White Liberals Are Turning against the Jews and Israel

June 11 2019

Over the past five to ten years, writes Zach Goldberg, a new group of liberals has emerged—mostly white, mostly born after 1980, and greatly shaped by social media and Internet reporting—that has altered attitudes on the left. Recently dubbed “the Great Awokening”—after the use of the vernacular “woke” to mean awakened to injustice—the resulting changes in liberal opinion bode ill for Jews and the Jewish state:

[These] seismic attitudinal shifts . . . have implications that go beyond race: they are also tied to a significant decrease in support for Israel and—perhaps more surprisingly—an increase in the number of white liberals who express negative attitudes about the perceived political power of American Jews. . . . Then there is the marked shift in attitudes toward Israel. Between 1978 and 2014, white liberals consistently reported sympathizing more with Israel than with the Palestinians. Since March 2016, this trend has turned on its face: significantly more white liberals now report greater sympathy for the Palestinians than for Israel.

The surveys show that among white liberals, Jews are perceived to be “privileged”—at least in comparison with other historically victimized groups. . . . Jews are no longer the downtrodden collective that white liberals can readily sympathize with. Other groups lower on the privilege hierarchy and less tainted by association with “whiteness” now have priority. So long as anti-Semitism comes from whites, there is no problem here. But if the [anti-Semite is] a member of an “oppressed” or “vulnerable” group, there may be a cognitive dissonance.

To see how this logic extends to Israel consider that the same . . . outrage over the bigoted persecution of the vulnerable by the “privileged” that informs the changing policy positions on domestic issues is applied to the international arena. [In the “woke” view of things], a “white-supremacist” America holds people of color down and keeps the door shut for others, while a “Zionist-supremacist” Israel behaves in much the same way toward its minorities of color. It’s a narrow and warped perspective but one that’s easily assimilated into a broader worldview in which human relations are defined by categories of oppressor vs. oppressed; and where these roles are assigned based on one’s placement in the privilege hierarchy. . . .

As Jews have become [symbols] of “whiteness” in the liberal political imagination—to the point that Israel is considered a white state despite having a slight nonwhite majority—they have come to be associated with an oppressor class. We shouldn’t be surprised then that white liberals are significantly more likely to feel that Jewish groups have too much influence and less likely to say the same with respect to their Muslim counterparts.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: American politics, Anti-Semitism, Liberalism, US-Israel relations

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter