Liberals’ willful blindness to the anti-Semitism raging on the left is a dangerous game.
Recently the national co-chair of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory, attended a Nation of Islam event in which Louis Farrakhan called Jews his “enemy” and held them responsible for “this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.” Mallory had previously posted a photo of herself with Farrakhan and praised him as the “GOAT” or “greatest of all time” in her caption.
When Mallory finally responded to critics, she cast herself as a victim and defended Farrakhan. Fellow Women’s March co-chairs Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez also defended Farrakhan.
While liberal groups (Jewish and otherwise) have indicated they’ll put up with the anti-Semitism in the name of left-wing social justice, some Jews declined to participate in the Women’s March-sponsored National School Walkout against guns this month.
Writing in the Forward, Abigail D.M. Fisher criticized the dissenters. One school, SAR Academy in Riverdale, merely held its own anti-gun march on a different day, to both protest against gun violence and anti-Semitism. Fisher attacked the kids for protesting anti-Semitism: “By distancing themselves from the official protest, SAR made clear that anti-Semitism is more important to them than gun-violence. In other words, ‘Judaism First.’ ”
Fisher’s ugly smear, of course, plays into centuries of anti-Semitic libels casting Jews as disloyal or indifferent to the blood spilled by gentiles.
Resorting to hateful stereotypes in response to accusations of anti-Semitism is, sadly, a bit of a trend on the left. When the Republican Jewish Coalition demanded the resignations of seven Democratic members of Congress who have met with Farrakhan while in office, one of the RJC’s targets, Andre Carson, responded by refusing to denounce the preacher of hate and asking Jewish Republicans to denounce Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — playing the classic anti-Semitic dual-loyalty card.
In a story on Thursday, Josefin Dolsten at the Jewish Telegraph Agency spoke to several leaders of various Jewish organizations. None of them were leaving the Women’s March. “Jewish progressive leaders told JTA that they were hurt and disappointed by Farrakhan’s statement and Mallory’s presence at the event, but not ready to walk away from the movement that advocates for women’s rights, immigration reform and LGBTQ equality, among other issues. Rather, they would prefer to engage with its leadership,” Dolsten reported.
Similarly, when Washington, DC, City Councilman Trayon White Sr. made the eye-popping comment last week that Jewish wealthmongers are “controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities,” it was again liberal Jews who gave him cover.
The group Jews United for Justice released a statement of support saying they “look forward to working with him toward deeper understanding of anti-Semitism and toward our collective liberation.” His Jewish colleague Brianne Nadeau put up a Facebook post accepting White’s apology but blaming President Trump.
When video surfaced of other anti-Semitic comments by White, this time about their supposed control of banks and of the government, Rebecca Ennen, deputy director of Jews United for Justice, made White the victim: “I hope that people will accept this apology in a compassionate spirit, and I’m disappointed in some of the ways that racism has come out towards Councilmember White in this moment, that everyday politicians in this country say all kinds of bigoted things, and people are calling for his head on a platter when he’s really trying to learn and grow.”
Getting condemnation of the Farrakhan-aligned pols from the Anti-Defamation League, meanwhile, was like pulling teeth. And when the group, now run by a former Obama staffer who has made ADL’s mission increasingly partisan, finally commented, it excluded Keith Ellison — the Minnesota congressman and current deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, who has had a decades-long relationship with Farrakhan and has continued to meet with him in office.
In a New York Times op-ed this month, Jonathan Weissman called out Jews who ignore growing anti-Semitism — except his criticism, too, was limited to the alt-right.
Weissman writes: “For Jews, this is personal. Had ordinary Germans and Poles and Ukrainians and Austrians and Frenchmen not played along, had they continued to shop in Jewish establishments and visit Jewish doctors, the Final Solution may, just may, not have been quite so final. To stand up to creeping totalitarianism, we needn’t throw ourselves under the tank treads. We just need to not play the game.”
Exactly. So it’s time for liberal Jews to stop playing along.