Tamika Mallory, one of the chairwomen of the anti-Trump Women’s March, recently returned from a trip to Israel, where she had a chance to meet with representatives of various groups dedicated to defaming the country. The trip came on the heels of, first, revelations about her close connections with Louis Farrakhan and, second, her condemnations of the Anti-Defamation League. Upon her return, she announced that those policies of President Trump that she finds most odious are “lines out of the Netanyahu book of oppression.” To David Schraub Mallory didn’t go to Israel in order—as many assumed—to improve her credibility with potential supporters wary of her anti-Semitism but in order to make her own anti-Semitism acceptable:
If one dislikes Jews, there are many ways for that disdain to manifest itself. But among these diverse options, people with anti-Semitic views want to express those views in ways that will gain social approval—at least in the communities they care about. Hence, we should expect that anti-Semitic sentiments will be systematically channeled in directions where their expression can expect to find validation. . . . The content of those sentiments will vary from community to community. In some, railing against “globalist financiers” will do the trick. In others, speaking of those who “crucified Christ” will work. And of course, in still others, lambasting Zionist perfidy is the winning ticket.
In Mallory’s case, then, the shift from Farrakhan to the ADL to Israel is a move from forms of anti-Semitism that have encountered great resistance to one which will (again, in the relevant communities) gain plaudits. [Her trip to Israel] is a rehabilitation tour because it moves her sense of grievance toward Jews out of a context where even her allies would have trouble defending her, to an arena where people in her community are quite accustomed to dismissing Jewish complaints. Even though the sequence of events for Mallory offers compelling evidence that she’s at least in part motivated by a sense of antipathy toward Jews, the fact that she’s now expressing her disdain in terms of anti-Israel sentiment suggests, ironically, that people will view further complaints about her anti-Semitism as weaker rather than stronger. . . .
There is [even] a perverse form of patriotism at work here. By suggesting that American misdeeds are actually instances of a foreign (Jewish) infection, the implication is that the American body itself is not the problem. The issue is outward, not inward. The fundamental appeal of [the slogan] “the Jews are our misfortune” is that it . . . allows for a sort of redemptive American narrative to emerge, and for even those most critical of contemporary American policies to lay claim to it.