Intersectionality and American Anti-Semitism
How to understand - and counter - the plague of anti-Semitism in America today.
The term "intersectionality" has gained prominence - initially on the nation’s campuses and now well beyond academia - as signifying the supposed shared, "intersecting," predicaments of racial and ethnic groups, particularly “people of color” (and to a lesser degree women and sexual minorities), victimized by white male racism and its history of imperialism, colonialism, exploitation and slavery.
Promoters of the intersectionality concept have sought to use it to forge a common political agenda among at least some of the groups deemed as falling within the intersectionality rubric, to mount a shared fight against these groups’ perceived oppressors. But perhaps the most substantive campaign mounted by intersectionality allies - most notably elements of the African-American community and of the Islamist/Palestinian community in America - has been to themselves become oppressors, targeting American Jews for defamation, intimidation and physical attack. In doing so, they have joined forces not only with the Far Left in America, which has almost invariably used Jew-hatred as a political tool, but also with white extremist groups, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, sharing with them anti-Jewish rhetoric and memes, tactics and mutual support. Together, intersectional allies have generated the astronomical rise in attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in present-day America.
Consideration of the roots of this intersectional alliance and of what drives each party’s anti-Semitism casts light not only on the dynamics of the current assault on American Jews but also on the reality that that assault is not simply derivative of hostility towards Israel and Zionism. Rather, American Jews are a primary target and the anti-Israel animus is at least as much derived from hatred of American Jews as vice versa.
Even before the recent increase in anti-Semitic incidents, FBI statistics on hate crimes in America had consistently shown that Jews, representing less than 2% of the American population, had been by far the religious community most victimized by such crimes. (The most recent annual statistics, for 2020, showed 57.5% of religion-based hate crimes were against Jews. The next closest targeted community was Muslims, who were the victims of 8.8% of such crimes.) That pattern, and the anti-Semitic predilections of the groups perpetrating it, have long pre-dated those groups’ coming together in part under the intersectionality mantle.
American Anti-Semitism and the Red-Green-Black Alliance
The four major sources of attacks on Jews in America are white supremacists, black nationalists/supremacists, Muslim and Palestinian supremacists, and progressivist/Marxist ideologues.
The American institution most associated today with anti-Semitism is academia. The professoriat, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, consists almost exclusively of leftists, many among them proponents of Marxist ideologies, an integral element of which has virtually always been, as it was for Marx, anti-Semitism. (Anti-Semitism was used cynically by Marx and his adherents as an instrument of class warfare, a way of winning over the proletariat to Marxist doctrine by representing the hated Jews as the proletariat’s enemy and communism as its ally against the Jews. The current cynical leftist use of “critical race theory” and incitement of racial division to advance class conflict is a variation on the same tactics.) The anti-Semitism on today’s campuses is promoted mostly in the guise of anti-Zionism, with Jews targeted for being supporters of the Zionist project, and this line of attack adopts many of the anti-Zionist memes popularized by Soviet propaganda: Israel as a colonial state, as a racist state, as a project of Western imperialism. (As with the Soviet Union, one motive for the campus progressivist/leftist attacks on Israel, complementing the anti-Semitism element, is the fact of Israel being a close ally of the United States.)
The recent Israel-Gaza war, launched by an organization, Hamas, which openly declares as its religiously required objective the murder of all the world’s Jews, saw faculties across the nation defending Hamas and vilifying Israel. This was hardly surprising, given widespread faculty support for the Hamas-linked Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel, aimed at crippling the Jewish state economically. As noted by AMCHA, the leading organization monitoring campus anti-Semitism, the extent of attacks on Jews on a campus correlates closely with the degree of faculty promotion of BDS on that campus; and across the nation other adults on campus have done little to counter the anti-Jewish animus or the hateful acts that professorial support for BDS generates. Militant faculties, supine and indifferent administrations, and student bodies knowing little and easily indoctrinated by activist teachers, create a witch’s brew of Jew-hatred that pollutes campuses and spills out into the wider society.
Islamism, or Islamic supremacist ideology wedded to Jihad, has almost invariably had a prominent following within the faith and has tended to come to the fore in the context of difficulties in the Muslim world. Thus, European colonial inroads into that world and the embrace of Western culture by many in, for example, the Muslim Middle East, led to an Islamist reaction. According to that reaction, the end of Muslim expansion and the success of European political and cultural encroachment were made possible by Muslims falling away from rigorous adherence to their faith, and the remedy lay in rededication to militant Islam and Jihad. This comprehension of Muslim religious duty, most notably represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, spread rapidly in the Arab world in the early twentieth century and well beyond that world subsequently.
The breakup of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empires in the wake of World War I led to the League of Nations fostering the recreation of national homes for peoples that had been part of those empires - among others, a recreated Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and joint Czech and Slovak homeland in Europe and mandates for Arab homelands in Syria and Iraq and a reestablished Jewish national home in the Holy Land. The last, the Zionist project, was welcomed by some Arab and other Muslim leaders. But the response among many, in the Islamist spirit, was that the prospect of that weakest of peoples regaining an independent presence in the heart of what had become the Muslim Middle East was a further demonstration of how far Muslims had fallen from their former heights and how necessary was a violent, Jihad-driven reaction.
