Saturday, July 10, 2021

Better Late Than Never: ADL Acknowledges the Dangers Posed by the Left's Antisemitism

Far too many self-proclaimed "progressives" harbor antisemitic and anti-Zionist attitudes as core tenets of their belief systems, a subject that I have addressed in several recent articles, including The Pathetic "Progressive" Response to Hamas' War Against Israel. Some Jews have struggled to recognize--or at least publicly acknowledge--the Left's antisemitism because they have convinced themselves that fighting this antisemitism is somehow a betrayal of the Democratic Party, but antisemitism should be a non-partisan issue. Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or something else, you should condemn antisemitism regardless of its source.

Many Jewish organizations often act as if blind allegiance to the Democratic Party is more important than anything else, so it is a positive development that Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and National Director of the ADL, has publicly stated that the Left has an antisemitism problem

While extremism on the right has dominated the public conversation for much of the past five years, from moments during the 2016 campaign to the Jan 6 insurrection, right now the challenge is also rising among certain elements of the far left.

Over the past several months, we've witnessed a series of incidents in which progressive activism, often displayed as pro-Palestinian advocacy, has morphed into single-minded anti-Israel aggression—and sometimes outright antisemitism.

We all watched in horror as Jewish diners at a restaurant in Los Angeles were attacked and a Jewish man was beaten in broad daylight near Times Square – both by participants in pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The attacks along with the many others ADL has documented in recent months did not occur in a vacuum. They were fed in part by an anti-Israel animus that appears to be gathering steam in numerous corners of American society. It is irrational and dangerous.

Perhaps most disturbing is the inflammatory rhetoric coming from elected officials, including some members of Congress who have made spurious claims about Israel's actions and pushed a narrative that falsely accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, systematically murdering Palestinian children, or of somehow being an apartheid state.

Take Rep. Betty McCollum, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, who, in introducing a new bill to restrict U.S. military aid to Israel, suggested that stopping the flow of taxpayer dollars to Israel would stop Israel from "bombing Gaza into oblivion." This is a blatant and irresponsible mischaracterization of the facts on the ground, especially considering the great pains taken by the Israel Defense Forces to avoid civilian casualties—measures not duplicated by any other fighting force in the world...

In the run-up to the annual Dyke March in Chicago, posters surfaced reading "queers for Palestine" showing a machine gun raised against a Palestinian keffiyeh-inspired pattern with the slogan "Zionism is queerphobic," a slogan that would come as a surprise to the thousands who throng Tel Aviv's streets for its annual pride parade.

Greenblatt has taken an important first step, but now the ADL must follow through, and must be joined arm in arm by everyone--not just Jews--who has the courage to condemn antisemitism regardless of the source. Antisemitism from the Right is just as troubling as antisemitism from the Left, but antisemitism from the Left is--in many quarters, including Congress and a number of media outlets--operating under protection, if not outright support, and that is why antisemitism from the Left has become an even bigger threat to Jewish safety and well being than antisemitism from the Right.

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