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Israeli Philosophy Journal Scolded for ‘Legitimizing’ Notorious White Supremacist by Publishing Article on ‘Jewish Influence’

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Kevin MacDonald speaks at a 2013 event for the white nationalist American Freedom Party. Photo: American Freedom Party Conference 2013 / YouTube screenshot / Creative Commons

An Israeli academic journal stirred controversy this week after its publication of a paper on “Jewish influence” by notorious white supremacist Kevin MacDonald, prompting the resignation of its associate editor and a condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

On Sunday, the peer-reviewed Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel journal published the essay by MacDonald, a retired California State University-Long Beach professor and a virulently antisemitic figure influential in the US white supremacist movement.

In “The ‘Default Hypothesis’ Fails to Explain Jewish Influence,” MacDonald responded to a previous article in the journal by researcher Nathan Cofnas, which critiqued and engaged with MacDonald’s earlier work on what he described as the “anti-Jewish narrative.”

In a lengthy piece defending his earlier antisemitic work, MacDonald called Cofnas’ assessment of Jewish “influence” on US history “inadequate,” arguing among other things that “Jews should be allowed to join [pro-white] movements if they acknowledge the role and the power of the Jewish community in transforming America contrary to white interests and direct their efforts at converting the Jewish community to pro-white advocacy.”

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According to a 2013 ADL report, MacDonald attained celebrity status in white nationalist circles for a series of books arguing that Jewish support for everything from neoconservatism to multiculturalism is part of an anti-white “group evolutionary strategy,” to which antisemitism is a “rational” response. In 2010, MacDonald became a director of the American Freedom Party (AFP), a white supremacist political party whose aim is “to restore and preserve the legitimacy of White identity, White heritage, and expressions of white interests.”

The report’s author, ADL Center on Extremism Senior Research Fellow Marilyn Mayo, told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that MacDonald’s body of work was “blatantly antisemitic,” and said that publishing his article was “not a mistake that can just be shirked off.”

“I think it’s disappointing that a journal based in Israel would publish the work of an antisemite,” Mayo said. “Promoting the work of an antisemite in an academic journal legitimizes it.”

“It’s not about censorship, but looking at what someone is saying and whether you’re validating views that are antisemitic or racist or promoting ideas that have proven to be conspiratorial and not true,” she continued.  “Of course, in academia there is understandably a drive to present all different kinds of views, and that’s understandable — but it is also incumbent upon institutions and journals to vet what’s put out there or put it in context.”

Moti Mizrahi, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Florida Institute of Technology, announced on Monday that he had resigned “effective immediately” as Associate Editor of Philosophia. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the philosophical community in these roles for 4 years. I’m very grateful for the editors, authors, and reviewers I’ve worked with over the years,” he tweeted.

Mizrahi told The Algemeiner by email on Monday that he “was not involved whatsoever in the editorial decision-making concerning the article in question,” and that Philosophia editor-in chief Asa Kasher “handled the paper in question from submission to publication.”

Kasher, a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University, did not return an Algemeiner request for comment. On Monday, he told the Daily Nous — a news website serving the philosophy profession, which first reported the publication of MacDonald’s article — that while MacDonald’s and Cofnas’ papers had been scrutinized before publication, it was a “mistake” to publish them.

Kasher said he was “not aware of the general background of the debate,” according to the Daily Nous, and said that he is “sorry for treating the discussion as an ordinary philosophical debate.”

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