In the fall 2004 issue of the Jewish Political Studies Review, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Natan Sharanksy outlined what he called the “new anti-Semitism”—a resurgence in democratic countries of Jew-hatred aimed at the State of Israel.
In his piece, the author of Fear No Evil and The Case for Democracy presented a “three-D” test (demonization, double standards and delegitimization) that he had devised to distinguish this worrisome phenomenon from acceptable criticism of Israeli policies.
Little did he know at the time that, nearly two decades later, the word “new” could be removed from the description. Indeed, the dastardly triplet not only continues to be applied to the Jewish state by its sworn enemies, but has become mainstream even in the halls of power in Washington.
Rather than being eradicated through exposure, however, the three-D vilification technique has proven so effective that the left began to adapt it to discredit any figure or movement that doesn’t toe its line. The practice is especially blatant during political campaigns, such as the one being conducted in Israel ahead of the Nov. 1 Knesset elections and those surrounding the midterms in the U.S. Congress.
Here, a fourth “D” can be added to the arsenal: disingenuousness. As is the case with the “new-old” anti-Semites who pretend only to be targeting certain policies, the above detractors claim merely to be protesting against a particular politician. In Israel, it’s opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the U.S., it’s former President Donald Trump. That the supporters of each, who constitute half of their countries’ populations, are also treated to hefty doses of the first three Ds is where the last comes in.
Nothing better illustrates this demonization, imposing of double standards, delegitimization and disingenuousness than U.S. President Joe Biden’s prime-time speech to the nation on Thursday in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said ominously. “Donald Trump and the MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
He went on: “Now, I want to be very clear … Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.”
In other words, most Republicans are evil extremists; other than those who’ve crossed over the aisle to side with Democrats, that is.
In Biden’s warped view, MAGA Republicans (who “dominate” the party) “do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. … [They] are determined to take this country backwards … to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who[m] you love.”
It is, though, an apt depiction of a very different republic—the Islamic one run by killer mullahs to whom his administration is desperate to hand over billions of dollars for atom-bomb building and enhanced global terrorism. Still, it is the MAGA “threat to American democracy” that he bemoaned, while assuring that the United States is “not powerless in the face of [this] threat.”
Yes, he said, “history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy. For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not. We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it … We’re all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else.”
Again, he could and should have been addressing the need to stand firm against the danger posed by the regime in Tehran. Instead, he called on Americans to be “stronger, more determined and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to destroying American democracy.”
Attacking one’s enemies in the vein of anti-Semitic Israel-bashing is never complete without the casting of aspersions on the core of their being. Biden didn’t disappoint on this score.
“MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair,” he asserted. “They spread fear and lies—lies told for profit and power.”
Unlike POTUS, of course, who said that he “ran for president because [he] believed we were in a battle for the soul of this nation.” Good luck on winning that imaginary war—or an election, for that matter—by slandering half the voters.
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ ”