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Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt loves the spotlight. He got the attention he craves with an appearance last week on “The Breakfast Show,” a syndicated radio program hosted by Lenard Larry McKelvey, who goes professionally by the name of “Charlamagne tha God.”
Greenblatt’s ostensible purpose in doing the segment was to rebuild a black-Jewish coalition by fawning on “tha God.” What got the country’s attention, however, was his invocation of the claim that right-wingers who worry about “globalism” are the real threats to the Jews.
The ADL, the American Jewish Committee and other liberal legacy groups are in agreement on this. They assert that the term is a dog whistle for Jews.
More to the point, it is axiomatic on the left that any critique of those who prioritize support for international organizations and downgrade national sovereignty in pursuit of woke policies on a host of issues is, by definition, antisemitic.
If one confines one’s gaze to the fever swamps of the far-right, this might seem justified.
Crackpot extremists—such as those who commit heinous, violent crimes or fantasize about doing so—routinely invoke conspiracy theories modeled on the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The goal of these imagined Jewish plots is to destroy white Christian America.
Looked at from this perspective, any mention of a “New World Order” or “Great (global) Reset” is indicative of Jew-hatred; and anyone uttering them is a tinfoil-hatted nutcase.
This is why the left frequently accuses politicians and pundits who point to the influence of Jewish mega-donor George Soros of antisemitism, or at least of being fellow travelers of hate groups.
The problem with the promiscuous hurling of such allegations—especially when wielded by people, like Greenblatt, posing as fair-minded experts on antisemitism—is that it ignores two basic facts.
One is that there are such things as globalists. They are powerful people with real impact who gather at conferences held by respected institutions like the World Economic Forum (WEF), which convenes in a fancy resort in Davos, Switzerland. And they are not shy about using terms like “New World Order” and “Great Reset” when advocating for far-reaching economic and environmental policy shifts that would undermine the national sovereignty of the United States and other countries, while drastically affecting people’s lifestyles (not, of course, those of the wealthy elites who fly in to Davos and other conference venues on private jets) for the worse.
The second is that the people who actually promote globalist policies are far more likely than American conservatives to support of the kind of woke ideology that acts as a permission slip for antisemitism.
Downplaying black antisemitism
The host of “The Breakfast Show” has often defended those accused of antisemitism, such as hatemonger Louis Farrakhan, whom he’s had as a guest.
Greenblatt can’t be entirely faulted for choosing to go on the New York-based program with a large nationwide audience, the majority of whom are African-Americans. Since the ADL’s job is both to confront antisemites and to educate those influenced by them, it’s arguable that it’s his duty to call out the dangerous growth of antisemitism in the black community, fueled by such prominent figures as Farrakhan and rap singer/fashion mogul Kanye West.
Though Greenblatt did this to some extent in his hour-long interview, most of his focus was on the idea that Jews and blacks face common enemies on the far-right, which is true. And though he can’t be blamed for taking a shot at West’s dinner partner, former President Donald Trump, doing so enabled him to engage in deflection.
This entailed tilting the conversation away from an epidemic taking place a short subway ride from the studio: black attacks on Orthodox Jews. He was thus able to ignore the role that woke intersectional ideology (which the ADL shockingly included in anti-hate educational programs) and the Black Lives Matter movement (which the ADL endorsed) play in legitimizing antisemitism.
Greenblatt predicts doom for American Jews
As befitting a former Obama White House staffer—who’s done his best to transform the ADL from a nonpartisan group to an operation dedicated to aiding Democrats—Greenblatt truly warmed to his subject when conveying his belief that support for right-wingers will lead to a nightmare for American Jews that will send them fleeing for their lives.
After saying he was shocked by the growth of antisemitism in recent years, he added: “Six years from now, if someone said to me antisemitic incidents will have tripled again; synagogues will be shut down; Jewish day schools will be closed because of threats; Jews will have left in large numbers; Tucker Carlson will be the nominee for the GOP and will say … ‘there will be no globalists in my administration;’ that shouldn’t sound so crazy.”
That the incendiary quote made headlines around the country and was the fodder for a lot of online and cable-news, talking-head discussions was predictable.
It contained a lot to unpack, not least of which is the utter irresponsibility of someone tasked with defending Jews to disseminate such a dystopian and utterly unlikely scenario.
Decent people of all political stripes, Jews and non-Jews alike, should be vigilant against hate, lest antisemites and those who incite violence against Jews gain more influence than they already have.
Yet those who make such wild claims—or foolishly use any antisemitic incident, or wrong stands or behavior of politicians they don’t like to justify inappropriate comparisons to Nazi Germany (something that Jewish Democrats like Greenblatt have repeatedly done)—forget that America is not Europe in the 1930s.
Unlike just about every other country, the U.S. has never officially sanctioned antisemitism. And every poll shows that the overwhelming majority of non-Jews in America are not antisemitic and support the State of Israel.
The United States isn’t perfect, and antisemitism is a growing problem. But American exceptionalism still holds. Indeed, the main threat to Jewish life in the U.S. is not from those who would foment a wave of pogroms, but from massive rates of assimilation and intermarriage that testify to the affection and acceptance that Jews continue to experience.
Greenblatt’s casual claim that opposition to globalism and globalists will signal the end of Jewish life in America is the kind of intellectually dishonest assertion that is itself a threat to Jewish interests. It’s very good for ADL fundraising, however.
“The Great Reset” is no conspiracy theory
Far from being solely the product of extremists, belief in “The Great Reset” is not a conspiracy theory. It was the actual title of a conference held by the WEF in 2021 with A-listers like Britain’s King Charles III and the heads of Microsoft and Mastercard.
The point of the exercise was to exploit the economic and social chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic to promote radical environmental policies and other economic changes that would erode national sovereignty and capitalism.
WEF chairman Klaus Schwab has been talking about the need for a “New World Order” to enable changes that conservatives and others have long resisted. You don’t have to engage in wild speculation to understand the objective of this effort. Schwab, who is the living incarnation of a Bond movie villain down to the German accent, is explicit about it in his writings and on the website of the group he leads.
The “Green New Deal” proposed by congressional Squad ringleader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with its calls for phasing out not just carbon-based energy but meat consumption and routine air travel, is very much in the spirit of this “reset.”
As a cogent collection of essays on all this, Against The Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra The New World Order, edited by critic, novelist and historian Michael Walsh, makes clear, this warmed-over Marxism is designed to ensure that in the above reimagined modern world, “we will own nothing and be happy about it.”
As the comings and goings of the Davos set and mimics show, the face of actual globalist thinking—as opposed to mad fantasies about Jewish plots that Greenblatt speaks of—is that of the elite liberal establishment. It’s made up of the same people who advocate for censorship of conservative views on social-media platforms like Twitter—something the ADL chief boasts of doing.
Just as important, the globalist mindset is linked to woke ideas about race and privilege. These notions not only create greater societal division, but are directly hostile to Jews, who, in the bizarro realm of critical race theory, are viewed as white oppressors. And it is those who prioritize multilateral bodies, such as the U.N. and its various agencies idealized by the Davos set, who are enabling institutions that are themselves engines of international antisemitism devoted to delegitimizing the one Jewish state on the planet.
Indeed, the claim that attacks on Soros, a main backer of “Great Reset”-inspired schemes (i.e. the election of American prosecutors who don’t believe in jailing criminals), is inherently antisemitic, is just as bogus as the insistence that opposition to globalism is about hatred for Jews.
That’s why those who worry about real-life globalism are not the ones Jews should be anxious about. To the contrary, liberal institutions that promote the ideas of “The Great Reset” are the most potent force driving Jew-hatred in our time.
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.