Progressive Anti-Semitism – And Why Now?
May 7, 2019
York Times International Edition recently published an anti-Semitic cartoon
of a dachshund with the face of Benjamin Netanyahu. The composite animal was
leading a hunched Donald Trump who had on dark sunglasses, as if blind, and a
immediately, everyone pointed out that the theme of doglike Jews pulling along
their clueless befuddled blinded “Aryan” masters was a favorite in
Hitler’s Germany. The theme, style, and imagery of the cartoon might have
trumped what was often published in Der Stürmer, the Nazi megaphone
of propagandist Julius Streicher. The latter was hanged after the Nuremberg
Trials for two decades of fomenting the Jew hatred that helped lead to the
still, at first the New York Times merely explained how the sick
cartoon got published in its international edition, but without an apology for
its publication. Its subsequent second-try mea culpa was rendered a pathetic
joke when, a few days later, the paper published yet another incoherent
anti-Semitic cartoon of a Benjamin Netanyahu, this time as some sort of blind
Moses with selfie stick in one hand and a stone tablet with the Star of David in
the other, as he descends from Mount Sinai.
has been noted that the Times has had a long history of anti-Semitism,
dating to before World War II, and, after that, of serial anti-Israel venom.
Certainly, if the cartoon had similarly portrayed any other ethnic or religious
group (except heterosexual white Christians), the Times would
immediately have fired anyone remotely involved in running such trash. Was it
any surprise that the Times recently referenced Jesus as a Palestinian
rather than Jewish?
The Times in
general sees bias such as anti-Semitism and racism in terms of political
warfare: The hatred is always a cry of the heart of marginalized people, and
always directed at the supposedly deserving. Note that not long ago the Times vigorously
defended its hiring of Sarah Jeong, the racist blogger who had a long history of
anti-male and anti-white hate speech that included such social-media posts as
“Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white
men” and “Dumbass f****** white people marking up the internet with their
opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants” and “White people have stopped
breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. That was my plan all along.” In other
words, the Times seems to have no innate problem with its progressive
employees expressing racist and anti-Semitic tropes, as long as their targets
are deemed politically incorrect.
at UC Berkeley, in a now familiar routine, during a student-government meeting,
protesters slurred Jewish students with conspiratorial charges that the Israeli
military has trained American police how better to kill blacks. Campuses now
routinely ignore student anti-Semitic smears; indeed, universities and colleges
are becoming the incubators of progressive hatred of Jews.
strange thing about the now predictable anti-Jewish and anti-Israel social-media
outbursts of Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) was not that Alexandra
Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.)
defended Omar’s slurs. (Tlaib herself recently demanded cutting off aid to
Israel, claiming it did not reflect American values.) Rather, what’s striking
is that the Democratic party in general could not even muster a vote condemning
the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements of one of their own House members.
examples of progressive hatred of Jews could be multiplied endlessly, but the
key question is: Why in this generation and why on the Democratic left?
are of course, always white nationalists who voice reactionary anti-Semitism,
but most are pathetic fringe groups easily identified and ostracized. For all
the invective lodged against Donald Trump, no president has proved more
sensitive to Jewish issues and more committed to the survival of Israel. The
anti-Semitic extreme alt-right has received no sanction from the Republican
party, and it remains a tiny, mostly irrelevant group of losers. In contrast,
progressive Jew-hatred is expressed at the nation’s premier institutions, such
as UC Berkeley, the New York Times, and the U.S. Congress. Again, why?
far Left is intertwined with Islamist activists. Both share a hatred of the U.S.
and see the Middle East as a postcolonial victim of Western imperialism.
