The US online hard-right isn’t exactly known as the friendliest place for Jews. It’s the place where antisemitic conspiracies thrive and cries of ‘Jews will not replace us’ resound. It’s where the Pittsburgh and Poway synagogue shooters (and many more besides) not only got their start and inspiration, but also found their base of support and cheering audience. It’s the source, according to most Jews, of the most threatening antisemitic movement today.
And yet, since October 7, a micro-community of what I’m calling “Bronze Age Zionists” has emerged with greater visibility on sites like Twitter and Telegram, Discord and TikTok, determined to put a Jewish, and militant Zionist spin on the ‘dissident Right’ (formerly known as the alt-right). A typical avatar features a Groyper frog decked out in an Israeli flag hoodie, and holding a rifle, accompanied by a quote attributed to Zionist fascist leader Meir Kahane:
Love has its place, as does hate.
Peace has its place, as does war.
Mercy has its place, as do cruelty and revenge.
They go by usernames like ‘Kahane Disciple’ and ‘Kahanist Reactionary’; ‘HyperboreanJewDominance’ and ‘Full Jewish Resistance’; ‘goyim_hunter’ and ‘YehudiReaction.’ Their bios describe themselves as ‘Paleocon Zionist,’ ‘suburban Jewish neoreactionary,’ ‘Israel for Jews, Europe for indigenous Europeans,’ ‘unironically muscular Jew,’ and ‘American Revanchism and Jewish Power.’
Avatars of Bronze Age Zionist social media accounts.
To be sure, their themes of chauvinist triumphalism aren’t so different from what we’re hearing from Israeli government ministers or Christian Zionist leaders. But unlike Benjamin Netanyahu or John Hagee, Bronze Age Zionists swim alongside (and sometimes argue with) literal neo-Nazis in the fetid, irony-drenched swamps of ultra-reactionary internet subculture. So what are nice Jewish boys like these doing on 4chan? Answering this question might offer insight, not only into the nature of contemporary Zionism but into the broader far-right.
Mimicking Bronze Age Pervert, the fascist manosphere author from whom I’ve forged their namesake, Bronze Age Zionists valorize the aesthetics of Jewish muscle, strength, virility, and warrior ethos with deliberately extravagant flair. Memes from this ecosystem show ripped, White Hebrew warriors roaring alongside a lion; wooing Roman women in some ancient marketplace; hanging their enemies, whether Nazi, Palestinian or leftist; or bullying a slovenly, pink-haired ‘soy boy’—a meme caricaturing liberal men as emasculated by consumer culture. By transforming themselves into muscle-Jews, these and other memes signal, they’ve become the Alphas of Jewish history.
‘Muscle-Jew’ images posted by Bronze Age Zionist social media accounts.
This, anyway, is the ethos of 21st-century muskeljudentum or ‘muscular Judaism,’ as early Zionist theorist Max Nordau put it. And, in the wake of the humiliation of October 7, it comes laced with stone-cold retribution and an urgent need to reclaim masculine honor, glory, and pride. They share quotes from Netanyahu like “the weak crumble, are slaughtered and erased from history while the strong, for good or ill, survive.” Or they celebrate Israel as “a true Nietszchean country,” as one Bronze Age Zionist put it during Israel’s assault on Gaza in December, before indulging in a bit of Proud Boys-esque chest-thumping. “Leftoids can’t comprehend the strong willed in a world of weak men. They hate winners because they are LOSERS.”
Much like Israel’s assault itself, the cruelty is the point. But amidst the unbridled Islamophobia, and celebration of “unfathomably based” Israeli soldiers mocking Gazans or issuing exterminationist orders in viral videos from the front lines, one detects the frenzied desperation of a cornered animal, lashing out at any target close at hand.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the seething contempt reserved for Jewish progressives, whom Bronze Age Zionists sometimes refer to as “Quislingsteins” or “shtetlibs.” The former term evokes an uber-nationalist siege mentality, with its obsessive contempt for perceived ‘traitors’ and fifth columnists. The latter castigates liberal Jews in the weak, defenseless and submissive mold of that imagined old-country shtetl of their East-European ancestors—the ‘ghetto Jew’ which, through guns, brawn and steel, these muscle-Jews boast of having willfully overcome.
Their disdain for liberal co-religionists leads them to embrace core themes of White nationalist antisemitism. Like others on the dissident Right, they castigate liberal diaspora Jews for supposedly engineering mass migration, LGBTQ rights, racial justice movements, and other progressive causes in order to undermine White, Western civilization. In mid-October, The Hebrew Conservative wrote:
Jewish organizations, like a faithless and atheistic version of the Maharal of Prague, have contributed to the creation of a golem—the abomination of BLM and mass immigration.
And now, through attacks, propaganda, violence, and chaos [referring to the rise in antisemitism since October 7], the golem is rising against its creators…face it, leftist Jews, your resentment towards historic [White Christian] America, or at best your starry-eyed idiotic utopianism, has unleashed mischief upon both America and America’s Jews. Time to fall on your knees and repent.
