Opinion

Critical race theory aims to upend the civic order

By its perverse logic, Jews are first and foremost members of the oppressor class, bearing guilt for any wrong done to any non-white group by any white people.

A Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis. Credit: Andy Witchger via Wikimedia Commons.
A Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis. Credit: Andy Witchger via Wikimedia Commons.
Ellie Krasne-Cohen. Credit: Courtesy.
Ellie Krasne-Cohen
Ellie Krasne-Cohen is a visiting fellow at Independent Women’s Forum and founder of Krasne Strategies. She holds an MA from the University of Chicago and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Follow her on Twitter @Parisfreedomfry.

Critical race theory is a popular left-wing ideology that purports to explain the societal inequalities that prevent racial and ethnic minority groups from achieving social and economic success. It presents itself as fighting prejudice, but a close look reveals the driving force behind much of today’s left-wing anti-Semitism.

The clearest example of this occurred last year at a Black Lives Matter Protest. At that July 1 demonstration, there were chants of “Israel we know you murder children, too,” and a Harvard student read a poem that called Israel “puppet master of continents,” invoking the stereotype of evil Jews manipulating politics.

However, the language used cannot be attributed to a folly of youth. These stereotypes have made their way into the halls of Congress.

In 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) paraphrased a popular rap lyric, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” as she tweeted support for her anti-Israel politics. The tweet referred to money and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and made use of the anti-Semitic trope that Jews and their money wield an outsized influence on politics. Omar, a duly elected U.S. congresswoman, embraced the age-old anti-Semitic narrative that wealthy, powerful Jews manipulate our political system for their own gain and against the common good. Left-wing proponents of critical race theory may see themselves as fighting oppression, but their ideology’s logical conclusions are stereotypes and hatred that target the Jews.

It also suggests that race, gender and other identities are social constructs that support larger systems of oppression. White men—by virtue of their male sex and light skin color—are oppressors twice over, while black women are twice oppressed, and white women are both oppressors of blacks and oppressed by men. Within this system, success is possible, but only if one joins the system that critical race theorists believe oppresses people of color. Thus if an oppressed individual achieves success, he or she becomes an oppressor regardless of their identity. If this weren’t bad enough, critical race theorists generally make the mistake of assuming that all Jews are white and hence “privileged” because of their supposed economic power.

Thanks to the Jewish Diaspora and to conversion, a great ethnic variety exists among Jews; there are Indian, Ethiopian, North African and East Asian Jews, as well as those of Central European ancestry. Critical race theory, however, tends to neglect this nuance in favor of the old saw that Jews are white, wealthy and therefore “privileged”—even more than other white people. Moreover, because of this privilege, Jews—who endured a genocide in the 20th century—are unable to be victims of implicit bias. This is truly incredible because according to the FBI, Jews make up 60 percent of all religious-based hate-crime victims.

By the theory’s perverse logic, Jews are first and foremost members of the oppressor class, bearing guilt for any wrong done to any non-white group by any white people. Simply put, critical race theory repeatedly casts Jews as having outsized economic success, even relative to other white people, and this supposed success makes them the worst of the capitalist oppressors.

Anti-Semitism has long depicted Jews as racially inferior and extremely clever puppet masters who surreptitiously control banks, politicians and the media. The clearest example of this was in Nazi Germany, where Jews were targeted both for being an inferior race and having an outsized grip on German political, economic and intellectual life. Modern-day critical race theory does much of the same.

This, coupled with anti-Semitism, both target the Jews and blame them for perceived societal ills. But the goal is not simply hatred of the Jewish people; it is to upend the civic order. Jews are just the scapegoat.

Eleanor Krasne is the manager of public programs for The Heritage Foundation. 

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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