defined “Southern Nationalist” group of “men and women who are not content to sit by and allow their land, liberty, and culture be destroyed by an alien regime and ideology””. Unz later lost in his campaign to be elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers, not especially surprising given his belief that, “too many unqualified minorities were being admitted to [Harvard and it] needs more transparency in its admissions process, which allows in too many Jews, African-Americans, and Latinos at the expense of white people and Asian-Americans who are more deserving,” while also blaming Jewish admission officers.
As well, Unz has further solidified his relationship with VDARE, going so far as to speak at one of their planned conferences in 2017 before it was canceled.
Ron Unz is, without a doubt, an interesting case. He is a right-winger in terms of finance and crime, yet is not as concerned with social issues as other right-wingers are, only becoming concerned when they drift into an appreciation of multiple cultures within the public and U.S. society. To me, this is key to understanding his motivations.
The site’s goal is to, “provide convenient access to a least a fraction of those voices and topics [Alternative media outlets of the Left and Right…providing those perspectives usually ignored by our mainstream media]”. The site does accomplish this, providing a voice to those views that are ignored. However, what is problematic is that these views should be ignored. They should not be given a place to thrive and allowed credibility by being placed on a site that also harbors views that others (of both political spectrums) may agree with. Unz’s allowing of such content to be proliferated on the site gives such views an aura of legitimacy and credibility that they should not be given. The idea that the Holocaust did not occur, that Holocaust victims are lying about their experiences, that Israeli intelligence is responsible for major American assassinations are not ideas that should be given a platform as they simply do not have the evidence necessary to back up such claims and are based upon centuries of bias, hatred, doctored and manipulated information, and selected evidence. This is the biggest problem with the Review as by appealing to those members of the left and right who are listening to the extremist portions of their political bias and injecting, covertly and overtly, anti-Semitic leanings or sentiments can be come across and gain legitimacy because they appear alongside articles that viewers agree with.
In short, I do not believe that the Review is doing this for any other reason beyond to live up to their mission statement and to provide views that go against the mainstream.
Ron Unz is, by all accounts, quite wealthy and has no need for money nor does the evidence suggest that he engages with foreign powers to disseminate information for a larger, geopolitical purpose. The site is motivated by an ideological goal of speaking truth to power, albeit a factually wrong and distorted truth. This is not to say that the Review is enlightened and is a better version of fake news as opposed to Alex Jones’ InfoWars seeming goal of making immense amounts of revenue or GlobalResearch’s goal of disseminating anti-Western news that is often heavily biased or faulty. The Review is still fake news and of the lowest order and, actually, I would argue does more damage to critical thinking and has more of an effect than the other two listed sources because they can be appealing to a wide variety of readers from various political, historical, and social spectrums, some of which are often at odds with one another.
While many fake news outlets still engage in anti-Semitic content and promulgate conspiracies thinly veiled or based upon centuries old beliefs, their total contribution to the anti-Semitism of the U.S. right-wing is still quite minimal. Blatantly biased and journalistically shoddy organizations like InfoWars, World Net Daily, and Breitbart do contribute substantially to anti-Semitic, right-wing talking points moreso than more respected rightist to right-wing news outlets like The National Review, The American Conservative, or The American Spectator. However, none of these more prominent news outlets of the alt-right or right-wing provide more of a platform to anti-Semitic, historical revisionist views than The Unz Review. VDARE and The American Thinker may be a close second and third place, but the Unz Review remains a haven of highly biased and harmful views that openly aid in the radicalization of many young white males and females in the United States and can severely negatively impact the domestic policies of the United States.