On July 12 2023, a screenshot of a tweet addressing “Americans and Jews” was attributed to the far-right activist group Moms for Liberty. It was quickly shared to Reddit’s r/WhitePeopleTwitter and r/MarchAgainstNazis:
‘Americans and Jews’ on Reddit and Twitter
Both posts featured the same screenshot of a purported Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) tweet. Text on the screenshot purportedly quoted Jewish News Service editor Jonathan S. Tobin:
Moms for Liberty
“Americans and Jews of all political stripes need to think clearly about this crisis in the schools. Rolling back the damage being done to children by ideologues in the education system and the politicized teacher’s unions that have done so much harm in recent years isn’t about politics. It’s about the survival of our nation and the best interests of our children.” @jonathans_tobin
4:29 AM • 7/11/23 from Earth • 316K Views
The quote is indeed Tobin’s. The last paragraph of the editorial they quoted from (archived here) has since been quietly changed (previous version archived here) without acknowledgement, in a practice known as “stealth editing.” It now says:
All Americans including Jews of all political stripes need to think clearly about this crisis in the schools. Rolling back the damage being done to children by ideologues in the education system and the politicized teacher’s unions that have done so much harm in recent years isn’t about politics. It’s about the survival of our nation and the best interests of our children.
At the same time, the phrase “Americans and Jews” appeared on Twitter’s “Trending” list, returning a number of tweets discussing the phrase and the tweet. One account explained why the phrasing was offensive; another observed an unsettling aspect of the tweet:
A Brief, Recent History of Moms for Liberty
Our first mention of Moms for Liberty occurred in January 2022 amid controversy over a Tennessee school district’s decision to ban a children’s book about the Holocaust (Maus).
Moms for Liberty quickly became heavily associated with book bans across the United States. We next encountered the group’s name in an April 2022 fact check about the Brooklyn Public Library’s decision to grant access to teenagers in every state. On June 7 2022, Moms for Liberty were mentioned in an article about efforts to quell book banning initiatives.
On February 22 2023, Moms for Liberty came up in a fact check about another Tennessee book ban due to their opposition to a book about seahorses. In May 2023, Moms for Liberty’s book banning campaigns came under scrutiny as a form of obvious astroturfing.
On June 22 2023, Moms for Liberty moved beyond book bans when a chapter of the group in Indiana prominently placed a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler on the front page of one of their newsletters. On occasion, quotes attributed to individuals like Hitler were innocuously used without an attribution, and withdrawn with an apology when the source of the quote comes to light.
In this case, however, Moms for Liberty‘s Hamilton County chapter identified Hitler as the speaker. Concealing Hitler’s name and using the quote was an option, but they specifically added his name to their newsletter:
As shown above, the quote box read:
“He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future.” Adolf Hitler
Moms for Liberty’s ‘Americans and Jews’ Tweet is Real
In the second of the two tweets embedded above, @the_tweets_guy retweeted the tweet, quoted “Americans and Jews,” and attached a meme:
The attached meme used a template known as “Goose Chasing Guy,” featuring two panels and an inquisitive goose. On the first and second panels respectively, text read:
HOW MANY WORDS ARE IN THE LAST SENTENCE
WHY ARE THERE FOURTEEN WORDS IN THE LAST SENTENCE
It’s  about  the  survival  of  our  nation  and  the  best  interests  of  our  children .
This is potentially relevant because the numbers “14” and “88” are common neo-Nazi dog whistles, a form of often plausibly deniable signaling to fellow antisemites.
1488 is a combination of two popular white supremacist numeric symbols. The first symbol is 14, which is shorthand for the “14 Words” slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The second is 88, which stands for “Heil Hitler” (H being the 8th letter of the alphabet). Together, the numbers form a general endorsement of white supremacy and its beliefs. As such, they are ubiquitous within the white supremacist movement – as graffiti, in graphics and tattoos, even in screen names and e-mail addresses, such as [email protected]. Some white supremacists will even price racist merchandise, such as t-shirts or compact discs, for $14.88.
The symbol is most commonly written as 1488 or 14/88, but variations such as 14-88 or 8814 are also common.
In that fact check, we cited an instance in which the Department of Homeland Security referenced “fourteen words” in a memo, before contrasting those words with “the 14 words” for similarities:
On February 15 2018, another reference appeared from [the Department of Homeland Security, DHS]. This time, it was a fourteen-word-long title on a bizarre Department of Homeland Security memo that also bore a remarkable similarity to the neo-Nazi “Fourteen Words” trope that the number “14” references in such signaling….
In the ADL’s entry excerpted above, the 14 word “slogan” was transcribed as follows:
“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
In the tweet, Moms for Liberty “last sentence” read:
“It’s about the survival of our nation and the best interests of our children.”
Why ‘Americans and Jews’ is an Antisemitic Canard
In the other tweet linked above, @QueenMab87 referenced a “dual loyalty trope” aimed at Jewish Americans:
Yes “Americans and Jews” is super antisemitic. American Jews are American & dual loyalty tropes are a long standing antisemitic conspiracy. Please stop making us explain this every few months[.]
As a broader topic, “Dual loyalty” was the subject of a Wikipedia entry, which defined it as “loyalty to two separate interests that potentially conflict with each other, leading to a conflict of interest.” In a section labeled “Historical examples,” the third described antisemitism ranging back to “the first century”:
Jews who were part of the Jewish diaspora have been accused of dual loyalty by the Romans in the 1st century, by the French in the Dreyfus Affair in the late 19th century, and in Stalin-era Soviet Union in the 20th century. Before the creation of Israel, Jewish anti-Zionists used the accusation against other Jews. While today some use the phrase in a “neutral and non-pejorative fashion,” John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt say this use can obscure the fact that home nations and Israel may have sharp political differences. The 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq lead to such accusations against Jewish neoconservatives, vocal proponents of war against Iraq who were alleged by some critics of the Iraq War to have sought to undermine Arab nations hostile to Israel (e.g., by the term “Israel-firster”).
