Rightwing antisemitism is easy to spot. It’s in your face, covered in swastikas, wearing white hoods or Hawaiian shirts, holding tiki torches, and there’s no question that it exists.
However, leftwing antisemitism is different. It’s subversive and covert to most non-Jews, and even to some Jews. Every once in awhile, when engaged in discussions on this topic, someone demands proof of leftwing antisemitism. Here I provide a handy list one can whip out when needed.
How Leftwing Antisemitism Manifests
BDS – when the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement is adopted by progressive groups and institutions, such as labor unions, student governments, political parties, city councils, or lauded by socialist vehicles such as Jacobin Magazine, to end “apartheid” in Israel, and ONLY targets Jewish Israeli businesses, meanwhile there is no apartheid in Israel, I know we have a problem on the left.
IHRA – when the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is loudly opposed by progressive groups, including the majority of academics that include Jewish Studies professors, despite the fact that it does nothing to inhibit legitimate criticism of Israel, I know we have a problem on the left.
Jewish Studies – when Jewish Studies professors participate in a “Jewish Studies Activist Network” where they coordinate the publication of papers and Op-Eds, using their credentials as a shield to falsely demonize or delegitimize Israel, developed alternative definitions to the IHRA definition of antisemitism like the Jerusalem Declaration or the Nexus definition to protect those who wish to demonize Israel, and has blacklisted pro-Israel Jewish Studies academics to the point of pro-Israel academics being forced to start their own “Jewish Studies Zionist Network,” I know we have a problem on the left.
New Israel Fund – when one of the leading academic critics of Israel, David N. Myers, who is an active participant in the efforts of the “Jewish Studies Activist Network,” is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair of Jewish history at UCLA and the President of the New Israel Fund’s (NIF) Board of Directors, I know we have a problem on the left.
Justice Democrats – when the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, organizations that were founded by the former campaign staff for Bernie Sanders’s Presidential bid, have publicly vowed to infiltrate and transform the Democratic party into a Marxist-friendly, socialist party, and promotes anti-Israel candidates to primary centrist Democrats in safe blue districts, I know we have a problem on the left.
DEI – when Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Departments in corporations and at universities ignore the complaints of Jews as the world’s most historically persecuted minority due to perceived “whiteness,” and fail to act to protect Jewish students and Jewish employees from that same persecution, such as what has occurred at City Universities of New York, Stanford, and George Washington University, I know we have a problem on the left.
SJP/ISM/PYM – when Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) – organizations that actively promote BDS measures in student government on campuses across the country and who are closely tied with progressive student groups despite their verifiable support for extremist religious terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or extremist socialist terrorist groups such as Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (both of which were created with the assistance of the KGB), all which justify the murder and attacks on Jewish civilians, including children, anywhere in Israel as legitimate resistance against “settler colonists,” I know we have a problem on the left.
Student Government – when universities give purity tests to any Jewish student running for student government and/or requires a denunciation for supporting our indigenous homeland for those Jewish students already in student government, or face impeachment, as with the case of former Student Government Vice President at University of Southern California, Rose Ritch, who was pushed out due to her support for Israel and a vile impeachment campaign launched against her, I know we have a problem on the left.
Mapping Project – when a Boston group of secretive BDS activists, including the not-so-secret BDS activist Calla Walsh, an Ed Markey volunteer, promoted a map of Jewish institutions as targets, it was rightfully considered a hitlist that came on the heels of the “Globalize the Intifada” campaign, which is a call to violence. The fact that anyone supported this tells me I know we have a problem on the left.
When They Eat their Own – when Ed Markey’s progressive supporters, coined “The Markeyverse.” turned on him because Markey’s position on Israel was not sufficiently mean to Israel and failed to credit Israel with “instigating violence in Gaza” and failed to call Israel “apartheid,” I know we have a problem on the left.
Movement for Black Lives – when Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder and self-proclaimed Marxist Patrisse Cullors called for “an end to Israel” in 2015, and the parent organization of BLM, the Movement for Black Lives, publishes position statements endorsing BDS and accuses Israel of “settler colonialism” in its own indigenous land and human rights abuses including the false allegation of “targeting civilian targets” in Gaza, and chants “from Ferguson to Palestine” in attempts to equate Israeli self-defense with police brutality and institutional racism in the US against Black Americans, I know we have a problem on the left.
Deadly Exchange – when Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization whose Twitter account was recently discovered to be run by a non-Jewish, notorious terrorist supporter and Berkeley professor, Dr. Hatem Bazian, launches a false campaign to claim Israel trains US police officers on policing tactics and attributes any police brutality in the US to that training, when really the only training Israel provides US police departments is training in anti-terrorism, and never trains US police on “policing,” and the City of Durham, North Carolina adopts a resolution to refuse to allow any training in Israel for its police department, including a statement by its Jewish mayor, Steve Schewel, equating Jewish self-defense with perpetrators of the Holocaust, I know we have a problem on the left.
Amnesty / Human Rights Watch – when human rights groups have falsely labeled Israel an apartheid state, ignoring the fact that apartheid requires a single-governing entity to be in charge of and separate people based on ethnicity or race or religion, and ignoring the fact that Gaza and Areas A and B in the West Bank are completely separate, self-governing entities with their governments, laws, and passports pursuant to unilateral disengagement by Israel in Gaza in 2005 and the Oslo Two treaty that established the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1995, and these false accusations are summarily believed and promoted with impunity, despite the fact that the founder of Human Rights Watch calling out the organization he founded for its antisemitism in the pages of the New York Times before he passed away, I know we have a problem on the left.
Corbyn and UK Labour – when the leader of an entire political party declares Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends, lays a wreath at the graves of the Black September terrorist group who kidnapped, tortured, and murdered Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, continuously blames Israel for the conflict between Israel and the Arabs, calls on Arab resistance as a right “in all its forms,” sat on a panel with Hamas leaders in 2012, and did nothing about hundreds of social media attacks on Jewish Labour members, I know we have a problem on the left.
Women’s March – when the founders of the Women’s March were replaced in an effort to diversify its image, and the remaining Jewish founder, Vanessa Wruble, was pushed out by antisemitic Farrakhan supporters, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez, and whose honorary co-chairs included the antisemitic Angela Davis, I know we have a problem on the left.
Chicago Dyke March and DC Pride Parade – when the organizers of the Chicago Dyke March banned rainbow flags with Stars of David emblazoned on them in 2017 and the DC Pride Parade did the same in 2019, but they did not ban Palestinian flags, and kicked out the Jewish lesbians who carried them and had participated in the march for decades, and then falsely accused these women as right-wing provocateurs when all they wanted to do was celebrate the intersectionality of their marginalized identities of being Jewish and being gay, I know we have a problem on the left.
It’s not all Bad News, Though
BDS – Jewish groups successfully petitioned the California Democratic Party to recognize Israel’s right to exist, its right to safety, and its right to self-defense, while also recognizing the right for Palestinians to have independence, sovereignty, and dignity through a peace directly negotiated by the two parties. It rejected BDS and the far left wing’s attempts for absolute non-engagement with anyone supporting Israel. This effort was championed and led by Democrats for Israel California and endorsed by Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI).
IHRA – as of January 17, 2023, over 1000 global entities have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, including 39 countries, various institutions, various counties, cities, provinces and states, and organizations.
Jewish Studies – the creation of the Jewish Studies Zionist Network was a game-changer in the realm of the gatekeepers of Jewish Studies efforts to demonize Israel with over 200 distinguished academic supporters including Dr. Gil Troy of McGill University and Dr. Judea Pearl of UCLA, signing on to support Israel and provide students with factual and not emotion-based education on the conflict. Additionally, a nearly $11 million endowment was returned to the donor when the donor expressed outrage that the Israel Studies chair that she was funding, professor Liora Halperin, was actively involved in debasing and defaming Israel in the course of her official position. Though the school gave Halperin a new position in the Jewish Studies department, the return of that endowment was significant and other donors must do the same for any schools they’re supporting who are using that money in ways that are unacademic and antithetical to the donors’ intentions.
New Israel Fund – on its face, the New Israel Fund exists to promote the secular democratic country that Israel was founded as. However, behind the scenes, it is actively promoting the destruction of Israel and this was revealed via Wikileaks when its former Associate Director, Hedva Radanovitz, gleefully expressed to the US Embassy that Israel would lose its Jewish majority in a few years and would be, therefore, more democratic. The positive is that NIF was exposed. NIF is currently paying organizations in Israel to protest judicial reform and despite that being a positive or negative, a US NGO should not be actively influencing domestic politics via destabilization of a sovereign country and ally.
Justice Democrats – the Democratic party seems to have woken up slightly to this calculated effort of a “hostile takeover” (their words) by the Justice Democrats. We have seen Democrats overcome the attempts to primary more centrist incumbents. One of the biggest wins for Jewish Democrats was the stunning loss for Alcee Hastings Congressional seat by Omari Hardy. Like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib before him, he’d offered support for Israel and claimed to be against BDS prior to his campaign. Unlike them, he chose to come out as an Israel hater and BDS supporter in Palm Beach County before his election – Meanwhile, Palm Beach County’s population is almost 16% Jewish. DMFI led a successful campaign to defeat Hardy and defeated he was!
DEI – Organizations like the Louis D. Brandeis Center and the Lawfare Project are actively involved in filing EEOC and Civil Rights complaints on behalf of Jewish employees and students who have experienced persecution at the hands of the DEI departments within their organizations. We are hopeful these will be successful and the EEOC has found cause for some of these to go forward with the lawsuits.
SJP/ISM/PYM – SJP was refused permission to establish a club at Fordham University and the denial of this made its way to the New York Supreme Court which held that Fordham was within its rights to refuse the club permission based on the persecution of Jewish students by SJP and its nationwide activities of engaging in disruptive and coercive actions instead of enhancing open dialogue and mutual learning. Proof that we can win if we take it to Court.
Student Government – Rose Ritch’s complaints of persecution for being a pro-Israel Jewish student have led to a federal investigation into the matter and resulted in an amazing response from the Jewish faculty of USC. Despite what harassment she faced, she has been shown immense support from the Jewish community and we hope the US Department of Education finds for Rose and against the Student Government of USC for violating her civil rights under Title IX.
Mapping Project – the Mapping Project received so little support. It was seen for what it was, a hitlist of Jewish and other organizations. It was rightly deemed antisemitic and dangerous, so much so that even the national BDS movement denounced it (publicly), and the heroes of those who created the map, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, also rightfully condemned the project. The only institution that publicly supported the Mapping Project calling it a “vital service,” walked back their endorsement with a condemnation and explained that their “vital service” comment didn’t intend to show support for such an antisemitic endeavor. LOL
When They Eat their Own – As previously stated, Ed Markey learned that stating the obvious, “Israel has a right to defend itself,” will result in the elimination of support from those who believe otherwise on the far left. As a result of those words, Markey faced enormous backlash from his young far left supporters. As we saw in 2016, those who fail the purity tests performed by the left give way to allowing a Trump to take power. Many of those on the left who decidedly chose not to support “corrupt Hillary” have failed to learn those lessons. But the good news is that many on the left have learned that lesson. Bernie Sanders, for one, learned this lesson by endorsing Joe Biden for the 2024 election. He realizes what’s at stake. I wish his supporters did too.
Movement for Black Lives – what has come out since BLM and the Movement for Black Lives publicly endorsed Israel’s destruction and BDS, respectively, is the fact that these Black movements to fight oppression of Black Americans are being co-opted for the benefit of a foreign entity that actively persecutes the gay community and Black Palestinians. Unfortunately, this connection hasn’t been made sufficiently by those who need to promote this fact.
Deadly Exchange – Steve Pomerantz, former assistant director of the FBI under Clinton, was one of the architects of the exchange program between Israel and the US in counterterrorism tactics. Its been a very positive tool for the US in fighting domestic and foreign terrorism threats, something we’re seeing more of especially from domestic rightwing groups. The fact that leftwing groups would be against more training for US police in counterterrorism in the face of this threat is just counterintuitive and demonstrates a severe lack of understanding. The good news is their efforts failed in pressuring the Seattle Police Department prohibiting counterterrorism training with Israel.
Amnesty / Human Rights Watch – Amnesty and HRW have both been accused of explicit bias against Israel as demonstrated by the comments of their leadership, including, but not limited to, Ken Roth and Omar Shakir of HRW, and Frank Johansson, Deborah Hyams, and Kristyan Benedict of Amnesty. There are justifiable accusations of affiliations with the Muslim Brotherhood on the part of staff in both organizations. Finally, both Amnesty and HRW issued reports condemning Ukraine for “how” it was fighting the Russian invasion. This was met with shocked outcry by the world body and Amnesty attempted to walk some of their report back. But the damage was done and neither organization holds the same level of respect they once did.
Corbyn and UK Labour – Rightfully, Jeremy Corbyn was both ousted as the leader of the UK Labour party and was suspended as a member of the UK Labour party due to his personal intervention in preventing adequate measures be taken against antisemitic members. This was solely accomplished by the entire Jewish community in the UK uniting to hold him accountable. Singularly, they could be ignored. Collectively, despite their very small number, they could not be ignored. The UK Jewish community alone is why Corbyn was held accountable.
Women’s March – The Women’s March replaced their antisemitic chairpersons with new chairpersons. Unfortunately, some of the new chairs also hold antisemitic views, but they’ve realized that making those views public does enormous damage to their cause. Sadly, what should’ve been a huge vehicle to promote women’s rights has faded into the background due to the controversies they brought upon themselves.
Chicago Dyke March and DC Pride Parade – unfortunately there’s not much good news in response to this one. These two organizations have continued to stand by their antisemitism. However, Jewish LGBT+ groups have responded in Chicago by holding a competing march that includes Jewish Lesbians.