Attacked by Anti-Semites for Her Jewish Roots, an Italian Politician Gives Credence to Anti-Semitism

In an electoral upset last month, Elly Schlein was chosen to be the new leader of Italy’s Democratic party. Schlein, the daughter of a Jewish political scientist, represents her party’s radical wing, and her victory over the centrists has been compared to Jeremy Corbyn’s takeover of the British Labor party from the Blairites in 2015. She has also been the subject of a great deal of ugly ad-hominem abuse—concerning her personal life, her Jewish forbears, and her supposedly Semitic nose. Asked about this at a press conference, she pointed out that she is not Jewish (since her mother is a Gentile) and, moreover, that she possesses “a typically Etruscan nose.” Ben Cohen comments:

Technically, of course, she is correct: in terms of halakhah, Jewish religious law, she is not Jewish. But under the definition of a Jew outlined in the infamous Nazi racial laws, she most certainly is—and would be entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Israeli Law of Return as a consequence.

[T]he phrasing of Schlein’s objections suggested that the anti-Semitic barbs she faced didn’t really make sense because she’s not Jewish after all, and that’s what bothered her. The implication here is that these would be more understandable if they were directed at an individual with two Jewish parents.

But there is something more sinister here at work; essentially, she is saying that while she does indeed possess a large nose, it’s an organically Italian one, rather than a foreign Jewish one. What is implicit here is not a protest against anti-Semitism but a complaint about being lumped in with Jews. That is why Schlein’s past comments about Israel—while fairly standard from someone on the European left—give rise to an extra layer of concern. The core challenge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she insists, is its “asymmetrical” nature, with the Israelis holding all the power and the Palestinians none. As a result, she declared in a May 2021 statement during the eleven-day conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas, the Jewish state is guilty of “ethnic cleansing.” . . .

To hear these words from a leading politician who also believes that there is such a thing as a “Jewish nose” is unsettling, to put it mildly. If Schlein doesn’t want to get labeled as an Italian Jeremy Corbyn—and perhaps she does—then she needs to reverse course now.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Italy


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University