The 2022 report by the policy planning think tank Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), titled Annual Assessment: The Situation and Dynamics of the Jewish People, has revealed many things about the current state of world Jewry. Particularly, it has acknowledged a painful truth: While there is antisemitism on the Right, there is more of it on the Left, it is more sinister, and more institutionalized. Now we can talk about the peril that lurks for the Jews in the “enlightened” Left.
It may be surprising but the US, France, the UK, and Germany, certainly among the strongholds of democracy, are also today’s most active hotbeds of antisemitism. This is true not only in terms of antisemitic attacks, but also, and perhaps mainly, in terms of ideological justification for hatred of Jews, the Jewish state, and excommunicating them from the circles of society.
For example, the report talks about “Normalization of the antisemitic discourse,” where “Antisemitic discourse is becoming normalized and is penetrating mainstream national politics on university campuses and on the street,” with “a clear rise in anti-Israel or anti-Zionist expressions from progressive groups that have significantly crossed into antisemitic territory.”
Worse yet, “Identity politics in the progressive discourse places Jews into the ‘oppressors’ camp (white skin color, social privilege, and power). On this basis, Jewish support for Israel is sometimes equated with complicity with racist policies.”
Western Europe, too, is experiencing “progressive” antisemitism. In France, Muslims and progressives rise above the ideological chasm between them and unite for the “noble” cause of bashing Israel and Jews. “The growing recognition of the cardinal role of Islamist antisemitism in the resurgence of Judeophobia is challenged by ‘woke’ ideology and the intersectionality movement, which jumped from academic theory into left-wing political activism,” details the report. “This ideology incorporates a post-modern corpus of theories, a fusion of the Frankfurt school’s neo-Marxist ideas and the ‘French theory’ that garnered considerable academic truck (sic) in the United States beginning in the 1980s. The common fight against imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and widespread class stratification has thus manifested itself in a convergence of struggles between the radical left and radical Islam, and has in some cases translated into virulent antisemitism.”
Across the channel, the UK is experiencing its own wave of woke antisemitism. “Jewish communities perceive a lack of support in combating antisemitic phenomena,” says the report, “particularly within progressive left circles. British Jews grapple with a frequently imposed framing of Jews in progressive discourse. This framing is an obstacle to fighting antisemitism and contributes significantly to failures to recognize and stand against antisemitism among the broader left.”
I am glad that the cloak of civility has been lifted, or is at least beginning to be lifted from the face of the Left. The “civilized” and “enlightened” nations have always been our worst oppressors. This was true in antiquity, when Babel demolished the first Kingdom of Israel, and Rome demolished the second. It was also true in the late Middle Ages with the Spanish Inquisition, and in the previous century with Germany’s Third Reich.
As the report details, public figures on the Left do not portray themselves as antisemitic. Instead, they disguise their venom behind highbrow contentions of injustice to Palestinians, migrants, people of color, underprivileged population groups, gender equality, and everything and anything related to identity politics. However, the implicit, and sometimes explicit culprit will almost always somehow turn out to be Jewish, the Jews as a whole, or the Jewish state.
This is not antisemitism from the street, from the populace; it is institutional antisemitism, antisemitism as a policy and as a political instrument. Antisemitism from the street is violent, and can be homicidal. Institutional antisemitism is suave, and can be genocidal.
Besides noting the rising antisemitism on the Left, the report also notes the disunity within the Jewish community, particularly with regard to dealing with antisemitism. I will address this issue in one of my coming posts, but I should point out here that joining the ranks of the Left will not save Jews from the whip when it lashes. Now that it is clear that antisemitism is spreading through all parts of society, and especially in democratic countries, it is time for Jewish unity as an antidote for Jew-hatred.