Andy Ngo Says Antifa, Far Left, Are As Violent as White Nationalism, Far Right. Here's Why I Disagree | OPINION

Editor's note, 1/19; 11:30 p.m.: Because the author feared for his safety for the reasons described below, Newsweek took the precaution of publishing his essay anonymously on the understanding that his identity would be shielded as long as the threat existed. After the arrest and filing of federal charges against John William Kirby Kelley, a member of a "swatting" group with ties to white supremacists, who targeted the author and his family, Naveed Jamali, now a Newsweek editor at large, announced that he was the author of this essay and we have updated the byline accordingly.

I am writing this in response to Andy Ngo's recent opinion piece, "Antifa's Deadly Year Shows the Extremism on the Far Left" in Newsweek. There is a larger effort going on to portray parity between Antifa and other extreme left-wing groups and violent white nationalists and Nazis groups. Any attempt to normalize the right by seeking to portray their violence as equal to that of the extreme left is not only very upsetting, it is utterly false.

proud boys
A person wears a hat of US far-right men's organisation Proud Boys as Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson speaks during a campaign rally Portland, Oregon, August 4, 2018. Dozens of Antifa and far-right protesters clashed outside a bar in Portland during after the peaceful May Day rallies. THOMAS PATTERSON/AFP/Getty Images

How do I know? I, and my entire family are currently listed on a white nationalist target list, for no other reason than I am a public person who happens to be a Democrat and a person of color. The ordeal of finding myself in the crosshairs of white nationalists has been so terrifying, in fact, that I am publishing this response anonymously for fear of reprisal.

While I have chosen to remain anonymous, it is important to tell you a few things about myself. First, I am not a member of Antifa nor have I ever participated in any of their events nor do I support them. I have no connection to extreme left politics, anymore then I do to the extreme right. I have friends and colleagues who are Republican and conservative, and while I am very much against Donald Trump, I am viewed by my colleagues as a moderate.

So how did I find myself on a white nationalist target list? My transgression was voicing support on Twitter for banning a white nationalist from a social media platform. That's it. Within 24 hours, I was notified that my information and that of my spouse, our minor children, my parents and siblings were listed on a target web site associated with the likes of Atomwaffen. Not only was being on the list shocking and resulted in filing police reports, over the last year, I have watched as others on the list, such as the CEO of Instagram and journalists, have been targeted. It has been months of waiting and praying that I would not be next. As a result, I am so terrified that even today, I do not wish to use my name for a very real fear of reprisal by groups such as the Proud Boys.

What I am describing is the textbook definition of terrorism. By posting a target list, the goal is to spread fear and it has a chilling impact on innocent people who simply are the "wrong" gender, ethnicity, or any other characteristic they deem as a threat to white nationalism. But there is also another move afoot: the normalization of white nationalism. Under Trump, that normalization has taken a frightening turn, and has even entered the White House with Stephen Miller, who is behind the Muslim ban and the family separation policy.

At the core of white nationalism is the attempt to say that its goal is neither racist nor bigoted, rather, that it celebrates white pride. Such a claim is absurd. Nonetheless, there are those who have given credibility to and tried to legitimize the idea that white nationalism is not the same thing as white supremacy. These people give white nationalists and those who support the movement plausible deniability that they are, in fact, not supporting hate.

Over the last year journalists, immigrants, minorities, have all been killed by people spouting white nationalist ideology. While any violence is unacceptable, it's not accurate to say that Antifa or the extreme left is equally responsible for violence.

It isn't just me who is saying that white nationalism is serious domestic threat, it is the American Defense League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and even the FBI. Legitimizing white nationalism, by extension, condones white supremacy and hate.

The opinions expressed in this essay are the author's own.