Later this month, there will be an evening program at a Toronto house of worship focusing on Islamophobia and antisemitism and the speakers will be discussing their experiences with interfaith dialogue, and how to move from “hate” to “hope”.
On the surface, these events appear to be laudable attempts at ordering and making sense of our flawed world. But on closer inspection, they present predictable and recurrent themes that are actually dangerous to Jews in and of themselves.
Events such as these present first-person stories of loss, heartache, activism and the intent to inspire. It’s a familiar narrative. And just as in this case, they also primarily held at synagogues but rarely, if ever, in mosques. Oddly, antisemitism is rarely analyzed as the unique form of hatred that it is in and of itself. It is always packaged with other forms of racism and hatred, most particularly Islamophobia. The events have a predictable, almost religiously self-flagellating nature to them and mostly that goes in one direction only: from the Jews toward other minority groups but most often Muslims.
The Jewish left is pained by Islamophobia but has zero interest in Islamic antisemitism. It emphasizes the rare (and yes, sometimes fatal) cases of extreme, Christian antisemitism in North America. It refuses to recognize that white, Christian antisemitism is the ideological purview of a small, and mostly impotent fringe minority in North America and the rest of the western world. Yet, Islamist antisemitism is mainstream. The Jewish left is bothered by European antisemitism when the perpetrators are white, right-wing Christians, but not Islamist antisemitism of the migrant or “homegrown” variety. Their concern about antisemitism is very particular and oddly limited in scope. Disgracefully, it starts and ends with Christians.
Recently, the Jewish world marked the shloshim of Lori Gilbert-Kaye z”l who was murdered for the “crime” of being a Jew attending services at Chabad of Poway, California by a deranged white, anti-Trump (and not right wing) American.
As her husband and daughter filled in the last letters of a new Torah scroll dedicated in her memory, and since then, many other worrying stories about Jews and antisemitism have been surfacing. Alas, they are of little interest to the Jewish left because the origin of these antisemitic trends and murders cannot be blamed on the Christian right.
The German governmental “czar” on antisemitism declared that wearing a kippah in German was unsafe for Jews. Unsafe why? Where is the Jewish left’s condemnation and the multifaith program on the current wave of antisemitism in Germany? It’s nowhere to be found, because it bucks the preferred narrative. It’s inconvenient antisemitism.
In the United Kingdom, the Labour party is under scrutiny and investigation for blatant and rabid antisemitism. But that strain of antisemitism is not condemned in all quarters. The genocidal, antisemitic terrorist organization Hamas thinks Corbyn is doing a great job, and recently “saluted” the Labour leader for his message of solidarity at a recent pro-Palestinian rally.
In France, the barbaric murderer of Sarah Halimi, an elderly French Jewish Holocaust survivor who was killed when thrown out of the window by her young, Muslim neighbour has been deemed unfit to stand trial. And in Israel, the IDF revealed new, sophisticated subterranean tunnels built by Lebanese Shia Hizballah supporters to kidnap and murder Israeli citizens.
Of course, we don’t have to look abroad to find Jew-hatred. There’s first-term US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Detroit who indulged in public Holocaust revisionism while her colleague Ilhan Omar Tweeted that American support of Israel “was all about the Benjamins, baby” (a previous Tweet in which she accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world” was deleted). These dalliances with antisemitism were met with silence by the Jewish left and its various allies in the “anti-hate” and “anti-racism” world.
The Jewish left remains primarily religiously left, with quaint vestiges of Jewish.
It’s obsessive focus on only certain forms of antisemitism exposes its dual, transparent reasons for living: to heap praise on itself and virtue-signal about its moral superiority to others and to simultaneously pretend that the real existential danger to Jews and to Israel comes from the threats of the past, rather than the threats of the present and future.
The Jewish left will continue to be frequently wrong, but never in doubt.
It will scream louder but continue to be rightfully disregarded by the majority of Jews in Israel and the Jewish world, by world leaders and regular citizen allies of Israel who will hopefully stick with us despite being so frequently insulted and castigated by the disproportionately loud but myopic Jewish left.