By Patricia Adams and Lawrence Solomon, published by The Epoch Times
Steven Spielberg recently described antisemitism as the worst he’s experienced in his lifetime. He sees “antisemitism no longer lurking, but standing proud with hands on hips like Hitler and Mussolini, kind of daring us to defy it.”
The in-your-face, overt antisemitism that Spielberg described is echoed elsewhere and quantified by numerous studies that show spreading Jew hatred. According to the FBI, antisemitic hate crimes against American Jews increased by 20 percent in 2021 and accounted for 63 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), more antisemitic incidents occurred in 2022 than in any other year since the group began tracking them in 1979.
It will get worse, due to the recent election of Israel’s new right-wing government: 2023 will be the Year of the Antisemite.
White supremacists will account for relatively little of the increase, although they get most of the press attention. Widely seen as losers, white supremacists, skinheads, and their ilk represent a minuscule percentage of the U.S. population and garner no respect from the mainstream press or government officials.
In contrast, antisemitism on the left has acquired a large and vocal mainstream status that includes its “normalization and legitimization” in the world of politics, universities, entertainment, and sports, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Irwin Cotler told the Combat Antisemitism Movement Advisory Board earlier this year. Natan Sharansky, the board chairman, added that antisemitism is also normalized in international institutions. The United Nations delegitimizes Israel by applying double standards, which is antisemitic according to the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance that most Western countries, but not most leftist organizations, have adopted.
The mainstreaming of antisemitism dates to 1975 when a United Nations resolution equated Zionism—the desire for Jewish people to have a state of their own—to racism. As U.S. ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan presciently warned on the eve of the resolution’s adoption, “The United Nations is about to make anti-Semitism international law.” Any Jew who supports the idea of a Jewish state is, by this definition, a racist deserving vilification.
The mainstreaming of antisemitism is seen on university campuses, which have become hotbeds of antisemitic advocacy, and in Congress, where Democrats such as Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez often express antisemitic sentiments without being rebuked by either the mainstream press or their Democrat colleagues.
“I want you all to know that among progressives, it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government,” Tlaib declared last year, when Israel’s “apartheid government” was governed by a left-of-center coalition that included an Arab party associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats, especially those under 30, view Palestinians much more favorably than they view Israelis. In a University of Maryland poll last year, one-third of Democrats supported boycotts on human rights grounds against Israel but not violators such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China.
Whenever Israel is in the news—whether Israeli forces retaliate against Hamas missile strikes or inadvertently kill innocents in a raid against militants in the West Bank—attacks spike in the West against Jewish community centers, synagogues, and kosher supermarkets.
“Jews were being attacked in the streets for no other reason than the fact that they were Jewish, and it seemed as if the working assumption was that if you were Jewish, you were blameworthy for what was happening half a world away,” said the ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt.
Because Israel’s government is now headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, because Israel now has the Western world’s most unabashedly right-wing government, and because Israeli political parties representing Orthodox Jews control various government departments, the antisemitic left in the West will be galvanized as never before. Its outrage will be fueled by the West’s leftist mainstream press, which can be counted on to provide non-stop negative coverage. An inflammatory New York Times column on March 14 by Thomas Friedman that calls Netanyahu a “dictator” who rules with “a rogue’s gallery of Jewish supremacists” provides a taste of the animus being stirred up against Israel, and Jews in general.
The animus can be seen in protests in the West to judicial reforms proposed by Israel’s new government. Yet Israel’s proposed reforms aren’t extreme.
“Even if all of these reforms were to be enacted, it would turn Israel, God forbid, into Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, or many European countries. It would not turn it into Poland, or an autocratic country,” stated legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who added that the protests aren’t really about the reforms. “If exactly the same proposals were being made by a centrist government, or left-wing government, no one would notice. There would be no demonstrations.”
The Netanyahu government will be subject to criticism from the left in the West, as right-wing governments always are. But for a large and growing subset of that left, the criticism won’t be ideological but hateful, as it uses the cover of legitimate political debate of policies involving Israel to incite endless antisemitism against Jews everywhere. Because almost all Western governments, and all multilateral institutions, now lean left, none will be inclined to forcefully push back. Antisemites will have their day, and their year.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Patricia Adams and Lawrence Solomon are directors at the Toronto-based Probe International.