Anti-Trans, Anti-Semitism

Falling under the rubric of Reactionary Bio-Politics, a lot of this is flying online under the radar, both the discourse of transphobic activism and critical writing pushing back against it. If any of this is to be believed, there are strong links there, online and then out in the actual world, between trans-phobic activism, so-called Gender Critical feminism, Deep Green Resistance, Nazi white nationalism, and anti-Semitism. They are all anti-modern and anti-technology and anti-capitalist in their ideological orientation, obsessed by the threat of industrial cabals specializing in bio-tech, and by the threat posed especially to children by bio-tech and so-called transhumanism. Transhumanism refers to the notion that human beings are advancing beyond the material basis in bodies. The mutation of transhumanism on view here is decidedly dystopian.

That Jews tend to figure regularly in conspiracy theory is by now old news. Also old news is the figuration of modern Jews around gender and homosexuality. Jews are the anti-humanist figure par excellence in the western tradition. And the figure of perversion. Anti-Semitism speaks to the organization and weaponization of the fear people have of difference, transgression and transformation. You can read about the new mutation that is the grafting together of transphobia and anti-Semitism here in this article by Ben Lorber and Heron Greene Smith, and here at the twitter account GCAntisemitism. This, ironically, makes the anti-Semitic point, which is that Jews do actually have a stake in combatting trans-phobia. Peterson’s thread shows in particular how the Holocaust and white genocide looms over the discourse.

Recently mainstreamed at Tablet Magazine, Bilek is a go-to figure in transphobic Gender Critical feminism. You can read more about her here in this long Twitter thread. The creator of this thread, Christa Peterson, notes in particular this article here by Bilek at The Federalist. Another example of the dystopian transhumanism is the wretched piece published by Bilek at Tablet Magazine; you can find screenshots here.

It is no little irony, itself a feature of digital culture, that these kinds of hybrid anti-technological formations are themselves technological, new media products, They are the creation of the very thing feared most by the purveyors of the discourse. These formations generate first online as fringe phenomena before they make their appearance in more “normal” online digital platforms, mainstream media, the actual world of culture and politics, and into open violence against gay, queer, and trans people as per this report here.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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