Are you shocked that the Left has a Jew-hating problem? You shouldn’t be. Anti-Semitism has a long-standing tradition among those who declare themselves socialists.
The Soviet revolution officially abolished the institutionalized anti-Semitism of the Tsarist regime, but as early as August 1919, the new Soviet government instituted a campaign of destroying synagogues, seizing Jewish artifacts, and telling rabbis they could no longer minister to their congregants.
Neo-Nazi websites will tell you that Jews made the Russian Revolution, but the Jews were primarily in the Menshevik faction, the group that supported Kerensky and the democratic provisional government. With noteworthy exceptions, the Bolshevik faction was made up of Russian Christians.
A joke at the time, often repeated by Stalin, was that since the Mensheviks had a considerable Jewish following and the Bolsheviks did not, the Bolsheviks should consider launching an anti-Jewish pogrom against the Mensheviks. This passed for humor in a country where Tsarist administrators repeatedly used their offices to organize pogroms for the mass slaughter of helpless Jews.
F. A. Hayek, the famous Austrian economist and Nobel laureate, argues that totalitarianism emerged from the socialist ideal of centralized planning. The intellectual foundations of Nazism were to be found in German socialism. Hayek’s mentor, Ludwig von Mises, observed that it was no accident that the Nazis called themselves the National Socialist Workers Party. German industry under the Nazis was only nominally in the hands of private enterprise. The Nazi party set wage and price controls, production quotas and decided what was to be produced.
Centralization leads to the abolition of freedom and the need for scapegoats to deflect attention from its loss.
The modern Left goes into the streets to rage against globalization. According to them, globalization is a conspiracy to control the international economy. Who runs this conspiracy? International bankers.
Who controls the international banks? Why, who do you think? The Jews! Therefore, globalization, the greatest threat to the world (apart from global warming) is a Jewish plot, according to the Left.
Then, of course, there is Zionism. In our universities and in leftist circles, Zionism is said to be the last bastion of British imperialism. And if not British imperialism, then apartheid; and sometimes both are linked together.
In the leftist politics of exalting oppressed classes and conferring privilege on those who wear their victimhood like a badge of sanctified honor, the Palestinians and the Muslims are oppressed people.
In the world of intersectionality, a shibboleth glorified at the Academy Awards, all oppressed people must work together and, of course, must be embraced for the common struggle while their contradictory goals are to be ignored.
Consequently, the Sharia-embracing Muslim Linda Sarsour can be a poster child for feminism. If black leaders are found to embrace the anti-Semitic, race-baiting Rev. Louis Farrakhan, so what? Blacks are an oppressed people, and we have yet to walk in their shoes. We must find areas of agreement and have empathetic conversations about differences, the Left tells us. Intersectionality demands it.
The Left, which has distorted every slight, verbal misstep, or other forms of socially unacceptable behavior into an act of aggression and one that warrants exile, if not execution, now tells us that it depends who the aggressors are.
Instead of the picture of a smiling Barack Obama with the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, imagine a picture of a smiling Donald Trump with white supremacist Richard Spencer. The Left and the mainstream media would be demanding Trump’s impeachment.
Apparently, some engagements with anti-Semites are good and others are not. It just depends on whether those who practice anti-Semitism are members of an oppressed class and have a claim on intersectionality.
The modern Left is no different than the Bolsheviks, who verbally condemned the anti-Semitism of the old order and set out to create newer forms of anti-Semitism. Give the Left credit. When it comes to anti-Semitism, they remain true to their heritage.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him @salomoncenter