One would have to be living under a rock for years decades in order to think of the recent paroxysm of Jew-hatred emanating from certain swathes of the Democratic Party as something novel or unexpected.
The sordid origins of a distinctly leftist brand of Jew-hatred run, instead, far deeper — at minimum, those origins begin with perhaps the most infamous self-hating Jew of them all, Karl Marx. As Jonah Goldberg wrote at Commentary last March:
For Marx, capital and the Jew are different faces of the same monster. …Marx’s writing, particularly on surplus value, is drenched with references to capital as parasitic and vampiric. …The constant allusions to the eternal wickedness of the Jew combined with his constant references to blood make it hard to avoid concluding that Marx had simply updated [anti-Semitic imagery] and applied it to his own atheistic doctrine. His writing is replete with references to the “bloodsucking” nature of capitalism. He likens both Jews and capitalists (the same thing in his mind) to life-draining exploiters of the proletariat.
Evil Marxist tropes about pernicious Jewish influence in capitalist economies have percolated well into the 21st century. For those lurking in the most miasmic swamps of the far Left, it is the Jew who still often serves as the amorphous placeholder for all the purported sins of capitalism unchained. It is why, during the noxious “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011, Abe Greenwald at Commentary lamented how, “The Jew-hatred among protesters and sympathizers is diverse and unapologetic. It is, in fact, atmospheric. Tune in randomly to live television coverage of the spectacle and you’ll see — as I did — placards scapegoating Israel, Zionism, or ‘Hitler’s bankers.'”
No doubt, this is truly gross stuff.
For many contemporary leftists both at home and in the continental hub of incorrigible anti-Semitism known as “Europe,” the Jewish state of Israel often serves as a useful proxy for the Jewish people at-large. For the leftist anti-Semite, what is disliked about the Jewish people — a certain perception of power, stature, capitalistic acumen, and general success — can be imputed to the Jewish state. Ever since Israel’s miraculous victory over its revanchist Arab invaders in the Six Day War, the Jewish state has been the “favorite” — and not the “underdog” — in its ongoing territorial dispute with the Palestinian-Arabs. And if there is anything the post-Marx Left has historically disliked, it is the perceived big guy beating up on the perceived little guy.
Further compounding the Israel-hater’s myopic obsession with the Middle East’s lone bastion of Western values and first-world liberal democracy is the mischaracterization of the Israeli military as being “white,” and the concomitant optics of that “white” military consistently having to “mow the lawn” on that pesky Hamas terrorist regime (but hey, we’re told, one filled with “brown”-er people!) in Gaza. Nathaniel Zelinsky detailed how this works for National Review, in 2014:
…much of the Western media carefully “whitewashes” images from Israel to give the impression that Israelis are all of European heritage. Why? Because whitewashing fits the post-colonial narrative the Left applies to Israel. In that mindset, the Jewish state is the “colonizer/occupier,” and the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank are the “natives.” If IDF soldiers have the same skin tone as British imperialists or Christopher Columbus, the template is that much easier to apply.
Whenever the global Left sees a white Israeli guarding a checkpoint in the West Bank or fighting in Gaza, it knows what moral categories to assign to Israel and Hamas. No matter how many rockets are launched or civilians murdered, the terrorists in Gaza are the freedom fighters and the Jews are the oppressors — just like the French in Algeria and the cowboys on the Great Plains. One suspects that whitewashing Israel helps some Westerners assuage their post-colonial guilt. By decrying the Jewish state, they expurgate the sins of their own ancestors and clean their moral slate.
The final dot to connect is to expressly connect this phenomenon — which Zelinsky dubs the “whitewashing” of Israel — with the modern intersectionality craze metastasizing on the far Left. Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro fit all these pieces together very nicely, just yesterday:
How has the Democratic Party morphed into the party of anti-Semitism? By embracing the philosophy of intersectionality on the one hand, and by embracing the myth that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are completely separable on the other. The former provides the emotional impetus for nodding at Jew-hatred; the latter provides the intellectual framework for doing so.
The philosophy of intersectionality has othered Jews from the intersectional coalition. Because intersectionality is built on the premise that the prevailing Western system of thought has victimized various groups, and that those groups must band together in order to destroy that system, those who have thrived under the West must be excised from the intersectional agglomeration – being, as they are, representatives of the fact that Western thought is not, in fact, rooted in evil. The Jews are simply too financially, educationally, and politically successful to be seen as anything other than members of the power structure.
The intersectionality craze has no doubt worsened the deeply pernicious trend of ascendant anti-Semitism on the far Left. One need not look anywhere other than the remarkable self-implosion of the institutionally anti-Semitic Women’s March just this year.
But this worsening of anti-Semitism within the Democratic Party, coming in the half-century-plus aftermath of the Six Day War, was a very long time coming. Consider the widening divide, between the two major political parties, on the question of whether one sympathizes more with Israel or with the Palestinian-Arabs:
In many ways, then, the overt anti-Semitism we now hear from Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is hardly a new phenomenon. Omar and Tlaib are, much like their comrade and bane of bovine flatulence, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), both economically far to the Left. They are very much the economic descendants of Marxist thought. And they are both pro-intersectionality Israel-haters whose views on “racial justice” are perfectly susceptible to a warped post-Six Day War leftist mentality wherein Israel is a “white,” “oppressive” “colonizer” at irreconcilable loggerheads with a “brown,” “repressed” Palestinian-Arab populace.
In other words, Omar and Tlaib are simply hardcore leftists. They are symptoms of broader, decades-long political dynamics. The only relevant question is whether there are any remaining institutionally powerful pro-Israel Democrats to prevent a full-on Corbyn-ization of the party of Harry Truman.