This week’s New York Times Magazine features an essay by the veteran Israel-hater Nathan Thrall titled “How the Battle over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American Politics.” Employing a variety of lies, half-truths, illogical deductions, and insinuations, it draws a contrast between wealthy Jewish donors to the Democratic party who are sympathetic to Israel and minority, primarily black, activists who are anti-Israel. Jonathan Tobin comments:
Thrall’s object is to justify [boycott-Israel] campaigns that anchor the debate about the subject in “Black-Palestinian solidarity” and the effort to view the war on Israel through the “racial-justice prism.” The result is an 11,000-word essay that seeks to . . . paint Zionism as inherently racist and efforts to destroy Israel as idealistic attempts to defend human rights, [while also seeking] to portray the pro-Israel movement’s effort to push back at anti-Semitic attacks as tainted by prejudice against African-Americans and fueled primarily by the heavy-handed efforts of Jewish donors to manipulate the Democratic party.
One of Thrall’s primary sources is the former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. . . . The article . . . amplifies Rhodes’s specious claim that President Obama’s inability to persuade Israel’s supporters to back him on the [Israel-Palestinian] issue was due to racial prejudice. He claims that supporters of Israel assumed that Barack Obama was pro-Palestinian because he was black. Rhodes’s thesis, which Thrall endorses, is that this alleged fear of Obama was the result of the pro-Israel community’s understanding that the Jewish state really was “an oppressor.” According to Rhodes, Obama’s critics were “acknowledging, through [their] own fears, that Israel treats the Palestinians like black people had been treated in the United States.”
This argument has it backward. Jewish Democrats [went to enormous lengths] to maintain their faith that Obama had been sincere in his professions of support for Israel when he ran for president in 2008, in spite of evidence to the contrary, both then and later. Far from being prejudiced against him, most American Jews stuck loyally to Obama, despite his belief that more “daylight” was needed between Israel and the United States. They even supported his efforts to appease an Iranian regime that was bent on genocide.
The assumption that Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are treated the same way as the African-American victims of Jim Crow in the pre-civil-rights-era South is a big lie. . . . The standoff about the future of the West Bank exists because the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected offers of peace and statehood. They would have attained independence long ago had they been willing to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn.