(July 20, 2018 / JNS) The drive to ghettoize Israel merges with the campaign to re-ghettoize the Jews.
The goal is to return Jews as a people to marginalized statelessness. So, quarrels over whether anti-Zionism amounts to anti-Semitism waste time. As the late Herman Taube—a Holocaust escapee, and Yiddish and English poet and novelist—once observed: “We have some Jews who, you spit in their face, they tell you it’s raining.”
This isn’t rain. It’s a hurricane of hate.
To mark “Quds [Jerusalem] Day” last month, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, declared “70 years have passed since … England and America planted in the Islamic world an accursed and criminal tree [Israel]. … [A]ll the problems of the Islamic world stem from the existence of the false, counterfeit, historically rootless, and identity-less regime named Israel.”
But don’t worry, Salami said. Due to Iran’s ever-increasing might and that of allies like Hezbollah in Lebanon, with more than 120,000 missiles covering all Israel, the Jewish state “must submit to [its] sealed fate.” Americans “coming to your rescue is like an ambulance coming after the patient has already died.”
Salami’s “all the Islamic world’s problems stem from Israel” recalls German road signs of the 1930s: “The Jews are our misfortune.” It echoes Marxist jargon in the Palestine Liberation Organization covenant describing Israel as a fascist threat to world peace, and Hamas’s Protocols of the Elders of Zion-inspired assertion that Jews and Zionism are behind most wars and revolutions.
In France, more than a dozen Jews have been murdered by Muslims since 2012. In Sweden, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported a few weeks after Salami’s speech, Jews caught between jihadists and neo-Nazis fear for their future. Stefan Dozzi, head of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, said “we will eventually have to flee this country.”
Ireland’s Senate approved legislation criminalizing trade with Israeli settlements. Given Palestinian rejection of a West Bank/Gaza Strip state—with eastern Jerusalem as its capital—in exchange for peace with Israel in 2000, 2001 and 2008, perhaps Jewish communities in disputed territory are not the main problem. Regardless, the Irish bill recalls the Arab League’s economic boycott, begun even before the Jewish state declared independence in 1948, and Nazi laws banning trade with Jews, laws marking the beginning of the fatal isolation of European Jewry.
In America, the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement—apparently having little effect on Israel’s expanding international trade—advances its true goal, censoring Israel’s supporters to undermine the Jewish state. BDS efforts include trying to “mark off, isolate, and ghettoize Jews supporting Israel on campuses, while characterizing Jews in ways that are deeply worrying,” according to Kenneth Waltzer of the faculty-based Academic Engagement Network.
Leading the ghettoization is Students for Justice in Palestine. It attempts to ally “progressive” (often, in fact, reactionary-left) organizations and racial, religious and gender minority groups. This identity politics excludes Jewish students presumed to support Israel, and dismisses Jews as “privileged,” “white” and even “oppressors.”
In California, Democratic state assembly candidate Maria Estrada “enjoys” hearing one of America’s most vocal anti-Semites, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and last year claimed “Democrats turn a blind eye to the genocide against Palestinians and justify it by bringing up the Holocaust. … Anyone who believes they are one of ‘God’s chosen people’ automatically feels superior and justified in all they do.”
Despite numerous such smears, Estrada claims that she’s “anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitic.” Of course not. Neither are the Democratic Socialists of America, who support BDS. One of their members is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley in their Brooklyn, N.Y., primary and appears headed to Congress. In May, Oscasio-Cortez called Israel’s killing of Palestinian rioters—a majority of whom admittedly were members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both U.S.-designated terrorist groups—“a massacre.”
Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez said Ocasio-Cortez “represents the future of our party.” With congressional candidates like Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, an “intersectional feminist” who tars Israel as an apartheid regime, and Leslie Cockburn in Virginia, co-author of 1991’s conspiracy-theory book, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, Perez may be on to something.
This month Israel’s Labor Party suspended its generations-old membership in the Socialist International after the worldwide movement adopted a pro-BDS resolution. Knesset member Hilik Bar, Labor’s international secretary, slammed the resolution as “biased, blind to facts or reality, and partially anti-Semitic.” He knows it’s not just raining.
Eric Rozenman is communications consultant for the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Any opinions expressed above are his own.