Another blogger—writing in his ‘Post-Kahanism’ Substack, which seeks to revitalize the “sweeping and noble” goals of the Kahanist movement for the 21st-century—rails against liberal Jewish activists as a “nefarious…cabal,” a “squid” with “tentacles” sapping lifeblood from “the very vital organs of Israeli government and society”—an intentional reworking of classic antisemitic tropes.
In sharp contrast to “shtetlibs,” Bronze Age Zionists position themselves as the ‘good Jews’ who’ve rejected subversive Jewish wickedness, and proven their nationalist bona fides to their fellow-travelers on the Right. “I am Jewish and I proudly support: Ethnonationalism; traditionalism; Theocracy; Authoritarianism; McCarthyism,” proclaimed an account named ‘Jewish nationalist’ in December. “None of these ideas come into conflict with Judaism, and if anything it encourages these ideas.”
They clearly clamor for inclusion in the dissident Right fold. They speak their language, share their memes, repeat their slurs, and embrace their culture war crusades. They circulate with pride videos of rabbis and Jewish academics delivering anti-immigrant speeches at conferences of American Renaissance, a White nationalist organization which has welcomed Jews (though not without controversy). One image shows Israeli and Confederate soldiers bound in ‘one struggle,’ while another caricatures a friendly embrace between a Jew and a White power activist.
Memes illustrating coalitional unity between Jewish and other radical Right factions.
They call on other dissident Rightists, not only to welcome them into the fold, but to lend active support to Israel’s assault on Gaza. In their view, Israel is demonstrating that “ferocious kind of sovereignty,” as The Hebrew Conservative put it, that the West needs to emulate if it wants to get serious about, as the White supremacist ‘14 Words’ slogan puts it, “secur[ing] the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
“If we are willing to protect our posterity in America and Europe, we must indeed steel ourselves,” The Hebrew Conservative wrote in the dissident Right journal The Asylum, portraying large, multiracial ceasefire demonstrations in cities across the West as embodying the demographic threat to White survival. “We need to cultivate an appropriate mindset. Israel is now the great rehearsal for this. We will eventually need to do precisely what Israel is trying to do.”
And yet, to the chagrin of Bronze Age Zionists like The Hebrew Conservative, many on the dissident Right don’t return the embrace:
Instead of a manly sentiment of ‘Finish them off no matter what!’ we are mostly welcome to a menu of bizarre irony. ‘Oh, this is not our struggle’ (as if anybody was asked to take up arms), ‘But what about our own border?’ (as if two causes cannot be supported, at least morally, at the same time), ‘LOL Ben Shapiro takes the Hitl0r pill!’ (as if the strongest motivation among our crowd is to not be Ben Shapiro). You know what I mean.
What he ‘means’ is that strong currents of antisemitism, combined with America First isolationism, preclude large portions of the dissident Right from enthusiastically supporting Israeli nationalism and its assault on Gaza. Since the assault began, for example, the rabidly antisemitic Groypers have obsessively denigrated Bronze Age Zionists for being, well, Jews.
Calling them “3rd wave neocons” in October, Groyper leader Nick Fuentes claimed “Zionist Jews are extremely invested in Far Right W[hite]N[ationalism]’s identifying with Israel…they need to direct the emergent illiberal pro-white American Right to see analogy between Israelis vs Pal’s and Whites vs Browns…[to] get people OFF the subject of Zionism and world Jewry.”
The Groypers, along with White nationalist groups like National Justice Party, have instead attempted to flank the Palestine solidarity movement, critiquing right-wing Israel supporters as handmaidens of a Jewish-Zionist world conspiracy. Even Richard Spencer, who called himself a “White Zionist” during an Israeli television interview after 2017’s Unite the Right rally, recently ended a bitter years-long feud with Nick Fuentes to invite him on his livestream, where they expressed mutual disdain for Israel’s onslaught.
Other dissident Right currents acknowledge an affinity with Israeli ethnonationalism, but remain geopolitically ambivalent, maintaining a cool distance from the neoconservatives, Christian Zionists, and GOP leaders clamoring for Middle East intervention. “[Israel is a] state founded for the sake of racial survival,” Bronze Age Pervert wrote approvingly in 2019. “Its spiritual foundation and reason for existence is national socialist through and through.”
He also wrote, however, that “in principle, Western nationalists should be indifferent maybe to Israel…It hardly matters to me if Israelis are ‘based nationalists’ in their own country (they are not). Their cousins in the West…are possibly the most effective anti-nationalist faction of any, phenomenally aggressive and very well organized.” Jews on the dissident Right, in his view, should “get your cousins,” as racial justice activists have put it (albeit in a very different context)—in other words, they should focus on countering liberal Jewish influence in the West, rather than rallying other Rightists to support Israeli ethnonationalism.
