Michelle Goldberg, an opinion columnist for The New York Times who is in a constant gun battle with The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin for most ridiculous columnist in print media, provided readers with the latest — and, arguably, most absurd — version of “conservatives pounce” to date.
Goldberg, in a piece titled, “Attacks on Jews Over Israel Are a Gift to the Right,” argued that the waves of leftist anti-Semitism in recent days are bad … in part because they offer an opportunity for the Right. The title was later changed after an angry backlash.
Goldberg began her piece by assuming the premise that recent “flagrant public assaults on Jews” — which she claims are “more reminiscent of the sort of anti-Semitic aggression common in Europe” — are motivated not by a hatred of Jews, but by anti-Zionism.
This presumption is the entire foundation of Goldberg’s cynical and fundamentally dishonest attempt to use violence against Jews by leftists and Muslims as a weapon to wield against conservatives.
Describing a variety of obviously anti-Semitic attacks as “apparent hate crimes,” Goldberg immediately referenced “four years of spiking anti-Semitism that started around the time Republicans nominated Donald Trump in 2016,” again tying conservatism to the rise in anti-Semitism as if black anti-Semitism, Muslim anti-Semitism, and leftist anti-Semitism simply don’t exist.
Goldberg then reached the crux of her argument: that “this violence also threatens to undermine progress that’s been made in getting American politicians to take Palestinian rights more seriously,” and that “Right-wing Zionists and anti-Semitic anti-Zionists have something fundamental in common: Both conflate the Jewish people with the Israeli state.”
Now, the Israeli state is inextricably “conflated” with the Jewish people because Israel is the Jewish state. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Jewish people are obligated to support Israel or its government, but to attempt to erase the inherent link between Israel and Judaism is to both undermine the very nature of self-determination for Jews and the historical and religious foundation of Israel itself.
“Many progressives, particularly progressive Jews, have worked hard to break this automatic identification and to open up space in the Democratic Party to denounce Israel’s entrenched occupation and human rights abuses,” wrote Goldberg. However, the Times columnist made one — perhaps intentional — mistake: there was already more than enough space in the Democratic Party — and the American Left more broadly — to “denounce” Israel’s so-called “occupation.”
Goldberg presented leftist Jews’ embrace of anti-Zionism and the Democratic Party’s criticism of Israel as a chicken-and-the-egg scenario, as if one were impossible without the other. Instead, the reality is that the Left, for a variety of reasons, has increasingly aligned with anti-Semites as Jews fall down the hierarchy of intersectionality, and many secular Jews are happy to ignore this fact as long as their membership to the American Left remains intact.
“This wave of anti-Semitic violence will increase the difficulty of that work,” argued Goldberg. “The Zionist right claims that to assail Israel is to assail all Jews. Those who terrorize Jews out of rage at Israel seem to make their point for them.”
Again, Goldberg is — whether through ignorance or cynicism — ignoring the central point: people terrorize Jews not out of rage at Israel, but out of rage at Jews. People hate Israel because they hate Jews. It is the double standard applied to Israel — the world’s sole Jewish state — which makes criticism anti-Semitic, not the criticism alone.
Perhaps most appallingly, Goldberg then defended Ilhan Omar, an outspoken anti-Semite.
“Not surprisingly, there’s been a rush to blame left-wing Democrats like Ilhan Omar, who described Israeli airstrikes killing civilians in Gaza as ‘terrorism,’ for inciting anti-Jewish hostility,” Goldberg stated, then citing a tweet from Batya Ungar-Sargon, deputy opinion editor at Newsweek.
If you blamed violent attacks against Asian Americans on Trump calling covid the "Chinese virus" but you can't see how congresswomen accusing Israel of terrorism might result in Jews being attacked by pro Palestinian mobs, you either can't think or you have a problem with Jews.
— Batya Ungar-Sargon (@bungarsargon) May 20, 2021
“But by this logic, those of us concerned about hate crimes against Asian-Americans shouldn’t denounce China’s genocide of the Uighurs,” spewed Goldberg.
Again, the issue is not the existence of criticism, but the validity of criticism. Goldberg presumably knows this, and yet spins this absurd propaganda to promote the Left’s entire narrative that China’s “genocide of the Uighurs” is synonymous with Israel’s targeted defense against a terrorist group.
Goldberg then assumed the accuracy of the Human Rights Watch’s declaration that Israel was an apartheid state, noting that “It’s awful irony, but anti-Semitic violence helps shore up this system by strengthening the taboo against calling it what it is.”
“I get the sense that some people on the left find talking about violence by Palestinian sympathizers embarrassing; it certainly doesn’t receive the same sort of attention as white nationalist attacks,” Goldberg continued, before concluding that “It would be a disaster if [Jews hiding their faith out of fear in Europe] were to happen here, and not just for Jews.”
However, Goldberg is actively enabling the system under which religious Jews are finding it necessary to hide their faith. She is effectively explaining away — perhaps even excusing — the violence against Jews by validating the “rage” against Israel, and implying the existence of a political justification for such bigotry to cease, beyond the fact that anti-Semitism is wrong in all forms.
Like so many other Leftist Jews, Goldberg’s reasoning is clear. When it comes to fighting anti-Semitism or fighting conservatism, anti-Semitism will always take a back seat.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.