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Israel Hatred: The Common Denominator between the American Far-left and Far-right

Maariv, Israel, July 23

The slogan “Black Lives Matter” was one of the most effective and justified anti-racist slogans in the United States even before the killing by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But what was once no more than a slogan has now turned into a full-fledged political movement that is redefining the American political Left. Indeed, the movement has become an umbrella body representing liberal Americans fighting for causes far removed from racial equality. Anti-Semitic tones have surfaced among leading members of the movement, including the claim that Jews supported slavery. The proliferation of anti-Semitic remarks of this sort have begun, albeit belatedly, to turn on red lights even among liberal Jews who preferred to ignore them at first. Last week, Jewish-American author and journalist Mitch Albom wrote a prolific column in which he attacked well-known black basketball and soccer players in the US for blatantly promoting anti-Semitic remarks, including quotes from Hitler and the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, who has called the Jews “satanic” and “termites.” Anti-Semitism has always existed in America, sometimes even at the institutional level, though not in the same magnitude of what we witnessed in Europe or the Middle East. However, as the latest Anti-Defamation League report indicates, the wave of anti-Semitic violence that swept the United States in 2019 was the worst in 40 years. And there is a clear reason for that: Alongside the well-known phenomenon of hatred of Jews on the far-Right – by people like neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other extremists – a more dangerous trend of left-wing anti-Semitism has emerged in the US in recent weeks. This left-wing anti-Semitism feeds on common anti-Semitic tropes revolving around “big money,” Jewish influence over the media and in politics, and other conspiracy theories that seem to have been taken straight from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” It also rests on continuous attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel in the spirit of pro-Palestinian propaganda by organizations such as the BDS movement and progressive members of Congress. These trends have also been spreading in American universities with the support of left-wing professors, a situation that has made it dangerous for students to express pro-Israel views on campus. Recently, the Jewish journalist and lecturer Peter Beinart joined the choir by penning a long and manipulative article on the front page of The New York Times in which he denied the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and questioned Israel’s right to exist. This convergence of left-wing liberals with right-wing fascists does not bode well for the spread of anti-Semitism in America. Both are dangerous strands of anti-Semitism, and both feed off of, and strengthen, each other. – Zalman Shoval (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)