Segments of the Right have of course always been anti-Semitic, particularly the Far Right and conservative Christians. But my brief here is the Left, and it maddens me to see much of the Left also becoming anti-Semitic, both in Britain and the US. Sure, they mask their anti-Semitism by saying that they’re not anti-Semitic but only anti-Zionist (in my view they’re the same thing), or by supporting organizations like BDS that, they claim, aim only at correcting the bad behavior of the Israeli government (another lie: BDS’s goal, which the organization keeps quiet, is to eliminate the state of Israel).
It maddens me, but I understand why this is happening. Jews are perceived as “whites”, and Palestinians as “people of color”. When a white underdog clashes with an Underdog of Color, the latter wins. (This is also true for Western feminists who give the misogyny of Islam a pass.) But do remember that the per capita rate of hate crimes against Jews in America is twice that of crimes against Muslims, and that around the world Jews are being attacked not just because they support Israel, but simply because they’re Jews.
I don’t think we’re on the way to another Holocaust, but I am concerned at how readily the Left, traditionally champions of the underdog, now demonizes and dismisses Jews.
And that concerns Bari Weiss as well, as she explains in her New York Times editorial today (click on screenshot below). Weiss, of course, has alienated many of her colleagues at the paper not only by her attacks on anti-Semitism (the NYT is full of young woke reporters), but also by her criticisms of the Left in general. Yet she’s still a liberal, and I feel a kinship with her even though I think she may actually believe in God.
Anyway, read this piece; it’s not long:
Weiss begins with a story I’ve heard of (it’s got its own Wikipedia page), but didn’t know the outcome, which is unbelievable:
Two years ago, a 27-year-old man named Kobili Traoré walked into the Paris apartment of a 65-year-old kindergarten teacher named Sarah Halimi. Mr. Traoré beat Ms. Halimi and stabbed her. According to witnesses, he called her a demon and a dirty Jew. He shouted, “Allahu akbar,” then threw Ms. Halimi’s battered body out of her third-story apartment window.
This is what Mr. Traoré told prosecutors: “I felt persecuted. When I saw the Torah and a chandelier in her home I felt oppressed. I saw her face transforming.”
One would think that this would be an open-and-shut hate crime. It was the coldblooded murder of a woman in her own home for the sin of being a Jew. But French prosecutors decided to drop murder charges against Mr. Traoré because he … had smoked cannabis.
If France’s betrayal of Sarah Halimi is shocking to you, perhaps you haven’t being paying much attention to what by now can be described as a moral calamity sweeping the West of which her story is only the clearest example. A crisis, I hasten to add, that’s perhaps less known because it has been largely overlooked by the mainstream press.
Traoré remains in a psychiatric hospital, and might not even be tried for anything (that will be decided December 19). The judge didn’t even consider it an antisemitic crime until the prosecutors force him to. Now it may be that the killer is mentally ill, and can be considered “not guilty by reason of insanity” (I’m not sure that verdict is possible in France), but certainly he should be tried for murder. If he’s ill, then appropriate punishment/sequestration, coupled with therapy and rehabilitation, is indicated. But dropping charges, well, that’s not so cool, nor is saying the crime had nothing to do with Judaism.
Regardless, Weiss continues by calling out the anti-Semitism of Britain’s Labour Party and of Jeremy Corbyn, something that’s hardly contested these days, and then moves to Italy, where politicians recently decided against establishing a Holocaust memorial because it was considered “too divisive”. There’s the anti-Semitism of McGill University’s student council, something I described the other day, and the continuing bigotry of Linda Sarsour, who is a “surrogate” for Bernie Sanders—someone authorized to campaign on his behalf. She’s also considered a hero to many on the Left.
Elsewhere in the Democratic Party, Linda Sarsour, the activist who was removed from her leadership position in the Women’s March thanks to her history of anti-Semitic scandals and who now serves as a surrogate for the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, gave a talk on Friday to a group called American Muslims for Palestine. The part of her talk that circulated online focused on the apparent hypocrisy of progressive Zionists: How, Ms. Sarsour asked about people who are the No. 1 target of white supremacists, can they claim to oppose white supremacy when they support “a state like Israel that is built on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else?”
Lest you think this is “just anti-Zionism,” consider that the Sanders surrogate was speaking at a conference that printed the following sentence in its program: “Zionism has come in like a disease to destroy the purity of Al Quds.” (Al Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.)
Finally, there are the recent physical attacks on Jews simply because they appear Jewish. But read Weiss on that. Her conclusion: things look grim for Jews, especially in Britain and France, where a respectable number say they’re considering leaving their countries and moving to Israel (see here and here). Weiss concludes this:
There is a theme here. The theme is that Jew-hatred is surging and yet Jewish victimhood does not command attention or inspire popular outrage. That unless Jews are murdered by neo-Nazis, the one group everyone of conscience recognizes as evil, Jews’ inconvenient murders, their beatings, their discrimination, the singling out of their state for demonization will be explained away.
When you look at each of these incidents, perhaps it is possible still to pretend that these are random bursts of bigotry perpetrated by hooligans lacking any real organization or power behind them.
But Mr. Corbyn’s electoral prospects in Britain tell a different, far more distressing story — that a person with some of the same impulses as those hooligans can stand within spitting distance of the office of prime minister. This is what happens when a culture decides that Jewish lives are stumbling stones.
Will the Left embrace a hashtag like #JewishLivesMatter? Don’t count on it.