Sunday, June 14, 2009

Time To Admit There Is Anti-Semitism On The Left (Updated)

In European Left More Dangerous for Jews than European Right, Soeren Kern--Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group--writes that though Jewish groups express fear of right wing Anti-Semitism in Europe--

fear of the far right often obscures the indisputable fact that some of the greatest threats to Jews (and Israel) in contemporary Europe stem from the left side of the political aisle. Indeed, it is [4] no big secret that all across the European continent, left-wing intellectuals are playing a crucial role in making anti-Semitism seem respectable. Of course, they are (usually) careful to promote their hatred of Jews only indirectly. Instead, modern anti-Semitism is typically disguised as [5] anti-Zionism and an obsession with Palestinian victimhood.

European Judeophobia often takes on new life forms such as anti-Semitic boycott campaigns and anti-Israel demonstrations, the growing intensity of which the European left not only [6] overlooks or obscures but often actively supports. It is transmitted by Europe’s left-leaning mass media, which not only believes that the systematic demonization of Israel promotes the postmodern and postnational ideological worldview of Europe’s governing class, but also appeases the wrath of Europe’s Muslim immigrants, lest they expose the myth of European socialist multicultural utopia.

As the European left intensifies its common cause with the Palestinian movement, Islam itself has emerged as a major threat to Jewish life in Europe. Although definitive statistics are scarce, most of the acts of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions in Europe in recent years seem to be perpetrated by Muslim extremists. Indeed, a 2003 report published by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) attributed the increase in anti-Semitic violence in Europe mainly to Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups. But those findings were so embarrassing that European left-wing elites [7] quashed the report and commissioned another one. A subsequent EUMC report, which used a more politically correct research methodology, concluded that the “noticeable rise in reported anti-Semitic incidents” was the fault of “young, white Europeans incited by traditional right-wing extremist groups.”

And of course, left wing Anti-Semitism--along with their blaming it on the right--can be found in the US as well. The issue came up again after the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. Jennifer Rubin writes that
ranting about Jewish control of the U.S. has been largely the role of the Left as of late. It doesn’t make good New York Times copy to point out that the carping about the Jewish Lobby comes from Harvard professors and Leftwing bloggers. It wasn’t Rush Limbaugh or Fox commentators who said during the campaign that John McCain “surrounded himself with, and [was] funded by Jewish neoconservatives”; such rhetoric came from “respectable” Left and Center-Left publications. Do I think those people are responsible for the Holocaust Museum shooting? No. But the heart of this issue is whether there are those who slowly, bit by bit, make anti-Semitism more acceptable and, therefore, more popular. On that score, the answer is sadly yes.
Lanny Davis, a lawyer and Democratic strategist writes that the right does not have a monopoly on extremists and Anti-Semitic venom:
I am a liberal Democrat on every major issue facing the country - including my early opposition to the Iraq war and the war resolution. Yet when I defended my friend Joe Lieberman when he ran for the Senate in 2006, who has consistently voted in the Senate over 90% with fellow Democrats on every major important liberal issue -- from choice to labor issues to the environment to supporting President Obama's stimulus package and every other major issue -- I was personally attacked and threatened not by the right but by the left. That included anti-semitic comments and threats to my family. [emphasis added]
As opposed to Europe, where the left seems to be busy making Anti-Semitism look respectable (by repackaging it as "criticism" of Israel), in the US, the left is more interested in pinning the label of Anti-Semitism on the right. Either way, Anti-Semitism remains a problem, and it is not helped by the manipulation of the issue by the left--or the right.

UPDATE: William Kristol on a poll that doesn't seem to be getting much attention:
They asked, “How much to blame were the Jews for the financial crisis?”, with respondents given five categories: a great deal, a lot, a moderate amount, a little, not at all. Among non-Jewish respondents, 24.6 percent of Americans blamed the Jews a moderate amount or more, and 38.4 percent attributed at least a little level of blame to the group. This alarms Malhotra and Margalit. Or perhaps 75 percent of Americans saying a little or no blame (with 60 percent saying no blame at all) isn’t really too bad.

But what the Stanford and Columbia academics find “somewhat surprising” is the partisan breakdown among the American public: “Democrats were especially prone to blaming Jews: while 32 percent of Democrats accorded at least moderate blame, only 18.4 percent of Republicans did so (a statistically significant difference).” Why is this surprising? Because of “the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party’s electoral coalition.
Now you know why the poll is not getting much attention.

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