The Arab-American activist Linda Sarsour has recently become a darling of the progressive left—treated to fawning magazine profiles, chosen to lead the anti-Trump women’s march, and invited to speak at academic and leftist events even while defending Saudi Arabia’s shameful record on women’s rights, insulting feminists who don’t share her opinions, singing the praises of Shariah law, and dilating on the alleged evils of Zionism. To James Kirchick, the ability to ignore certain forms of bigotry, especially anti-Semitism, typifies a certain kind of distorted thinking increasingly prevalent on the left:
For Sarsour and others of her ilk, it is crucial to claim that Jews can’t be real victims of discrimination because they are “white,” and in the world of [these] progressive activists, there’s no such thing as anti-white racism. . . . But to tribalist progressives like Sarsour, Jews are more than simply another flavor of “white.” The investiture of Jews, as a people, with moral authority derives from a sense that their long history of oppression has endowed them with an almost mystical power. . . .
Anguish over the fate of the Jews is . . . considered a parochial, bourgeois concern that unfairly competes with the proletariat for the sympathy of enlightened mankind. The fate of the Jews is an obnoxious, even perfidious diversion, particularly as it relates to Muslims—reigning champions in the progressive hierarchy of victimhood for reasons that are hard even for progressives to explain with any reference to liberal values like free speech, LGBT equality, or women’s rights. . . .
This worldview, Kirchick continues, has seeped not only into fringe Jewish organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace but even into mainstream agencies like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):
[In a recent poll of European opinion] asking respondents about the prevalence of anti-Semitism on the political right and left, the ADL left out the third, and deadliest, form of Jew-hatred in Europe today: Muslim anti-Semitism. Instead, the ADL reverses the clear link between Muslim anti-Semitism and murderous violence against Jews in France and other European countries and claims instead that “not surprisingly, there are strong ties between anti-Semitism and prejudice against Muslim refugees.” The ADL comes to this . . . conclusion by conflating agreement with the statement that countries have “let in too many immigrants” with “anti-Muslim prejudice.” . . .
In fact, the ADL also found that majorities of Europeans in all three countries associate Muslim immigration with increased anti-Semitism, a not unreasonable conclusion given the ADL’s own public-opinion surveys in the countries from which these people are emigrating; 74 percent of those living in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the ADL, hold anti-Semitic views.