Perhaps as disturbing as the resurgence of anti-Semitism on the hard left is the reluctance of leftists who aren’t anti-Semites to acknowledge it. This reluctance, argues John-Paul Pagano, stems directly from trends in left-wing thinking that have created a special blindness to the hatred of Jews.
[This] erasure of anti-Semitism . . . exposes a huge moral failure at the heart of the modern left. Under the enveloping paradigm of “intersectionality,” people are granularly defined by their various identities—except for white Jews, whose Jewishness is often overwritten by their skin color. . . .
[I]n a key sense, regular racism, [directed] against blacks and Latinos for example, is the opposite of anti-Semitism. [This sort of bigotry] comes from white people believing they are superior to people of [other races]. But the hatred of Jews stems from the belief that Jews are a cabal with supernatural, [or near-supernatural], powers. . . . Whereas the white racist regards blacks as inferior, the anti-Semite imagines that Jews have preternatural power to afflict humankind. . . . If Jews have power, then “punching up” at Jews is a form of “speaking truth to power”—a form of speech of which the left is currently enamored. In other words, it is because anti-Semitism pretends to strike at power that the left cannot see it, and is doomed to erase—and even reproduce—its tropes. . . .
Above all else, anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory about the maleficent Jewish elite. And it’s this that makes it easy to disguise anti-Semitism as a “politics of liberation,” or at least, to embed it quietly in efforts for social justice. You can see this in the resuscitated efforts of groups like Black4Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace to portray Israel and America as bastions of capitalist white supremacy that collude to brutalize “people of color.” . . .
When the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas delivered his recent rant of over two hours to assembled Palestinian leaders, he alleged wild conspiracies, . . . [declaring] that “Israel has imported frightening amounts of drugs in order to destroy our younger generation.” In response, the [lobbying] group J Street, after rejecting “the divisive and inflammatory rhetoric used by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,” complained that Donald Trump had provoked Abbas to despair [rather than acknowledging that Abbas has thought and said such things about Jews for his entire career].
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