Thursday, August 22, 2019


BuzzFeed tells us that the Justice Department has gone full-on anti-Semitic:
An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,” according to a letter sent by an immigration judges union and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

According to the National Association of Immigration Judges, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a link to a blog post from VDare, a white nationalist website, in its morning news briefing earlier this week that included anti-Semitic attacks on judges....

A letter Thursday from union chief Ashley Tabaddor to James McHenry, the director of the Justice Department’s EOIR, said the link to the VDare post angered many judges.

“The post features links and content that directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs and the label ‘Kritarch.’ The reference to Kritarch in a negative tone is deeply offensive and Anti-Semitic,” wrote Tabaddor. The VDare post includes pictures of judges with the term “kritarch” preceding their names.

Tabaddor said the term kritarchy is a reference to ancient Israel during a time of rule by a system of judges.

“VDare’s use of the term in a pejorative manner casts Jewish history in a negative light as an Anti-Semitic trope of Jews seeking power and control,” she wrote.
The BuzzFeed story doesn't link the post, but here it is. It's called "Bill Barr Moving to Control the Immigration 'Judges' by Decertifying Their Union." It's written under the pseudonym Federale.

But the term "kritarch" doesn't seem to be used in an anti-Semitic way. There's a reference to "the politicized kritarchs of the EOIR." Two judges are referred to with the title "Kritarch." One is Ashley Tabaddor, who's quoted above. The other is a fellow office in her union, Amiena Khan.

But neither of these judges appears to be Jewish. Tabaddor is described in this NPR story as an Iranian-American (full name: Afsaneh Ashley Tabador). As far as I can tell, Amiena is a name from the Muslim world.

Right-wing ranters love obscure words and in-group shibboleths -- a tendency that reaches absurd levels on Reddit and the chans. "Kritarch" seems to be a deeply obscure insult, but I see it being applied by right-qingers not to Jews primarily, but to judges who don't hate immigrants. Here's another VDare post by Federale with a reference to "The notorious Chinese kritarch, Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California." (Gee ruled against Jeff Sessions in an immigration case.) Here's a post at the New American by R. Cort Kirkwood (who for all I know may be Federale) that refers to Judge Haywood Gilliam of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as "Kritarch Gilliam" (he blocked spending for President Trump's wall). Gilliam is African-American.

There's no question that VDare is racist -- here's the Southern Poverty Law Center's write-up. A sidebar next to the post in question lists "popular tags," which include "Anti-White Hate Crimes," "Minority Occupation Government," "Immigrant Mass Murder," and "Birthright Citizenship Reform."

It's appalling that the Justice Department would link to anything at the site. But the post doesn't seem to attack any of the targeted judges in a specifically anti-Semitic way.

On the other hand, it does refer unfavorably to a New York Times story with the word "#Lugenpresse" -- "lying press," a term used by the Nazis in reference to anti-Nazi journalism. The Times story in question is "Trump Administration Moves to Decertify Outspoken Immigration Judges’ Union" by Christina Goldbaum. Referring to a woman named Goldbaum as a member of the Lugenpresse? That's over the line.


UPDATE: Yastreblyansky notes that the EOIR newsletter has been peddling wingnut nonsense for a while now.

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