This all leaves Bronze Age Zionists in an awkward position. Faced with ambivalent acceptance at best and unbridled bigotry at worst, some adopt a posture of ironic disdain towards their interlocutors—yet the barely-concealed desire for intimacy persists.
One telling meme features the iconic 1818 painting “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich, which was once admired by Nazi leaders for its ubermensch overtones. “Wanderer” shows a solitary White man, dressed in 19th-century aristocratic garb, poised atop a jagged rock face, surveying the crashing, foggy seas below. In meme form, it’s especially common in White nationalist circles, having graced the cover of movement academic Jared Taylor’s book White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century and, for a time, serving as the banner image of Richard Spencer’s Radix website.
In the Bronze Age Zionist meme, the skies above the White Wanderer proclaim ‘treat the goyim like cattle,’ with ‘Talmud’ written on the rockface below. On one level, the meme mocks the antisemitic lie, regularly circulated by the 4chan crowd, that the Talmud commands Jews to treat non-Jews like cattle (the general citation ‘Talmud’ here adds to the in-joke, since anyone with a cursory knowledge of rabbinic tradition understands that, since the Talmud is a vast collection of commentary, a real citation needs to be more specific).
Yet the meme simultaneously reclaims this imaginary directive as a point of pride, suggesting, with a thin veneer of irony, that rather than combat this antisemitic canard, the Jewish ubermensch should embrace it by declaring, in effect, that they’re more supremacist even than their critics.
Other memes enact a similar co-optation of hard-right messaging. ‘Who’s Really Behind (((Italian Fascism?)))’, for example, repurposes the antisemitic propaganda spread by groups like Goyim Defense League—which claims to uncover the secret Jewish influence behind liberal causes like the pro-choice movement and LGBTQ rights—to proffer the sly rebuke that Jews can be better fascists, perhaps, than the fascists themselves.
Another repurposes a grotesque alt-right meme in which a Jewish spider, a common antisemitic trope, lurks behind a disfigured horde of advancing protesters representing Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ equality, anarchism and other causes, while in the foreground a pair of knights, representing Crusading Christendom and Islamic fundamentalism, forge an unlikely traditionalist alliance to face the onslaught.
The Bronze Age Zionist meme replaces the spider with Nick Fuentes, the Christian and Muslim knights with a ‘traditionalist’ Haredi Jew and an ostensibly more ‘modernized’ Zionist Jew—and most strikingly, places a neo-Nazi sonnenrad symbol, with a Star of David in its center, atop the rays of sunlight bursting through the stormy clouds. This, presumably, is a ‘great replacement’ of an entirely different sort: in a world where White nationalists have joined ranks with the Left, the meme proclaims (not without some irony) that pro-Israel Jews are the new radical Right vanguard, the true inheritors of the sonnenrad and its righteous mission.
Original meme (left), and Bronze Age Zionist inversion (right)
To be sure, Bronze Age Zionists do not represent a mass Jewish movement in the Anglo world. The accounts surveyed here are perhaps a few dozen in total, many with only a few thousand followers or less. The majority of English-speaking Jews would recoil at their openly supremacist views, and find the prospect of a Magen David-Sonnenrad alliance despicable and revolting.
At the same time, these accounts reflect, in extreme form, broader trends in the political landscape. “Before Oct 7th, I was an average moderate conservative,” an account named “Kahane Disciple” explained. “Oct 7th changed everything. We saw what people really thought, and that’s when I pulled Kahane down from my book shelf.”
In their thirst for vengeance and dominance, they channel the id of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza as its terrible death toll continues to rise. Right-wing Israeli and American Jewish right-wing leaders eschew 4chan for a larger political stage—but they too seek alliances with White Christian nationalist leaders, denigrate liberal Jews, and celebrate an ethos of muscular Judaism. They have no need for a niche internet subculture, because they possess a state apparatus, and aligned institutions to propagate their ideology.
Far from a lily-White Christian monolith, today’s global Right is multiracial and multifaith, with plenty of room in its strategically broad coalition for unlikely bedfellows. Across the MAGA orbit, many Jews are leaders and members of movements like National Conservatism, and they often secure acceptance by disavowing or even demonizing their liberal co-religionists. Nor is this the first time, even, that Jews have sought acceptance in the darkest dens of the alt-right, embracing its antisemitic conspiracy theories in the process.
Bronze Age Zionists offer one window into the radicalizing Jewish Right in an era of dizzying political uncertainty. “To those who feel oppressed, victimized or threatened, hatred is a noble emotion,” writes Jewish Studies scholar Derek Penslar in Zionism: An Emotional State. “Hatred provides a sense of purpose, and it compensates for perceived wrongs by instilling a yearning for revenge. Hatred elevates the humiliated and dignifies the dishonored.” Bronze Age Zionists hold up a mirror to our twisted times, a warning of dangerous paths already taken, and where they might lead.