The Inconsistency, Ignorance, and Irrationality of Far-Left’s Anti-Semitism
An obscure Midrash (rabbinic commentary), commenting on the name “Mount Sinai,” writes the following:
What is the reason for the name Har Sinai? Because from it hatred (Sina in Hebrew) descended into the world.
Now one may wish to read this as a metaphysical claim. In other words, the moment that the Torah was given, ultimately jumpstarting the tradition that we know to be Judaism, there was an immediate proliferation of anti-Semitism throughout the world.
But, like most rabbinic statements, I somehow doubt that this is to be taken literally. Rather, it seems that the rabbis were pointing out that the ubiquity of anti-Semitism is so irrational, that it almost seems like the only way to rationalize it is via a supernatural decree.
That sentiment is still in full force today, and one does not have to believe in the narrative of Sinai or the divinity of the Torah to fully understand what the rabbis were getting at.
There is a growing anti-Semitic stain on the far-Left.
The same group that can hear a dog-whistle from miles away suddenly refuses to hear the bull-horn of anti-Semitism blaring throughout many within their own movement. The same group that introduced the term “micro-aggression” and “cultural appropriation” because (God forbid) we may offend someone by asking where they are from or wearing a hat from another country – suddenly thinks it’s reasonable to resurface the “greatest hits” of 20th century anti-Semitism – veiled in their historically false slanders of Israel.
Now don’t get me wrong, I consider myself on the Left. I applaud the efforts in this country, many of them sparked by the progressive movement, in diminishing hatred of all kinds. Furthermore, I don’t think that most on the far-left are actually themselves anti-Semitic. But the same group that has repeatedly talked about the importance of recognizing implicit biases against out-groups, calling out racism, and loudly preaching that it is only action and affect, not intention, that matters when people are hurt by a certain word choice – is certainly failing some sort of consistency test here.
This is all, of course, utterly irrational. But it gets worse.
We can talk about the Women’s March leaders refusing to condemn the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan – a pivotal moment in the far-Left’s dip into Jew-hatred. Let’s forget, for a moment, the fact that Farrakhan is an anti-Semite. He is also transphobic, one of the gravest sins within the progressive movement.
Farrakhan has openly and repeatedly said thing like Jews are “responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men.”
Again, forget the anti-Semitism for a moment. This is the type of transphobic statement that one would expect to come straight from the mouth of a white supremacist, and would probably be used as anti-Right wing fodder for years to come. But the progressive leaders of the Women’s March simply would not condemn him. Go and watch the interviews where they are asked to do so, they are painful.
It seems that the force of anti-Semitism is so strong that all other ethics and morals collapse in its face.
We see this same phenomenon happening with Ilhan Omar. Suddenly non-Jewish progressives all across the country are now experts on what exactly constitutes anti-Semitism. Either that or they find someone from the minor depths of the Jewish community who agrees with them, and props them up as representatives of our community as a whole. I've never seen the “black friend defense” used so much in my life.
What ever happened to letting minority groups be the ones to define the terms of their own hatred? – A staple within the progressive movement.
When David Duke vocalized support for Trump, most news sources, certainly all the progressive ones, repeatedly asked him if he would denounce the support from the racist. When Duke recently tweeted that Omar was most important member of congress there was silence.
People that won’t say “radical Islam” because it implies a connection between modern Islam and violence now claim that ideas, such as a global Zionist plot to hypnotize the world (which helped lead to the death of millions of Jews in Europe), is merely criticism of certain unwelcome policies of the Jewish state. People that condemn intellectuals such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris as racist Islamophobes because they dare to criticize certain beliefs prevalent throughout the Muslim world see nothing wrong with claims of Jewish dual-loyalty - an idea that helped lead to some 800,000 Jews being kicked out of Arab countries.
No anti-Semitism to see here, they say. Some of them even go so far as to argue that calling Omar an anti-Semite is an act of Islamophobia. It would be difficult to write a more ironic and satirical sketchy comedy. And I haven't even mentioned what going on with the Left in Britain .
As we all know anti-Semitism has existed for a long time. There are ample cases throughout Greek and Roman history of laws banning “barbaric” Jewish practice and ritual, targeting Jews as a nation, and eventually desecrating and destroying the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
Of course, the greatest proliferator of anti-Semitism was the Christian Church. From various anti-Jewish verses in the New Testament, to early Church fathers constantly deriding Judaism and declaring it to be heresy, all the way to the claim that the Jews killed Jesus; there is no dearth of anti-Jewish sentiment in Christianity.
The trend of Christian anti-Semitism continued and worsened throughout the Middle Ages in the form of blood libels, claims of Jewish well poisoning, torture, and eventually the explosion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Christian lands. Without rehashing the debate over how much Christian anti-Semitism influenced the holocaust, it is clear that the efficacy of much of Hitler and other 20th century anti-Semitic ideas were partially due to their deep seeded foundation in Western culture.
Progressives would probably also not be surprised to hear that most of the anti-Semitic rhetoric throughout history was actually propagated by straight white males (and no, Jews are not white). The authors of the New Testament, the Church fathers, and the medieval rulers who continuously took their Jew hatred to the next level. The writers of the anti-Semitic masterpiece, “the Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, Hitler, the KKK, and many more.
As progressives continue to turn their back and even continue to propagate anti-Semitism
they are embodying the worst of “straight white male” history – something the entire progressive movement is (correctly) bent on fighting. And, if things don’t change quickly, then it seems that the torch of the 2000+ year old tradition of Jew hatred will be officially passed off from straight white males to progressives themselves.
Moshe Daniel Levine is a regular contributor of blog postings on Jewish Values Online.
Please note: All opinions expressed in Blog Postings and comments on the Jewish Values Online site and through Jewish Values Online are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, beliefs, or position of Jewish Values Online, or those associated with it.
Is there anything we can (or should) do to combat the stereotypes and frequent misinformation about Jews in television and movies? Or does drawing even more attention to it just make it even worse?
See answers from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis here.
If you have a question about Jewish values that you would like to ask rabbis from multiple denominations, click here to enter your question. We will ask rabbis on our panel for answers and post them. You can also search our repository of over 800 questions and answers about Jewish values.
For more great Jewish content, please subscribe in the right-hand column. Once you confirm your subscription, you'll get an email whenever new content is published to the Jewish Values Online blog.