Have Your Cake & Eat It (Right Left Anti-Semitism at Tablet)

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Tablet Magazine is a platform for the neo-conservative Jewish right. It always has been, like its sister site at the mostly defunct Tikvah Fund, mixing political content into parve Jewish cultural content. As a case in point, for anyone wondering where they want to take the discourse in the Age of Trump, reading online today, the day after Thanksgiving, was an eye-opener. Looking past the slick, hip graphics, check out the consistent counter-line intended to establish a false equivalence between the Nazi-alt-right and the more or less marginal phenomenon of anti-Semitism on the  left.

You can read examples by lead Tablet writers  here and here. In the first, a paragraph (maybe two) is given to the current surge of racist rightwing anti-Semitism without a mention of Stephen Bannon’s installation at the very center of American power. The writer goes on to opine about the marginal case of Joy Karega, the professor who actually lost her job at Oberlin for pushing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Oblivious to scale, the writer wants us to know that there is a “confluence” between the alt-right and progressive left as if one could compare the power of the one with the impotence of the  other. As readers of this blog will recognize, I have been more than exercised by anti-Semitism on the left and against BDS and will continue to be so –but not without recognizing the seismic shift and re-alignments represented on the political landscape by Trump’s election.

Throwing dust, Tablet wants us to think that the problem is just as big on the Democratic side of the aisle as it is on the Republican. For that, expect to see more like this article and this article on Kieth Ellison and his alleged ties with the Nation of Islam and “Muslim Brotherhood groups,” and alleged support of BDS –all of which stand in contrast to the confidence given to Ellison from stalwarts like Chuck Schumer, Harry Ried, not to mention the Minneapolis Jewish community (such as here in Haaretz) and the ADL. To be sure, Ellison will have to address these issues himself, but neither author give any expression to those voices from within the Jewish community that have come out in support of him. Expect more hatchet work and innuendo. Because the last thing the neo-conservative right wants to see is American Jews and American Muslims coming to decent terms over Israel and Palestine while building bridges to address what for us, over here, are more pressing concerns in the wake of this election.

That’s how they want to have it at Tablet. The neo-conservatives, primarily Jewish, have taken an honorable stand against Trump and the Nazi-alt-right, which we on the left should appreciate. But they are not about to give up on flailing the left on trumped up charges. At Tablet, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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4 Responses to Have Your Cake & Eat It (Right Left Anti-Semitism at Tablet)

  1. kenwaltzer says:

    Polemic leads you to statements i can’t believe you really mean, that charge of antisemitism on part of the regressive left is trumped up charge. thus all the stuff going on on campuses is make believe? Not serious, just ot compelling.

    • zjb says:

      with all due respect to you, Ken, I just think the leftwing anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are relatively marginal and impotent, even on campus. Then compare that to what just happened on the right with Trump’s election, you just cannot compare the relative impact and damage

  2. dmf says:

    strange days indeed, apparently some folks seeking shelter from Antisemitism in France by supporting the NF, yikes:

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