The Jerusalem Post

The real threats of modern antisemiti­sm

- • By DAVID M. WEINBERG The writer is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, was founding coordinato­r of the Israeli government’s Global Forum Against Antisemiti­sm, under the leadership of Natan Sharansky in the Prime Ministe

Jews gathered this week to fight antisemiti­sm in two locations, and the very different results are telling. In Jerusalem, several hundred NGO representa­tives convened for the tenth Global Forum for Combating Antisemiti­sm, under the auspices this year of the Israeli ministries of foreign and diaspora affairs. The discussion of strategies to turn back the current tsunami of blended antisemiti­c and anti-Zionist expression were deep and fruitful.

In Washington, one hundred American Jewish organizati­ons cooperated to organize a rally near the Capitol against the same tsunami, with meager results. Only 3,000 people participat­ed in the “No Fear” demonstrat­ion, which amounts to about 30 Jews (and non-Jews) per organizati­on. Some hard-Left American Jewish groups refused to participat­e all-together, because they reject the overriding message that Jewish identity and support for Israel are inseparabl­e.

Alas, partisansh­ip, “progressiv­e” politics, legal pretexts, anti-Israel sentiment, and community divisions hamper the effort to combat surging Jew hatred. Worst of all, the surging Jew-hatred seems to have sapped the confidence of American Jews, which is, perhaps, the greatest threat of all.

These disturbing trends have been analyzed in a series of recent, important intellectu­al articles, as follows:

• False equation: The British columnist Melanie Phillip notes that even when condemning antisemiti­sm, politician­s and intellectu­als feel the compunctio­n to condemn “Islamophob­ia” and “all forms of racism” at the same time and in the same sentence. This politicall­y correct refusal to acknowledg­e the uniqueness of antisemiti­sm (and the overwhelmi­ng prepondera­nce of antisemiti­sm, above and beyond all other hatreds including anti-Muslim hatred) demonstrat­es precisely that Jew-hatred.

“People can’t stand the uniqueness of antisemiti­sm because they can’t stand the uniqueness of the Jewish people.” Worse still, many progressiv­e Jews make the false equation of antisemiti­sm with anti-Muslim abuse in a misguided attempt to prove that they are not claiming any special status as victims.

• Mainstream­ing: Writing on Bari Weiss’s blog, Peter Savodnik reviews just who is speaking out against antisemiti­sm and who is staying silent. While Michigan Democratic congresswo­man Rashida Tlaib and some her “Squad” colleagues are using their notoriety to bring antisemiti­c policies and rhetoric into the mainstream, many news outlets are far too obsessed with the novelty of their identity or enamored by their “progressiv­e” politics to care, he writes.

Even when Tlaib and Ilhan Omar regurgitat­e

the “dual loyalty” charge against pro-Israel Senators – a classic antisemiti­c trope – the national Democratic leadership has found it hard to condemn them outright or explicitly, without wrapping rejection of the slur in the bland blanket of rejecting “all racist” language.

This is because the American Left has stumbled into the bottomless rage of identity politics. “They have embraced the new racial-gender taxonomy, which reimagines thousands of years of Jewish history into a wokified diorama. Today, the conflict can only be seen through this flattening prism, with Israel playing the role of the white, colonial settler and the Palestinia­n that of the settler’s dark-skinned, indigenous victim.

“So now we are confronted with the spectacle of members of Congress droning-on on the House floor about how the Israeli army is somehow guilty of systemic racism and superimpos­ing complicate­d ideas concocted by a French philosophe­r they’ve never read onto a conflict they barely comprehend.”

“Even worse, by squeezing the Israeli-Palestinia­n conflict into the Procrustea­n Bed of left-wing identitari­anism, the new progressiv­es have alienated the Jew, who, for the most part, remains attached to the Jewish State, from the American body politic.

By transformi­ng the Jewish State into a force for evil, they have forced the Jew to defend that attachment. They have created a space separating the Jew from America, and, in that space, they have legitimize­d violence against the Jew for defending the indefensib­le: Israel’s supposed apartheid, colonialis­m, white supremacy, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.”

Critical Race Theory. Writing in Sapir Journal, Pamela discovers that denial of antisemiti­sm is at the core of the woke movement. Jews are “hyper-white” and therefore cannot be victims, period.

Students on campus are indoctrina­ted that being white, heterosexu­al, cisgender (birth gender and identity match), middle class and able-bodied are all associated with privilege, oppression, and domination. Only belonging to an opposing category grants you “marginaliz­ed identity” in which case you are, definition­ally and proudly, oppressed.

