The Left, increasingly, does not care about anti-Semitism.
That’s been true for a while— just look at the British Labour Party’s embrace of anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn (today, the UK Guardian openly editorialized, “The pain and hurt within the Jewish community, and the damage to Labour, are undeniable and shaming. Yet Labour remains indispensable to progressive politics.”), or the Democratic Party’s defense of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. But the Left has been able to cover for its own anti-Semitism problem by focusing in on the rise of white supremacist violence, connecting that violence with President Trump.
Here’s a quick rule of thumb: If you only want to have a conversation about anti-Semitism when you can blame anti-Semitism on your political opponents, you don’t care about anti-Semitism.
And that’s precisely what we’ve seen over the past 24 hours.
On Tuesday, two shooters targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City; six people died, including the shooters, three civilians, and a police officer. The shooters were apparently affiliated with the Black Hebrew Israelites, a fringe black supremacist group claiming that Jews aren’t actually the true Jews — that the actual Jews are black Americans. Members of this group have been involved in violent incidents in the past, of course.
The identity of the shooters meant that the media Left was eager to ignore the case. And indeed, within 24 hours, it was no longer trending on Twitter. No broad discussions of left-wing tolerance for anti-Semitism, particularly in minority communities, ensued. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio had the temerity to tweet, “This tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent anti-Semitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation. And now this threat has reached the doorstep of New York City.” Now, broadly speaking, violence against Jews in New York City has been spiking in the past few years — none of that violence attributable to white supremacists. But we already know why De Blasio has been able to ignore that violence – The New York Times told us as much back in November 2018:
If anti-Semitism bypasses consideration as a serious problem in New York, it is to some extent because it refuses to conform to an easy narrative with a single ideological enemy. In fact, it is the varied backgrounds of people who commit hate crimes in the city that make combating and talking about anti-Semitism in New York much harder. … [B]ias stemming from longstanding ethnic tensions in the city presents complexities that many liberals have chosen simply to ignore. …
Now, juxtapose the treatment of an actual anti-Semitic attack by two black perpetrators affiliated with a black supremacist group with the media and Twitter Left’s treatment of Donald Trump’s executive order (EO) targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. Trump’s EO is merely an extension of longstanding bipartisan policy that suggests that Jews ought to be protected on college campuses by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But Trump was raked over the coals thanks to idiotic New York Times reporting, which suggested that Trump would characterize Jews as a “race or nationality” under the Civil Rights Act. That’s not what the EO did. But even if the EO had labeled Jews a “nationality,” that would have been perfectly in line with Jewish law and tradition. Jews are not merely a religious group. They are in fact a group with shared ancestry, a shared culture, and a shared history. You can join the group by converting, but while religious and philosophic Judaism is a key component of Jewish identity — and the most key component when it comes to standing to speak on Jewish issues, generally — Jewishness isn’t just religion.
Nonetheless, the blue-checkmarked crew went insane, suggesting that Trump’s EO — which, again, was directly aimed at fighting anti-Semitism — was ackshually anti-Semitic. Suffice it to say, the Venn diagram of those concerned about an anti-Semitic terror attack in Jersey City and those concerned about Trump’s EO had nearly no crossover. In fact, many of the people supposedly concerned about anti-Semitism in Trump’s EO are proponents of the actively anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Anti-Semitism isn’t a game. You don’t get to cite it when convenient and ignore it when convenient. Those who do exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately, these days, that phenomenon is increasingly common on the political Left.