Alan Kotlyar
Alan Kotlyar

Mr Greenblatt, Don’t Play Down Left Antisemitism

On January 4, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, called out modern anti-Jewish hate on the left and on the right in an article he published on the Times Of Israel website:

Greenblatt, On The Right:

“And in recent years we’ve seen democratic norms shattered again and again, particularly by right-wing authoritarians who recklessly have normalized a toxic brand of conspiratorial extremism. The attempted January 6 insurrection spurred by accusations of a stolen election and encouraged by the rhetoric of President Trump himself and aided and abetted by conservative media outlets; freshman members of Congress repeating antisemitic QAnon conspiracies and the big lie about the 2020 election, or trumpeting hate through efforts like the short-lived America First Caucus calling for ‘common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.’ The recent efforts to sanitize the violence on January 6th literally have no parallel in modern times but evoke the legacy of laundering the crimes of Confederates after the Civil War.”

Greenblatt, On The Left:

“While there is no precise parallel on the other side of the political spectrum, we should not underestimate the danger of an overcorrection driven by the far-left flank of the progressive movement. There are real forces that repel ordinary Americans but seem to be gaining steam. And yet the rise of cancel culture, the shrinking spaces for open discourse, the tolerance toward certain types of intolerance, and the determined efforts to undermine institutions like academia, law enforcement, and other bodies bodes ill for society, one bound together by norms and values.”

Some call it the long shadow of Hitler: traditionally, Jews have been eager to side with the left because the antisemites were on the right. But today, there are many more antisemites on the left than on the right. Credit to Greenblatt for not wanting to “underestimate the danger of… the far-left flank of the progressive movement.” But he doesn’t have any specifics when talking about the antisemitism of the left. Greenblatt calls out the events of January 6th as an insurrection, but doesn’t even mention the entire summer of 2020 when synagogues were defaced and vandalized, scores of Jewish-owned (and Black-owned) institutions were burned and looted, and parts of Seattle literally seceded from the country.

In Los Angeles alone, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Tivereth Avi/Morasha Educational Centre, Shaarei Tefilah synagogue, the Shalhevet school for girls, The Kosher Mensch Bakery and Kitchen, the Jewish-owned Go Couture store, Temple Beth El and the Baba Sale congregation suffered various forms of damage, destruction, vandalism, graffiti and antisemitic vitriol. He didn’t mention that many of the perpetrators didn’t face any criminal charges, while the January 6 rioters did. He didn’t mention that it was almost entirely the far-left flank of congress that voted to defund the Iron Dome, which has no purpose other than to protect innocent Jewish (and Muslim) lives in Israel from rocket fire. The events of January 6 were a tragedy, no doubt, but a keen eye could spot several Israeli flags and kippahs in the crowd. On the other hand, the LGBT Dyke march in Chicago and DC banned the Jewish star because it “made people feel unsafe.”

Yes, there is antisemitism on the right and on the left. But the difference is this: the antisemites on the right, everyone can recognize. The ones on the left, however, hide behind a veil of tolerance, compassion, and social justice. They have more institutional backing. Even Greenblatt is afraid to call them out by name. They’re justified by the mainstream media, universities, government-backed institutions of power. The antisemites on the right have no chance. The ones on the left do.

About the Author
Alan Kotlyar is an amateur Israeli folk dancer, singer, soccer player, journalist, language enthusiast, history and geography buff from the Chicago area. On the side, he makes time for teaching math and a master's program in Computer Science.
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