In the American Jewish Committee (AJC)’s “Translate Hate” glossary of antisemitic “tropes, words, and symbols,” “dual loyalty” had its own specific page, with a similar entry for accusations that Jewish-Americans were “clannish.” The “dual loyalty” page explained:
Dual loyalty is a bigoted trope used to cast Jews as the “other.” For example, it becomes antisemitic when an American Jew’s connection to Israel is scrutinized to the point of questioning his or her trustworthiness or loyalty to the United States. Dual loyalty accusations also occur on U.S. college campuses when Jewish students are asked to denounce the actions of the Israeli government in order to participate in progressive activities.
By accusing Jews of being disloyal citizens whose true allegiance is to Israel or a hidden Jewish agenda (see Globalist), antisemites sow distrust and spread harmful ideas—like the belief that Jews are a traitorous “fifth column,” meaning they are undermining their country from within. The allegation of dual loyalty can also be aimed at non-Jews for what antisemites see as being “excessively loyal to Israel,” a criticism rarely leveled against friends and supporters of other countries.
For centuries, these antisemitic accusations of disloyalty have led to the harassment, marginalization, oppression, and murder of Jewish people.
In other words, “Americans and Jews” inherently quantifies Jewish Americans apart from “Americans,” or as “the other.” On November 27 2018, the ADL published “Straight Talk on the Charge of Jewish Disloyalty,” in response to disgraced former U.S. President Donald Trump’s invocation of the trope in then-recent remarks.
It explained how the concept of “dual loyalty” was one of the most persistent forms of antisemitic thought in the United States:
… Sadly, the dual loyalty insult remains among the most widely held anti-Semitic slurs around the world. In ADL’s 2015 poll on anti-Semitic attitudes, more than 30 percent of the American public asserted that Jews “are more loyal to Israel than to America.” That finding has remained virtually unchanged since ADL started polling on this question since 1964, even as anti-Semitic attitudes overall in the U.S. have fallen dramatically.
But the observation that Israel is important to many American Jews becomes anti-Semitic when it is used to impugn Jewish loyalty or trustworthiness. After all, a connection with the state of Israel can mean any numbers of things from the ideological, to the religious, to the prosaic: from a deep commitment to Jewish nationhood and self-determination after millennia of persecution, to ties with family and friends who may live there; an appreciation for the history of Jewish life in the region dating back millennia; connections with Israeli schools or the flowering of its unique religious subcultures; an appreciation for Israeli culture or even its food. Many of these connections between American Jews and Israel are exactly the types of connections that other ethnic groups in the United States have with their ancestral cultures and countries. To single out American Jews, with their complex and varied sets of relationships with Israel, its culture and society, and to then suggest that they should not be trusted citizens, patriots, or progressives, is a perpetuation of the anti-Semitic disloyalty charge that Jews have suffered from across the centuries. It is incumbent on people of good will to intervene when the charge of disloyalty is leveled today no matter who is making the claim.
In August 2019, the New York Times published “The Toxic Back Story to the Charge That Jews Have a Dual Loyalty,” in response to Trump’s reiteration of the trope in a different context. It began:
When President Trump said [in August 2019] that American Jews who chose to vote for Democrats were being disloyal, he was flirting with a notion that has fueled anti-Semitism for generations and has been at the root of some of the most brutal violence inflicted upon Jews in their history.
The accusation that Jews have a “dual loyalty” — that they are not to be trusted because their true allegiance is to their religion, rather than to the country in which they live — dates back thousands of years. It animated the Nazis in 1930s Germany, when they accused Jewish people of being traitors and used charges of disloyalty to justify their arrests, persecutions and mass killings.
After the founding of Israel, the charge was that Jews were more loyal to Israel, the Jewish state, than to their own countries. The smear persists in various forms to this day: It is a common refrain of white supremacists who claim there is a secret plot orchestrated by Jews to replace white people through mass migration and racial integration.
In a subsection labeled “Trump Stirs the Pot,” the Times referenced a third instance of Trump referencing “dual loyalty”:
[August 2019] was not the first time that Mr. Trump has appeared to question Jews’ loyalties. This past spring [of 2019], speaking to American Jews at an event sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, he referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as “your prime minister.”
On February 23 2023, WorldJewishCongress.org [WJC] published “Antisemitism defined: Allegations of Dual loyalty,” addressing a surge of online antisemitism in 2020 onward:
“In its most extreme form, the charge of dual loyalty amounts to an accusation of treason,” said Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld.
Two reports released by the WJC in November 2020 found that content featuring harmful conspiracy myths targeting Jews has been increasing online and that the once United States-centric movement QAnon has spread to Europe as well. Across social media platforms, the use of [three specific anti-Semitic slurs] have increased.
Since the initial spread of the coronavirus in March 2020, the reports demonstrate that there has been an acute rise in online antisemitism, often–but not exclusively–linked to the pandemic, as many more activities moved into the digital sphere.
Screenshots of a July 11 2023 Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) tweet addressing “Americans and Jews” spread virally across social media platforms. The tweet was real (not doctored or created as a joke), although the original editorial they quoted was subsequently quietly edited to say “Americans including Jews.”At least one response asked why the last sentence consisted of “14 words.” The tweet’s final sentence indeed contained 14 words, closely echoing the well-known neo-Nazi “14 words slogan.”