White Nationalist Richard Spencer Backs Israel's Contentious Nation-state Law

In a series of tweets, Spencer writes of his admiration for the law, which confers the right to national self-determination in Israel to the Jewish people alone, and says Jews are 'showing a path forward for Europeans'

Richard Spencer speaking in Texas
Spencer Selfidge/Reuters

Amid the controversy over the Israel's Jewish nation-state law, which the Knesset passed last week, the legislation has now received support from an American white nationalist leader – Richard Spencer.

"I have great admiration for Israel's nation-state law. Jews are, once again, at the vanguard, rethinking politics and sovereignty for the future, showing a path forward for Europeans," Spencer tweeted over the weekend.

The law, which has quasi-constitutional status, defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people." The law also says that the state views "the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation."

>> Israel's nation-state law: Everything you need to know

Among the aspects of the law that have raised the ire of its critics is the fact that there is no reference to equality or democratic values in the legislation. It defines Hebrew as the country's only official language, relegating Arabic to "special status."

"The criticism of the nation-state law has mainly taken the form of scolding Israel for not 'balancing democracy with its identity as a Jewish state,' Spencer tweeted. "This is simply wrong." And he added: "The liberal media's critique of the nation-state law as 'undemocratic' reveals their own mendaciousness. When they say 'democratic,' they don't actually mean rule by the people; they mean a liberal, multicultural social order."

Last summer, Spencer told Channel 2 television that Israel should respect someone like him. He called himself a "white Zionist," saying that he wants a homeland for whites. "I care about my people. I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you [Jews] want a secure homeland in Israel.” Asked about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which had taken place just prior to the interview, and at which marchers shouted "Jews will not replace us," Spencer told Channel 2: "Jews are vastly over-represented in what you could call ‘the establishment,’ that is, Ivy League educated people who really determine policy, and white people are being dispossessed from this country."

Last fall at the University of Florida, Spencer, whose twitter account identifies him as co-editor of altright.com, made reference to Israel as an example of an “ethno-state” of the kind that he aspires to create in the United States.