How Left-Wing Thinking Leads to Ignoring, or Justifying, Anti-Semitism

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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More about: Anti-Semitism, J Street, Leftism, Mahmoud Abbas, Politics & Current Affairs, Racism

 

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times