I was shocked, but not surprised, to see the Washington Post feature an op-ed this weekend (August 19) stating that the left has eschewed political violence. Author Yoav Fromer admits that there is some violence on the left, but for decades it hasn’t compared to the “methodical, organized and strategic violence and incitement” of the right. What about rioting in Ferguson, MO, Portland, OR, Baltimore, MD and annually in Devos, Switzerland, or the attempt to murder the Republican congressional baseball team, to name just a few recent instances? There is extreme violence on the fringes of the left and the right. Excusing the left wing component, as the media icons do on a regular basis, only exacerbates the political divisions which are plaguing Western democracies.
We know about right wing antisemitism, which we witnessed in Charlottesville. But antisemitism is also prevalent on the left. It hurts to see Jews supporting the BDS movement (boycott, delegitimize, sanction Israel); the Black Lives Matter movement (Israel is the apartheid state), the LGBTQ movement (pro-Palestine and anti-Zionist), and the feminist movement (ditto), ignoring the bias against Jews and Israel. The great majority of Jews are liberal; they must wake up to the fact that movements such as those above are intolerant, not liberal.
If you are willing to toe the antisemitic, anti-Zionist line, you’re ok to join these movements. But if you have pride in the fact that you are a Jew, or are a supporter of Israel, it’s past time to strongly express your disgust and to withdraw your support from organizations which are antisemitic and anti-Zionist.
Below are some excerpts from recent articles by a variety of non-doctrinaire writers, documenting the fallout from some of the above mentioned movements.
Bari Weiss, New York Times
That kind of choice would have been familiar to previous generations of left-wing Jews, particularly those in Europe, who felt the tug between their ethnic heritage and their ‘internationalist’ ideological sympathies. But this is the United States. Here, progressives are supposed to be comfortable with the idea of hyphenated identities and overlapping ethnic, sexual and political affinities. Since when did a politics that celebrates choice — and choices — devolve into a requirement of being forced to choose?
Jews on the left, particularly in recent years, have attempted to square this growing discomfort by becoming more anti-Israel. But if history has taught the Jews anything it’s that this kind of contortion never ends well.”
Alan Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus Harvard Law School
Jennifer Ann Moses, USA Today
… when it comes to hating Jews, normative reality has nothing to do with it. The only thing that matters is the narrative of hatred.”https://www.usatoday.com/
Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press
It isn’t alt-right Internet trolls who are orchestrating anti-Jewish protests like those of Linda Sarsour or efforts to boycott Israeli plays at Lincoln Center, where the appearance of even the work of a critic of Israel like David Grossman was enough to generate protest from mainstream artists.
Nor is it Trump who is responsible for turning universities into places where Jewish students no longer feel safe expressing their Jewish identity.
But unfortunately, all too many liberals would still rather believe Trump, their main political foe, is the real reason anti-Semitism is growing.”
Hannah Dreyfus, Jewish Week
The International Women’s Strike [March 8, 2017], which called for the ‘decolonization of Palestine,’ solicited the participation of Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a Palestinian woman convicted and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 to life in prison for two bombing attacks. [She was released in a prisoner exchange after just 10 years in prison.]
Emily Shire, a journalist and editor living in New York who covers feminism and politics, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times about her conflicted Zionist and feminist identities. The article — headlined ‘Does Feminism Have Room for Zionists?’ — was prompted by the controversial platform of the Women’s Strike and the involvement of Odeh.
Speaking to The Jewish Week the day after her piece was published, Shire said the “outrage and negative comments” she received in response to the article were “unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. “I received my first-ever comment from someone wishing I would die.”
It’s a reality that the extreme right and the extreme left are closer to each other than either is to the center. Hatred of Jews and Israel is a uniting factor. Whether from the left or the right, antisemites seem to get away with it. There’s nothing more to say.
pics: drybones.com, teapartytribune.com