After Hurricane Harvey hit, Islamist activist Linda Sarsour put out a call for donations. But instead of the money going to hurricane victims, it was actually being directed to the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund. TOP is a spinoff of ACORN, a disgraced organization shut down in the wake of scandals involving embezzlement and internal cover-ups, and was backed by Hungarian anti-Semitic billionaire George Soros who continues to invest his ill-gotten wealth into a war against the Jewish State.
Soros has blamed Jews for anti-Semitism and described his period as a Nazi collaborator as the “most exciting time of my life.” He claims to have grown up in a “Jewish, anti-Semitic home” and called his mother a “typical Jewish anti-Semite” who hated his first wife because she was “too Jewish”. He has written an article insisting that, “America and Israel must open the door to Hamas.”
As controversy mounts over Sarsour’s appearance on a panel denying the existence of leftist and Islamist anti-Semitism, especially among activists waging a campaign of hate against Israel, her defenders are recycling a letter by “Jewish leaders” defending the anti-Semitic Islamist activist.
The “Jewish Leaders Statement Against Attacks on Linda Sarsour” contains rather few Jewish leaders. Behind “Jews for Linda”, the group linked to the letter, is Rafael Shimunov. Shimunov is the National Creative Director of the Working Families Party. The WFP is yet another spinoff of ACORN.
In the Diaspora, people are aghast at rampant antisemitism and Israel-bashing and dismayed over the failure to halt its apparently inexorable rise.
In Britain, the parliamentary group on antisemitism heard evidence last week that anti-Jewish bigotry is now entrenched in many British universities. Student officers have used the Twitter hashtag #Jew while discussing wealth, and the swastika is now seen on campus as a “casual symbol of fun.”
In the US earlier this year, researchers from Tel Aviv University found a 45 percent increase on campus of “all forms” of antisemitism. At McGill University in Canada, three board members of the University’s Students Society were removed from their appointments over their alleged “Jewish conflict of interest” in a battle about BDS.
Much valiant effort is going into fighting this scourge.
It’s not getting anywhere, though, because the overall strategy is wrong. This is because it’s based on defending Israel against demonization and Jewish students against intimidation. It needs urgently to move from defense to attack.
Earlier this week, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was almost prevented from speaking at Princeton University after left-wing Jewish students claimed her work “causes irreparable damage to the prospects of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Meekly genuflecting to this preposterous claim, Princeton Hillel, no less, abruptly canceled her invitation. The day was saved by Chabad, which provided a venue in which Hotovely could speak. Hillel officials subsequently apologized for this disgraceful episode, adding that this was “an isolated incident.”
Well no, it isn’t. I had an identical experience earlier this year when Berkeley Hillel, which had invited me to speak, disinvited me on the grounds that they couldn’t guarantee my safety. Similarly, it was Chabad which provided a “safe house” where I could speak to Berkeley’s Jewish students.
For years now there have been problems with “open Hillel,” a student-led movement which seeks to advance groups promoting anti-Israel agendas in mainstream Jewish campus life. It’s part of the twin phenomenon whereby pro-Israel students increasingly feel threatened and intimidated, while more and more Jewish students are frighteningly ignorant of both Judaism and the Middle East and are correspondingly hostile toward Israel.
In 2002, on the BBC TV show Question Time, I was accused of dual loyalty in front of a jeering studio audience. My crime had been to defend Israel against demonization and double standards by both the audience and other members of the panel.
At that time I had visited Israel only twice in my life, two years previously. No matter. A British Jew defending Israel was – and is – immediately accused in some quarters of incipient treachery toward Britain, just as throughout history antisemites have accused Diaspora Jews of dual loyalty or treachery merely because they are Jews.
I thought of my own experience, of course, when I read the report on antisemitism in the UK published this week by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
There is currently much disquiet over the Labour Party’s conspicuous failure to address significant antisemitism within its ranks. But there has long been far wider concern among many British Jews about the antisemitic discourse, harassment and physical attacks which have become sickeningly commonplace in Britain over the past few years.
The report’s author, Daniel Staetsky, describes a situation which is complex.
Only around 5% of the population are out-and-out antisemites holding multiple anti-Jewish attitudes. Nevertheless, about 30% subscribe to some kind of antisemitic views.
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The first “Palestine Expo” — a two-day festival in London, self-described as the “biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine to ever take place in Europe” — was held over the weekend of July 8, 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster. The gathering, attended by an estimated 15,000 people, included political panels, workshops and food courts — ostensibly to highlight and honor “Palestine history and heritage.”
Given the identity of its organizers, however, its true impetus — to demonize the Jewish state — was clear from the outset. Sponsored by the Leicester-based Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), a group that openly supports the Islamist terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, the event aroused the anger of pro-Israel activists and the British government alike.
About a month before the Expo was scheduled to take place, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid sent a letter to the FOA — which promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and figures such as Holocaust denier Paul Eisen — expressing his concerns and threatening to call off the event.
FOA founder Ismail Patel replied that Javid had “failed to provide any satisfactory reason as to why they have chosen to cancel an event which seeks to celebrate Palestinian culture and heritage.” He also resorted to a classic anti-Semitic trope, accusing the government of being influenced by the Jewish lobby.
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All over the world anti-Semites are becoming mainstreamed. It is no longer disqualifying to be outed as a Jew hater. This is especially so if the anti-Semite uses the cover of rabid hatred for the nation-state of the Jewish people. These bigots succeed in becoming accepted — even praised — not because of their anti-Semitism, but despite it. Increasingly, they are given a pass on their Jew-hatred because those who support them admire or share other aspects of what they represent. This implicit tolerance of anti-Semitism — as long as it comes from someone whose other views are acceptable — represents a dangerous new trend from both the right and left.
In the United States, although there has been hard-right anti-Semitism for decades, the bigotry of the hard-left is far more prevalent and influential on many university campuses. Those on the left who support left-wing anti-Semites try to downplay, ignore or deny that those they support are really anti-Semites. “They are anti-Zionist” is the excuse du jour. Those on the right do essentially the same: “they are nationalists.” Neither side would accept such transparent and hollow justifications if the shoe were on the other foot. I believe that when analyzing and exposing these dangerous trends, a single standard of criticism must be directed at each.
Generally speaking, extreme right-wing anti-Semitism continues to be a problem in many parts of Europe and among a relatively small group of “alt-right” Americans. But it also exists among those who self-identify as run-of-the-mill conservatives. Consider, for example, former presidential candidate and Reagan staffer, Pat Buchanan.
The list of Buchanan’s anti-Jewish bigotry is exhaustive. Over the years, he has consistently blamed Jews for wide-ranging societal and political problems. In his criticism of the Iraq War, for example, Buchanan infamously quipped: “There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East-the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” He then singled out for rebuke only Jewish political figures and commentators such as Henry Kissinger, Charles Krauthammer and A.M. Rosenthal. Buchanan did not mention any of the vocal non-Jewish supporters of the war. Furthermore, Buchanan also said that “the Israeli lobby” would be responsible if President Obama decided to strike Iran, threatening that if it were to happen, “Netanyahu and his amen corner in Congress” would face “backlash worldwide.” Buchanan’s sordid flirtation with Nazi revisionism is also well documented.
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