A good thing to do during this anti-Zionist harvest time is to look across the fields and recollect how, not so long ago, we were diligently tilling the empty soil and planting seeds, faithful in the value of our toil.
Obsessed with spreading demonization of the Jewish state across the Western world by any means necessary and at any cost, time and again anti-Israel campaigners have fought tooth and nail to insert defamatory anti-Israel language into resolutions and bylaws of unions, NGOs, political parties and other institutions advancing unrelated progressive agendas. Time and again, this hijacking has driven more enlightened activists out of the host movement, contributing to its decline.
Yes, but the people involved in each such declined movement didn’t disappear, not did they abandon their left-leaning views. These movements declined because the people inside them realized that the ideology behind them were not radical enough, and therefore began seeking out better foundations, which necessarily meant discontinuing the old movements and building new movements from the ground up.
The phenomenon was first evident during the lead-up to the 1991 Gulf War, when many Jewish American peace activists encountered a threatening environment at antiwar rallies due to aggressive anti-Zionist campaigning. “I didn’t feel comfortable or safe outside the Jewish contingent,” said Betsy Tessler, leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the staunchly antiwar New Jewish Agenda.
By the time the next Gulf War came around, militant anti-Zionists had become far more organized and determined not merely to piggyback their issue onto the antiwar agenda, but to push out those who were unwilling to accept it. The antiwar movement was primarily led by two far-left coalitions, International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), an uneasy partnership strained greatly by the former’s promotion of anti-Zionist activists before the war even began. When Tikkun editor and leading UFPJ leader Michael Lerner openly criticized the anti-Israeli bent of the demonstrations in January 2003, ANSWER banned him from speaking at its rallies. This led to a splintering in UFPJ and an overall weakening of the antiwar movement.
What this article deliberately avoids mentioning is the infusion of the anti-war movement with awareness of the 9/11 false flag and that Israel was behind it. One of the first groups we approached was none other than the ANSWER Coalition, as it was obvious that nothing would implode the war narrative and negative stereotyping of Muslims faster than realization that 9/11 was a planned deception designed to promote the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and encourage Islamophobia.
Much the same thing happened to the Occupy Wall Street movement that swept through New York and other major U.S. cities in 2011. The official Twitter account of the main OWS leadership in New York briefly endorsed the so-called “Freedom Waves Flotilla” that attempted to break through the Israeli blockade of Gaza in November 2011, while Occupy Oakland had an “Intifada tent” and the official Occupy Boston web site promoted an “emergency march” on the city’s Israeli consulate. Mainstream OWS organizers refused to denounce protesters who carried anti-Israeli, and often brazenly anti-Jewish, signs and banners.
Daniel Jonathan Sieradski, a liberal Jewish writer and activist who led a well-attended Kol Nidre prayer service across the street from the protests in Zuccotti Park on Yom Kippur, warned that the growing infusion of anti-Israel messaging into official OWS activities was leading “many Jewish supporters of OWS who do not identify as anti-Zionist” to believe “that they could no longer be associated with the movement.” “Once this movement becomes explicitly anti-Israel, you’ll have effectively alienated three times more people than you’ll attract,” he predicted. Within a few months, the movement was effectively dead.
Why was it dead, though? Because OWS was essentially an anarchist movement opposed to leadership (especially autocracy) and all violence, therefore all the serious activists who understood the need for autocratic leadership and willingness to use retaliatory violence to defeat an enemy as powerful as Jewry figured out that OWS was a useless movement to stay in despite its elementary good intentions.
A related dynamic was evident in the unraveling of Britain’s Labour Party this spring, driven by the reluctance of Jeremy Corbyn and others to disavow a small minority of radical anti-Zionists within the party’s ranks. Britain’s Jewish community, which “once looked to Labour as its natural home,” wrote leftist Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, one of the country’s leading Jewish journalists, “is fast reaching the glum conclusion that Labour has become a cold house for Jews.”
It’s difficult to find a progressive cause that hasn’t been compromised in some way by the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, from the antiglobalization movement to the fight against sexual assault. “BDS destroys everything it touches,” observes Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson.
We destroy whatever proves unworthy of us, primarily by showing its well-meaning followers that they could be part of building something better instead of staying with something which will never give them the result they want because it was never designed to.
What accounts for this extraordinary nihilism on the part of supposedly progressive BDS activists? Holding an extreme position on Israel is one thing—that can be the result of ideology, religious beliefs, ignorance or something else. Being willing to sacrifice all other causes and concerns ordinarily convergent with one’s worldview for the sake of hurting the Jewish state is something altogether different.
This unusual grade of obsessive, self-destructive antipathy is a hallmark of classical eliminationist anti-Semitism. Unlike ordinary intergroup prejudice “found in the suspicion and resentment which are often directed against neighbors of another tribe, another race, another faith, or from another place,” explains historian Bernard Lewis, anti-Semitism is a “special and peculiar hatred” that attributes to Jews “secret and diabolical power.”
What Lewis calls “ordinary intergroup prejudice” is ethnobigotry. What Lewis calls “special and peculiar hatred” is Amalekism. So of course they are “unlike”. The question is: which of the two represents a higher moral level?
Although anti-Semites often go to great pains to avoid expressing their hatred as anti-Jewish (indeed, they coined the term “anti-Semitism” itself as a politically correct euphemism for Judenhass), this unique cognitive signature is easy enough to spot—just take a measurement of what the subjects are prepared to sacrifice to harm Jews.
This is an outright lie. “Anti-Semitism” was a term coined by Jews themselves to obfuscate Jewishness within a linguistic category called “Semite” that includes non-Jews, so as to portray hostility towards Jews as a form of racism, rather than as an anti-racist response to Jewish racism towards non-Jews.
This is not to say that there exist no actual anti-Semites (ie. those who are hostile to non-Jewish Semites as well as to Jewish Semites), but those are rightists. Leftists view non-Jewish Semites as fellow victims of Jewish racism, and therefore stand with them.
To date, however, mainstream liberals in America have been reluctant to call out the anti-Semites wreaking havoc within the ranks of the Left. If black lives—or socioeconomic justice, peace, women’s rights, etc.—really matter to them, why have they allowed the cancer to metastasize this long?
Because they are in the middle of a struggle within their own minds about whether to remain False Leftists or to become True Leftists. We have faith that they will make the correct decision, and look forward to hearing from more and more of them in the near future: