Anti-Semitism Is on the Rise From Both Sides. Just Not How You Think. – Forward.com
2016/12/20 Leave a comment
J.J. Goldberg on left and right-wing antisemitism and the political divide:
In effect, the walls of mutual hostility and suspicion that cut through the American body politic — and, in slightly different form, through the Jewish community — have left much of the public believing that anti-Semitism is a unitary problem that exists over there, on the other side, while they are unable to see the parallel problem on its own side. The denial is not just shortsighted but also dangerous. Both strains of anti-Jewish ideology have been responsible for multiple deadly attacks specifically targeting Jews and Jewish institutions on U.S. soil over the past quarter-century, since the uptick began. In fact, according to my own research via FBI data and online newspaper archives around the country, the two strands, far-right and anti-Israel, are both implicated in roughly the same number of such attacks during that period.
The line separating sharp, activist opposition to Israeli policy from hatred of its existence isn’t always easy to see. Nor is it hard and fast. Fifty years of the Israeli military ruling over millions of Palestinians without citizenship or political rights are generating a time bomb of Western-liberal frustration. Palestinian activists exploit the frustration to pressure Israel and advance their cause. It all becomes devilishly complicated: There’s hatred of Israel because of what it is. There’s also hatred fanned by what Israel does.
At the same time, there’s an element of right-wing American anti-Semitism that is not prejudice but actual policy opposition to the social agenda of the Jewish advocacy community. American Jews have worked in an organized fashion for the past century to promote a set of broadly liberal principles, including pluralism, minority rights, church-state separation and international engagement. Significant strains of conservatism object to some or all of those principles. Some conclude that the Jewish community is their adversary. Others avoid mentioning Jews, fearing they’ll be accused of anti-Semitism.
Here, too, the line between hatred of Jews and opposition to Jewish policy is not impermeable. There are conservative critics of Israeli policy who bridle at the taboo on open criticism and let their disagreements morph into hostility. Like Israeli self-defense, Diaspora Jewish hypersensitivity is sometimes capable of fanning the very hostility it is meant to deter.