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The Alt-Right Clamor on LA's Left Coast—Marcy Winograd

The Alt-Right Clamor on LA's Left Coast—Marcy Winograd

Breitbart, Bannon, Horowitz and Pollak Circle the Trump Wagons

While it may seem as though President-elect Donald Trump's immigrant-bashing wall-worshipping America is a distant land from California, where Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the Presidential race by a 29% margin, Los Angeles, Brentwood and Santa Monica are home to the chief ideological defenders and promoters of Trump's most controversial cabinet choice yet: Steve Bannon, right-wing Breitbart News publisher, now Chief Strategist inside the White House.

With Breitbart.com, an international mouthpiece for anti-Muslim rhetoric headquartered in Brentwood, across from a dog park, the propaganda machine for what some call the "alt-right"—others the "neo-fascists"—churns out breezy attacks on feminism ("Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy') and ardent rebuttals to a growing chorus of "Rescind Bannon" on Twitter, Trump's favorite middle-of-the-night media megaphone.

On this past Tuesday, LA-based David Horowitz, former Ramparts editor, then "second thought" guru repudiating the Left, the guy who takes credit for plastering incendiary posters at the University of California, where specific Jewish students, critics of Israel, were accused of sympathizing with terrorists, headlined Breitbart.com with "Anti-Bannon Hysteria More Evidence the Left has Lost Touch with the American People."

In his defense of the former Goldman Sachs banker-turned Breitbart.com publisher, Horowitz writes, "I can’t think of anything stupider than the charge coming from all quarters of the left–including a headline in the pathetically wretched Huffington Post–that Bannon is an anti-Semite. The source? A one sentence claim from an angry ex-wife in divorce court no less, that Bannon didn’t want their kids to go to school (Archer) with Jews. I find that particularly amusing since Bannon wanted to make a film to celebrate this Jew’s life."

Horowitz ,"this Jew," is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, located in Sherman Oaks, just over the hill from Breitbart’s Brentwood headquarters. The mission statement on the center's website asserts the organization "combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm the country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror." This defense has taken the form of a concerted University of California campus counterattack on the popular global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to protest Israel for its occupation of Palestine and denial of Palestinian rights.

It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the 'alt-right' — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the 'people's house.

On Wednesday morning, Santa Monica-based Joel Pollak, a glib reporter and senior Breitbart editor boasting a reasonable mien, was featured on National Public Radio defending Bannon, his former boss, as a fair-minded fact-based publisher who had been unjustly smeared as a proponent of white nationalism and neo-fascism.

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One organization joining Democrats and the Southern Poverty Law Center denouncing Bannon's appointment is the Anti-Defamation League, whose CEO Jonathan Greenblatt says, "It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the 'alt-right' — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the 'people's house."

Nonsense, according to Pollak, who tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that Breitbart.com is not an alt-right publication, merely a journalistic endeavor to cover the alt-right movement. When Inskeep asks Pollak about the websites' article defending the confederate flag, a symbol of Southern slavery, Pollak deflects with "I don't agree with everything on Breitbart ... " and then attacks NPR for racist programming on Code Switch, a show Inskeep defends, saying the program "has explored race and ethnicity from a wide variety of viewpoints."

In shades of what's to come, Breitbart News on Tuesday headlined, "Trump/Bibi Vow; Will Strengthen Unique Alliance between Israel and USA." Such a headline unnerves supporters of a two-state solution, who fear a Trump White House will give tacit or even explicit approval to Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank while finally spelling the end to an independent Palestinian state and stepping up dislocation or ethnic purging of Palestinians both inside Israel proper and in the occupied territories.

In another noteworthy development, The Economist on Wednesday (11-16-16) reports Breitbart News is opening outlets in Germany where young men reminiscent of the Brown Shirts, Hitler's paramilitary arm, march with skinheads, align themselves with French "identitarians" and "describe immigration as nation death." As Pollak continues to deny Breitbart is an alt-right anti-immigrant web site, the Economist describes Breitbart's coverage of the European neo-fascists as "gushing."

With Horowitz and Pollak, ardent Los Angeles-area supporters of Israel's far right shilling for Bannon and his Brentwood-based Breitbart News, those who reside on the left coast, who walk their dogs in Brentwood, swim in the Pacific Ocean off Santa Monica, or sip lattes in Sherman Oaks must not be lulled into complacency or think that California is somehow divorced from Trump and his wink to white America.

No, we are in the belly of Bannon, at the intersection of the Westside, Jerusalem, European xenophobia, and Trumpland. Stay tuned and engaged.

Marcy Winograd

Marcy Winograd

(Full disclosure: David Horowitz has called the author a “communist” on Twitter, and Joel Pollack denounced her petition campaign to end pony rides at Santa Monica’s Main Street farmers market.)

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