Jennifer Moses

When it comes to Jews, the Far Left joins the Far Right

In all the fervor in the United States over recent campus unrest, has anyone noticed that the pro-Palestinian movement and those who gather under the MAGA banner are mirror images of one another?

I would argue that the two movements are fueled by the same raw, unfiltered, and unexamined grievance that is expressed as moral outrage at “the other.” In campus protests, the rage is directed primarily at Jews (often under the banner of Zionism or the existence of the State of Israel), and secondly at political conservatives. Among the MAGA faithful, the problem, as they see it, is “elites,” (read city dwellers, intellectuals, and, of course, Jews), Blacks, and immigrants.

Both movements, coming from seemingly opposite ends of the political spectrum, speak with one voice when it comes to Jews.

Where to start? With the 2917 neo-Nazi “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville, in which marchers chanted, among other enlightened sentiments, “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil”? The now-infamous Jewish space laser theory perpetuated by the always-loathsome Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene? What got lost in the absurdity of the space-laser theory is Greene’s follow up, in which she said: “An unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists, and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation, with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands.” Recently, in Georgia, Donald Trump promised that “November 5 is . . . going to be Christian Visibility Day.”

One can reasonably argue that the former President, who has Jewish grandchildren, is not himself antisemitic, but it’s harder to ignore the blatant antisemitism of such Trump thumpers as Elon Musk. Musk endorses right-wing conspiracy theories that posit that Jews are behind “hatred against Whites.” The idea is that Jews, seeking to replace white Christian culture, are the force behind the wave of undocumented migrants entering the United States. As recently as March 10 of this year, Donald Trump, appearing at a rally in Georgia, promised to “rid our country of the monsters who Joe Biden let loose to threaten and kill innocent Americans.”

Blood and soil!

Cueing leftward: I’m hardly the first to say that there is ample room for reasoned criticism of Israel’s policies in Gaza (and, for that matter, the West Bank.) I for one am horrified by Bibi’s prosecution of the Israel-Hamas war. But what’s going on at Columbia University and other campuses does not fall under the category of reasoned criticism, not to mention simple decency. Say what you want about free speech, but since when does anyone get to take over public space in such a way that disrupts the common good? I can guarantee that if a bunch of my buddies and I set up an encampment in the park up the street from my house in the suburbs in order to protest, for example, the way the local schools are run, we would all have our butts hauled off to jail. This is because of something called the “time, place, and manner” restrictions imposed by municipalities on expressive speech. In other words, free speech isn’t an endlessly expanding right any more than your right to express anger by throwing a punch ends where my nose begins. This is the very root of civility.

The pro-Palestinian students wreaking havoc on college campuses are re-enacting ancient antisemitic tropes that, alone among the peoples of the earth, Jews have no right to nationhood, and indeed that the existence of the State of Israel is both racist and an expression of European colonialism. Such tropes ignore the complex reality that Israel is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-linguistic, not to mention that many Jews aren’t white by any definition. The protesters also link all Jews to Israel’s prosecution of the war, thereby re-animating the antisemitic trope that American Jews have dual loyalty. That some student protesters (and others on the far left) have celebrated the Hamas pogrom of October 7 as an expression of legitimate political resistance is disgusting.

The grownups in the room urge civil discourse, an airing of ideas and opinions. No dice. And that’s because, when it comes to rage, the point is, well, rage.

But as history demonstrates, when it comes to undifferentiated rage there’s no target better than Jews to focus, distill and enhance your sense of grievance. Thus Jews are behind the border crisis and the waning of blue-collar jobs (particularly in rural areas) as well as the suffering in Gaza (Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005) that erupted in the mass murder, rape, mutilation, and high jacking of Jews in southern Israel on October 7 of 2023.

For the perennially aggrieved, including the students who are sufficiently privileged to land at Columbia to begin with, the goal is self-aggrandizement. If it weren’t, rather than harass Jews, bang on drums, and scream “from the river to the sea,” such students might take the time to actually study the complexities of history, including the history of Iran’s investment in terrorist groups, Europe’s history of killing those Jews who didn’t have the foresight to leave, and the mid-century expulsion of Jews from Egypt, Syria, Iran, India and Turkey. Even better, they might roll up their sleeves and work for justice in the form of sending food, medicine, clothing and other aid to those who suffer for reasons beyond their control.

It’s always easier to blame the other—whether it be Jews, immigrants, queer folk, or Blacks—then to work for real justice. In that regard, there is little difference between far-right rage and that being espoused by the extreme left.

MAGA, meet your identical twin.

About the Author
Jennifer Anne Moses is the author of seven books of fiction and non fiction, including The Man Who Loved His Wife, short stories in the Yiddish tradition. Her journalistic and opinion pieces have been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Newark Star Ledger, USA Today, Salon, The Jerusalem Report, Commentary, Moment, and many other publications. She is also a painter.
Related Topics
Related Posts