Wednesday, the office of the Minnesota congresswoman Betty McCollum published a statement condemning the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as a “hate group” after it sponsored a Facebook advertisement critical of her. Condemnations of AIPAC and the “Israel Lobby,” which now predominate on the political left, have been a longstanding bipartisan feature of anti-Israel rhetoric in the U.S., ascribing to the group a near-supernatural power to dictate American foreign policy and stifle debate. As Sharon Goldman explains, such fantastical assumptions about Jewish influence go back many centuries, and have changed little:
Leaders of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel, known as BDS, frequently make use of dangerously overwrought descriptions [when speaking about] Israel, as do its supporters. Recall Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet: “Israel has hypnotized the world; may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” The tweet taps directly into the trope that Jews are not only powerful, but all-powerful—capable of hypnotism that only Allah can reverse.
This . . . language is ubiquitous in BDS [circles], as when Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the BDS National Committee, accused Zionists of “brainwashing” and controlling U.S. policy, and when the famous BDS supporter [and former member of the rock band Pink Floyd] Roger Waters narrated a documentary film titled “The Occupation of the American Mind.”
That’s how you can recognize the old anti-Semitic canard at work: Israel, the unnaturally powerful Jew of the international arena, has grown into the most oppressive, most dangerous genocidal country in the world and it must be stopped in its hegemonic, demonic tracks.