The Hard Jewish Anti-Zionist Left: Lousy Allies & Gas Lighting Anti-Semitism


Something incendiary I wrote for the Forward about the radical Jewish left and hard anti-Zionism, going after Jews, and gas lighting anti-Semitism helping no one, not Jews and the Jewish community, and not the intersectional Jewish left. Michelle Goldberg writes about it at the NYT, which you can read here. Anti-Semitism on the left is a gift to the American right, the American Jewish right, and Israeli right. In their antipathy to Israel and to Zionism, Jewish radicals won’t recognize anti-Semitism unless it hits them in the face. I don’t think Rep. Omar is an anti-Semite. I want to think she got caught in the bad place to be that is in the middle. She should not have taken the bait from Glenn Greenwald, should not have answered Batay Ungar-Sargon, and did the right thing to walk her comments back. But her her allies were furious. As they escalate by going after the Forward, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is the hero of this entire episode.

Is there any interest in on the anti-Zionist left to de-escalate? My problem is less with Rep. Omar and what she said now that she has walked it back, and more about her “allies” on the intersectional left and hard anti-Zionist Jewish left. Expecting severe critical push back, I invite you  to read the entire piece here. This the basic point:

“Jews on the intersectional left are allies without allies. For the far left doesn’t take Jews, Jewish history, the history of Zionism, and anti-Semitism seriously. They don’t think anti-Semitism is systemic. While making much of their own good intentions, they don’t see how anti-Semitism is structural, and deny that it is still a problem. They conflate Jews with whiteness, money, and power; and Israel with racism, colonialism, and genocide. And here’s where the anti-Zionist Jewish left comes in, playing the role of ‘useful idiots,’ an old term of art in Stalinist circles.”

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.
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1 Response to The Hard Jewish Anti-Zionist Left: Lousy Allies & Gas Lighting Anti-Semitism

  1. Harlan Baker says:

    I share your concerns. Reading comments on a post about Ilan Omar’s comments on Facebook revealed very crude anti semitism.
    One example was a denial that the Jewish people are really Jewish and are White European Khazar’s.
    In addition the left, and I am a socialist, is dismissive of anti semitism, while being very quick to condem, and rightly so, Racism.

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