Students and urban youth bond with radical Islamists in their shared dislike of
the Western countries (such as Israel) in general and the United States in
Muslims and the Left disguise their hatred of Jews by claiming that they are
only championing downtrodden Palestinians. Few bother to ask them why a tiny
democracy in a sea of autocracy is always singled out any time global attention
turns to the question of refugees, disputed territories, or treatment of
supposed religious minorities. In other words, the hater of Jews always says,
“I have no problem with the Jewish people, but I do not like the imperialist
and colonial policies of the Jewish state of Israel.”
if so, why not extend such universal empathy for refugees to the last of the
East Prussian Germans, or those who are left of the Volga Russians, or the
octogenarians still alive from the nearly 1 million Jews who were ethnically
cleansed from their ancestral homes in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and throughout the
Islamic world? Why pick only on tiny Israel?
the rub is disputed land, why not agitate for the northern Cypriot Greeks who
suffered (and do suffer) terribly from the occupation of Turkish overseers, or
the Tibetans, whose lands were simply expropriated by Chinese Communists?
the youth of today are anxious about the treatment of religious minorities, why
not at least confess that 1 million Arab speakers in Israel cherish freedoms
found nowhere else in the Middle East? They also are certainly freer and more
secure than Muslim minorities in either India or China. So there is no reason to
fixate on a tiny constitutional society — except that it is a Jewish state.
to be frank, is deeply embedded also among the elite black progressive
community. Numerous contemporary African-American national leaders — Jesse
Jackson (“Hymietown”), Al Sharpton (“If the Jews want to get it on, tell
them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house”), the Reverend
Jeremiah Wright (“Them Jews aren’t going to let him [Obama] talk to me.”)
— have at some point trafficked in anti-Semitism.
Jew-hating Louis Farrakhan is no outlier. He has been prominent in the
progressive Women’s March, has had his picture taken with a then-smiling
Senator Barack Obama (the photo was repressed until after Obama left the
presidency), and he was once close to former Democratic National Party vice
chairman Keith Ellison. Representative Hank Johnson (D., Ga.), like Farrakhan,
has compared West Bank Jews to “termites” — another sick metaphor and,
like those used in cartoons appearing in the New York Times, one with a
disgusting pedigree from the Third Reich.
such old-new binaries, Jews and Israelis are now recast as “privileged
whites.” So their frequent attackers expect immunity from condemnation; they
seek refuge as marginalized people for whom charges of bias or privilege do not
so readily apply.
is also the insidious suggestion by those on the left who traffic in
anti-Semitic language and symbolism that most American Jews are assumed to be
loyal Democrats. In passive-aggressive style, the new anti-Semites enjoy poking
fellow party members on the left, in the expectation that they can do so without
warranting the odium that like-minded Nazis and Klansmen would earn.
teenagers who rant against their parents on the expectation that, as members of
the same family, they are exempt from rebuke, the progressive anti-Semites
expect fellow Democrats to contextualize their animus, tolerate it, and even
excuse it for the greater good of party and ideological unity.
in that a new generation of younger Jewish Americans is not inclined to push
back against left-wing anti-Semitism. These fourth- and fifth-generation
American citizens are often increasingly secular; they don’t have much
knowledge about or interest in the history and nature of Israel, and they’re
keen to avoid conflict with fellow hipster students and urban progressives. Like
the former and now largely inert Greek-American “lobby,” the next generation
of Jewish Americans is less interested in traditional Jewish concerns and likely
to defer to fellow progressives in matters of “woke” issues such as the
alleged “colonialism” of Israel.
is only going to intensify. Both in America and Europe, it is naturally at home
among the multicultural Left. The media, popular culture, universities, and
left-wing political parties either cannot or will not stop it.
unwavering support for Israel and keen support of Jews also encourages leftists,
in Pavlovian fashion, to attack anything that Trump favors. Prominent
progressive Jews lack either the ability or the inclination to call out members
of their own political persuasion — a fact that only encourages even more
So here is the near future: Every time the New York Times runs another anti-Semitic cartoon (and it will), each time a left-wing member of Congress questions the patriotism or morality of American Jews (and one will), and on every occasion Jewish students are harassed on campus (and they will be), we go another mile down the road to the well-known historical disaster that is looming ahead.