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Please Don’t Make Me Choose Between J.D. Vance and the ADL

The Hillbilly Elegy author isn't even trying to hide it anymore.

JD Vance at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2018 - Day 2
TechCrunch/Flickr

What is there to say about Hillbilly Elegy writer-cum-shitty Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance?

Finally, and for the purpose of this particular blog, I ask: Is he not “dipping his toes” in the lukewarm waters of overt anti-Semitic propaganda so much as he’s just splashing around in it like a hyperactive two-year-old at bathtime? Folks, you bet he is!

Allow me to call your attention to this recent Vance tweet about a newly launched partnership between the ADL and Paypal to curb the flow of money into extremist groups. This is something the company, incidentally co-founded by Vance’s billionaire benefactor and white nationalist hobnobber Peter Thiel, has been doing for a while now.

This is ostensibly part of his very stupid campaign against the industry that made him a rich white guy to begin with, but it doesn’t hold up to even a drop of scrutiny.

Ignoring the fact that Vance claiming the ADL “just goes after conservatives” is laughable bullshit, it’s not hard to read between JD’s extremely obvious lines here: “Watch out white folks! The Jews are coming for your money!” Think of it less as a “dog whistle” and more akin to finding a basset hound, lifting up one of its big floppy ears, and shouting, “HEY DOG! GET A LOAD OF THIS!”

Keep in mind, also, that Vance is a published author, and appreciate just how sloppy his writing is. Where’s the subtlety? The nuance? Try using a hillbilly analogy for once in your stupid life.

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Please, Fuck Off: J.D. Vance

Let me be very clear here: The Anti-Defamation League is a wildly problematic institution that has gone out of its way to target progressives, particularly those working against the Israeli occupation. It has contributed to the broader trend of weaponizing antisemitism that is now being wielded by some of the worst, most villainous idiots around. It’s a throwback to a different era of Jewish civic engagement that has spent decades amassing political clout while struggling to balance legitimate civil rights work with its anachronistic pro-Israel advocacy.

But Vance’s response isn’t really about the legitimate issues afflicting a more than 100-year-old cornerstone of the Jewish communal world. It’s about invoking the same old prejudices and boogeymen that the rich and powerful always turn to when they want to distract the less rich and less powerful from real issues like inequality and labor rights. And if history has taught us anything, it’s that it’s so much easier to blame “the Jeeeeews” in a comically loud stage whisper than it is to be bothered with the plight of anyone other than rich weirdos.

Not only is this nü-Elders of Zion bullshit dangerous and offensive and evil, but it’s just fucking lazy. If Vance gets absolutely trounced in his GOP Senate primary race, maybe he can get back to his Silicon Valley VC roots and invest some of his tens of millions of dollars in a new app to disrupt and innovate the world of antisemitic dog-whistling. Lord knows this shit is starting to get stale.