The New York Times Cartoon: Mainstreaming Left-Wing Anti-Semitism

The New York Times is meant to be the paper of record of America. Let the record show that this paper now condones anti-Semitic portrayals of Israel that wouldn’t look far out of place in the internet sewers inhabited by the far-right. Or the far-left. Or the Islamists for that matter. For what unites these seemingly disparate ideologies is their hatred of Jews. Insidious Jewish influence and power, symbolised by Israel, embodies an obsession and motivating force for these movements.

The far-right believes that Jews are behind the mass movement of third-world peoples into the West as part of a plot to replace white populations and that Jews are simultaneously working to weaken Western (read white) culture from within through their dominance of the entertainment and news industries. This old-idea is now given a modern flavour through evolutionary psychology, used to show Jews’ purported innate clannishness and hostility to others. This is simply age-old prejudice given a supposedly scientific gloss.

The far-left believes Jews take too much in the zero-sum game of victimhood that is now the motivating force behind much of the left-wing worldview. The state of Israel meanwhile is viewed as a colonial outpost of the white-dominated West designed to deliberately disenfranchise native Palestinians, now the left’s new group of chosen victims. All this is conducted under cover of ‘anti-Zionism’, which as Alan Dershowitz argues, is a meaningless distinction from anti-Semitic sentiment and provides cover for this behind anti-Israel statements.

This arguably partly stems from a sense of betrayal and ensuing resentment that Israel decided to chart its own course from 1967 and didn’t stick to that charted by the left. For some on the left freedom for Jews is fine it seems, as long as it is the freedom of which they approve. The fact that this doesn’t really constitute true freedom is not mentioned.

The Islamists mix elements of the last two strands together and add them to religiously inspired anti-Semitism.  Jews are portrayed as having rejected Allah and working to undermine his followers. Jews are today widely held to be responsible for everything bad that has befallen Muslims, and Israel continues to oppress Muslims today through its puppet, America. Cover after cover of the Islamist periodical Crescent International play on this theme.

These prongs of what Maajid Nawaz calls the ‘triple threat’ all combine to attempt to spear Jews between them, both ideologically and in actuality: the Islamist murders of Jews in Europe, the Pittsburgh massacre and the synagogue shooting yesterday in California are testament to the way ideas weave together to create a narrative that has motivating force to cause catastrophe when they interact with the character and circumstances of those who carry out these attacks.

It has been noted that anti-Semitism is a virus that lies dormant while civil society is strong and acts as a guard against it. Civil society today is not strong, and the bonds that hold us together have frayed dangerously. Communities are becoming increasingly polarised and segregated, a trend reinforced by technology-induced isolation that is conducive to growing resentment, bitterness and leaves people susceptible to conspiratorial thinking. This enables each prong of the ‘triple threat,’ who feed on this miasma of suspicion, distrust and fear to recruit to their ideologies, offering a way out of the crushing weight of existence through a redemptive narrative that promises a new heaven. The fact that hell follows and Jews are sacrificed to the heaven just over the horizon is something our societies must work to prevent.

Not too long ago, the idea that a paper like the New York Times would print a cartoon as they did would have seemed preposterous. This is yet another sign that the moral relativism that has gripped parts of society for decades has given way to a new worldview that gives a new sense of clarity, one in which victimhood is all and Jews are excluded, as argued by Dr. Einat Wilf.

The coalition of the ascendant, if it is led by people like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, will not long have a place for Jews who do not toe the line, who do not repudiate Israel and Zionism. The fact that the New York Times has printed this cartoon suggests this time may be coming faster than previously thought.

About the Author
Henry George is from the UK. He is a freelance writer and is a graduate of King's College London, where he studied for an MA in War Studies.
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