Among the far-left, Islamists, and violent white supremacists, anti-Israel antisemitism is the common theme
Anti-Israel venom has normalized antisemitism, and it’s reached a tipping point. The NY Times cartoon is a sign it’s gone mainstream as well.
It’s not like we haven’t been warning about this for the ten-plus years Legal Insurrection has been in existence. We have.
In posts too numerous to link, we have warned that the anti-Israel movement, including anti-Zionist and far left-wing Jews, has been so relentlessly demonizing and dehumanizing Israel that they were normalizing antisemitism.
It’s not just that the gross lies about Israel, and holding Israel to a standard no other nation is expected to meet, were in themselves antisemitic. Though that is true.
It’s that there was a thin line between holding up the Israeli Jew as the cause of the worlds’ ills and having that demonization turn into hatred of Jews as Jews. That thin line has disappeared.
There are plenty of culprits.
Without a doubt, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its related campus faculty and student supporters, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, bear much of the blame. There is a campaign to delegitimize Israel that is staggering in its scope, far beyond what most people comprehend. That campaign of delegitimization is aided and abetted by left-wing anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, which spread blood libels that Israelis and American Jewish groups are responsible for police shooting of blacks in the inner city.
There is a unifying doctrine behind this campus and leftist activism, “Intersectionality.” I wrote about it in December 2015, How student activists turned anti-rape group into an anti-Israel group:
The phrase “All evil in the world must be traced to Israel” is how researcher Nurit Baytch perceptively characterized the propaganda tactics of anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal.
It’s a phrase that increasingly characterizes the anti-Israel campus movement. Every real or perceived problem is either blamed on or connected to Israel.
The concerted effort to turn the Black Lives Matter movement into an anti-Israel movement has at its core the claim that Israel is the root of problems of non-whites in the United States. Thus, if a police chief somewhere attended a one-week anti-terrorism seminar in Israel years ago, every act of brutality by a cop on the beat is blamed on Israel. So too, Students for Justice in Palestine protesters in New York City even blamed high tuition on Zionists, leading to rebukes by administrators against such thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.
The Jew once again is made the source of all evil, the conspiratorial puppet-master controlling all and responsible for all. And Israel alone receives such treatment and is used as the link to connect all injustices in the world. That some of the worst perpetrators are Jewish progressives doesn’t change the nature of the attack.
Antisemitic propaganda emanating from Palestinian terror groups, and even the Palestinian Authority, incites another generation not just against Israelis, but against Jews. In Europe, for many years of our coverage we documented how Jews were harassed on the streets by Muslim men shouting Islamist rhetoric, what I called in 2010 Malmö Syndrome. But now it’s spread beyond that demographic. “Walking while Jewish” is impossible almost anywhere in Europe now.
The energy in the Democratic Party — the Democratic Socialists and their cohorts such as Ilham Omar and Rashida Tlaib — have brought this anti-Israel fanaticism into the heart of a major American political party.
The clearly antisemitic cartoon run in the NY Times is an example of how these anti-Israel antisemitic themes have worked their way into the mainstream media.
Bret Stephens, a regular columnist at the NY Times, took the Times to task, and also pointed out the core problem being the normalization of anti-Israel antisemitism, A Despicable Cartoon in The Times:
The problem with the cartoon isn’t that its publication was a willful act of anti-Semitism. It wasn’t. The problem is that its publication was an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism — and that, at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia. Imagine, for instance, if the dog on a leash in the image hadn’t been the Israeli prime minister but instead a prominent woman such as Nancy Pelosi, a person of color such as John Lewis, or a Muslim such as Ilhan Omar. Would that have gone unnoticed by either the wire service that provides the Times with images or the editor who, even if he were working in haste, selected it?
The question answers itself. And it raises a follow-on: How have even the most blatant expressions of anti-Semitism become almost undetectable to editors who think it’s part of their job to stand up to bigotry?
The reason is the almost torrential criticism of Israel and the mainstreaming of anti-Zionism, including by this paper, which has become so common that people have been desensitized to its inherent bigotry. So long as anti-Semitic arguments or images are framed, however speciously, as commentary about Israel, there will be a tendency to view them as a form of political opinion, not ethnic prejudice. But as I noted in a Sunday Review essay in February, anti-Zionism is all but indistinguishable from anti-Semitism in practice and often in intent, however much progressives try to deny this.
Add to the mix the media’s routine demonization of Netanyahu, and it is easy to see how the cartoon came to be drawn and published: Already depicted as a malevolent Jewish leader, it’s just a short step to depict him as a malevolent Jew.
In the mainstream media, on campuses, and in the Democratic Party, this anti-Israel antisemitism is driven almost entirely from the left and from Islamists. But it exists among violent white supremacists as well. The shooters at synagogues in Pittsburgh and California both expressed an intense hatred of Donald Trump because he was too favorable to Israel and Jews.
Hatred of Israel is not a mainstream U.S. phenomenon. Israel remains overwhelmingly popular among the general population.
But among the far-left, Islamists, and violent white supremacists, anti-Israel antisemitism is the common theme.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.