Now that writer is being pilloried from all corners of the political spectrum.
In the early 20th century, Jews were a common target of slander, especially for nationalists and anti-communists, who suggested they were naturally traitors to their countries. After the Soviet Union was formed, that theory took on the form of so-called "Judeo-Bolshevism," the idea that Jews were secretly communists in the employ of Moscow. Some of the worst atrocities of the modern era, namely the systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their allies, hinged on this portrayal of Jews as servants of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
Why Washington Post contributing columnist Isaac Stone Fish felt the need to revive that trope in 2019 is indeed puzzling — most all because Fish himself is Jewish.
But it seems no good chauvinist trope goes wasted in times of national crisis, and with Moscow once again Bad Guy Number One in the halls of American power (and the editorial rooms of the Post), the old tropes are the best ones, it seems.
Has anyone written an article comparing the American Jews who support Moscow and Putin today with those who supported Stalin in the 1930s?— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) January 16, 2019
Of course, he never explained why he suspected such; he just referenced "The useful idiots of our generation compared with the NYC-based former shtetlnicks who saw Stalin as a savior," adding, "Certainly not saying that it is only Jews, by any means — just remarking on their prevalence in this space."
The useful idiots of our generation compared with the NYC-based former shtetlnicks who saw Stalin as a savior.— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) January 16, 2019
Certainly not saying that it is only Jews, by any means — just remarking on their prevalence in this space.— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) January 16, 2019
However, it was later revealed that Fish had made these comments immediately after an argument with Jewish RT reporter Dan Cohen about claims Fish made in a previous article about China having one million Uighurs in internment camps. Fish responded by challenging Cohen's Jewish credentials, effectively suggesting Cohen didn't know how to identify a new Holocaust in motion when he saw it, and then Fish made the above subtweet, never mentioning Cohen or the spat, which had nothing to do with Russia or Putin anyway, aside from that Cohen works for RT.
It’s worth pointing out that @isaacstonefish’s anti-semitic outburst was a reference to me (an RT reporter) & came after I questioned his unverified Radio Free Asia-sourced claim that China’s Uighur re-education camps are analogous to the Nazi genocide https://t.co/YwZb54IlEL— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) January 18, 2019
Observers were quick to point out that big accusations demand big evidence. If there are, indeed, a "prevalence" of US Jews siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin in some given debate (and why, exactly, is that something that needs to be investigated?), then it shouldn't be too difficult to name them.
That you're Jewish doesn't preclude you from spreading Nazi themes, which is exactly what you're doing. All kinds of people get accused of being sympathetic to Moscow; why would you frame it as "Jews"???? Do you have a list somewhere of these treasonous Jews? Why not name them?— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 18, 2019
Some readers thought pointing out the comparison in rhetoric was timely, including a headline and cover image by noted neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer about progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also Jewish (although, as far as we know, not demonstrably pro-Russia).
Here's a cool image from daily stormer you can use as a graphic for your story. Can't wait to read it! pic.twitter.com/9dRuvdvblZ— Erik Sperling (@ErikSperling) January 18, 2019
Others felt it necessary to give Fish a history refresher — again ironic, since he calls US jews modern day "shtetlniks," who were one of the primary victims of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a propaganda pamphlet distributed in the early 20th century that alleged a secret Jewish world order.
So, these elders of Zion, you are saying they operate according to a set of secret protocols you have uncovered?— Uncanny Silicone Valley (@dunkrug) January 17, 2019
Another reader noted the not-so-subtle accusation of disloyalty, sometimes expressed as a charge of being a "fifth column" of an invading army, i.e. the locals who rise up and side with the invaders.
Yeah I think I’ve read at least five columns about it— Dirty Ears Bill (@DirtyEarsBill_) January 18, 2019
Others just let Bernie do the talking for them.