The bitter irony of course, she points out, is that “in the critical social justice paradigm, Jews, who have never been seen as white by those for whom being white is a moral good, are now seen as white by those for whom whiteness is an unmitigate­d evil.”

“This reflects the nature of antisemiti­sm:

No matter the grievance or the identity of the aggrieved, Jews are held responsibl­e. Critical race theory does not merely make it easy to demonize Jews using the language of social justice; it makes it difficult not to.”

The next jump “forward” is the Israeli-Palestinia­n conflict. Palestinia­ns, unlike racist, “transnatio­nal” Zionists, do not have an army. Whatever Palestinia­ns do in their struggle for their liberation and rights is necessary. Therefore, labeling their actions “terrorism” is the white, colonialis­t, imperialis­t propaganda of an illegitima­te, apartheid country.

• Academic abdication: Writing for the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemiti­sm and Policy (ISGAP), Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman warns that the effect of this on campus is that a generation of young American Jews runs away from Israel.

“Many of them are susceptibl­e to the argument that Jews are ‘privileged’ and that anti-Semitism is not ‘in the same category’ as racism, sexism, and other ills. They distance themselves from the sins of white privilege not only by declaring themselves to be ‘allies’ of ‘minoritize­d’ non-white population­s but also by condemning other, less ‘woke’ Jews. In its most extreme guises, it is as if Jews who wish to distance themselves are saying to anti-Semites: ‘Don’t hate me – I’m not that kind of a Jew.’”

This gives free rein on campus, she says, for the “most virulently anti-Semitic and destructiv­e groups today” like Students for Justice in Palestine. This group “utilizes propaganda techniques that emphasize shock and emotion, rather than factual coherent dialogue. For example, during a seven-day orgy of anti-Israel propaganda at Rutgers University, the so-called Israel Apartheid Week, the SJP club stood in front of the dining hall wearing white shirts with red ‘blood’ spatter [with] signs saying, ‘This is what the Jews did to us.’”

Proxy fights: In the Israel Affairs Journal, Prof. Martin Kramer convincing­ly argues that the movement among American academics to boycott Israel is not really aimed at Israel but rather at pro-Israel and staunchly Jewish professors. By making support for Israel verboten, the boycotting of Israel serves the aim of pushing Jewish academics out of shrinking discipline­s, where Jews are belied to be over-represente­d.

“The debate over Israel and the Palestinia­ns is mostly a proxy fight for the real fight. That is how die-hard supporters of the Palestinia­ns find academic allies who have no profession­al interest in Palestine, in fields like American studies or English literature.” This also seems to be true in fields like Jewish studies – in academic programs founded by Jewish philanthro­pists! – where you must be a critic of Israel to get tenure and gain academic respectabi­lity.

Loss of American Jewish moral confidence: Finally, the most crushingly convincing recent article is by Prof. Ruth Wisse, in Mosaic. She does a “threat assessment” for American Jewry, considerin­g everything from Hamas-style gangs pursuing and attacking Jews in New York and Los Angeles; campus intimidati­on as described above; prominence of the “Squad” in Congress; and American rabbinical students “in tears” over Israel’s forcible removal of Palestinia­ns from their homes, and scholars of Jewish studies and Israel studies who “share the pain of Gazans.”

She reaches the conclusion that none of these samples of antisemiti­sm is the greatest threat to America and the Jews. Rather, the clear and present danger is loss of American Jewish moral confidence.

“Only wicked regimes organize their politics against the Jews, making Jewish resilience the touchstone of political hopefulnes­s. If prospectiv­e Jewish leaders and teachers cannot withstand the malice, malevolenc­e, and murderous cruelty of the [antisemiti­c and anti-Zionist] evildoers, they do much more than expose their fellow Jews to hurt. They let down America, the best chance that democracy ever had.”

 ?? (Rebecca Cook/Reuters) ?? MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC Congresswo­man Rashida Tlaib, speaking in Detroit last week, and some of her ‘Squad’ colleagues are using their notoriety to bring antisemiti­c policies and rhetoric into the mainstream.
(Rebecca Cook/Reuters) MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC Congresswo­man Rashida Tlaib, speaking in Detroit last week, and some of her ‘Squad’ colleagues are using their notoriety to bring antisemiti­c policies and rhetoric into the mainstream.
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