Israel’s establishment and the failure of subsequent attempts to annihilate the state, together with anti-Jewish propaganda that has drawn heavily on Nazi and other European stereotypes and caricatures, have only increased the anti-Jewish animus in the Arab and wider Muslim world, with polls of opinion in Muslim states often yielding levels of anti-Jewish bias close to 100%. In Muslim countries not even involved in the conflict with Israel, a Pew poll still found very high levels of such bias; for example, in Turkey, at 73%, Pakistan, 78%, and Indonesia, 74%. This level of hatred has translated into almost universal Muslim support, until relatively recently, for the Palestinian Arab rejection of all compromise with Israel, all offers of a two-state solution, and insistence that nothing short of Israel’s annihilation will satisfy Palestinian demands. No Palestinian leader has ever indicated a willingness to tolerate the Jewish state’s existence within any borders. The Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has stated this explicitly many times, and Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has, as noted, insisted it will settle for nothing less than the murder of all the world’s Jews. Only relatively recently have significant voices in the Arab world, still a distinct minority, criticized this stance.
The increased immigration to the United States of people from nations where anti-Semitism is virtually universally embraced, as well as from the Palestinian territories where promoting Jew-hatred is the leadership’s most prominent, and successful, policy and where that hatred is pervasive in media, schools and mosques, has contributed significantly to anti-Israel militancy in America and to attacks on American Jews and Jewish institutions. Leaders of mosques in America have repeatedly called for attacks on Jews. (Mohammed Al-Azdee, an Iraqi-born associate professor of communication theory at Bridgeport University, has documented the extensive use of weekly sermons by imams in American mosques to promote Jew-hatred and incite anti-Jewish violence.) In addition, the influx of students from places in the Arab and broader Muslim world where anti-Semitism is endemic, students often supported by nations such as Qatar that invest extensively in promoting Jew-hatred in America, has figured in the expansion of the Hamas-linked BDS movement and in attacks on Jews on the campuses. If some Arab leaders now take issue with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish campaigns, their voices are more than countered by those in the American professariat who support those campaigns in the American version of the red-green, leftist-Islamist, alliance so prominent in Europe.
In the African-American sphere, proponents of the black radicalism of the 1960's and ‘70's, drew, according to their wonts, both on far left ideology and on imagined Islamic affinities, and both sources fed their promotion of Jew-hatred. The Nation of Islam, particularly under Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semite with the widest following in America, has likewise, of course, promoted Jew-hatred. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., University Professor and Director of the Center for African and African American Research at Harvard, wrote in 1992, in an article entitled “The new black anti-Semitism is top-down and dangerous,” of how a recent survey had shown that blacks were twice as likely as whites to hold anti-Semitic views and “that it is among the younger and more educated blacks that anti-Semitism is most pronounced.” This was, and continues to be, a reflection of the anti-Semitism promoted by the heirs of the ‘60's and ‘70's radicals and by groups like the Nation of Islam. As Gates points out, it is anti-Semitism in the service of advancing both sources’ agendas of black separatism and supremacism, much like the Far Left’s anti-Semitism has been in the service of advancing its Marxist agenda. That more educated blacks have also been exposed to, and influenced by, the anti-Semitism of the professoriat and the campuses has only exacerbated this trend of greater anti-Semitism particularly among the so-called better educated. The high rate of Jew-hatred among American blacks has figured in the myriad attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions by blacks, most notably in Brooklyn and other parts of New York City, and even in the murder of Jews, in recent years in Jersey City and Monsey.
Black advocates of militant separatist, supremacist, anti-American agendas have long been open to joining with other minority groups embracing similar agendas, and campuses have been particularly fertile arenas for fostering such alliances. Islamist/Palestinian BDS activists on campus, particularly Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), have, in turn, been more than happy to cultivate the support of African-American students under the intersectionality umbrella. The professoriat has also been instrumental in promoting the intersectionality scam, the notion of the common predicament particularly of “people of color” vis-a-vis abuse by dominant whites. The tack once more serves the Marxist faculty by advancing communal divisions, sowing conflict in a way that simply appealing to class differences could not, and so advancing the Marxist agenda.
Faculties have also worked with Islamist colleagues and students to link the latter’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities to the intersectionality bandwagon, with Palestinians now regarded as people of color facing - again, in the meme created and popularized by Soviet propaganda - Western colonialist usurpers. With black groups on campuses and beyond more than willing to embrace the linkage, the red-green alliance has been expanded into a red-green-black anti-Semitic intersectionality alliance. Faculties, often financed by foreign entities such as Qatar, have also been active in the production and dissemination of curricula for public and private grade schools that convey the intersectionality alliance’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish message. That dissemination has become a widespread project of the red-green-black alliance, infiltrating schools across the nation.
The Israel-Hamas War
The recent Israel-Gaza war, the fourth triggered in the last thirteen years by Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, showcased intersectionality’s most notable example of concerted joint endeavor, its targeting of Israel and Jews, and the penetration of that shared endeavor even into the halls of Congress.
Hamas’s missile barrages, aimed at Israel’s civilian population, doubly fit the internationally recognized definitions of war crimes, by virtue of their objective of killing civilians and by virtue of their using Gazan civilian areas as launching sites for their attacks, thus endangering Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas justified its most recent initiation of hostilities by claiming it was responding to Israel’s seeking to expel Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem and also to Israel’s allegedly attacking the Al Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim sites on the Temple Mount.
The Sheikh Jarrah issue relates to some of the Jewish property that was seized and held as “enemy property” by Trans-Jordan after it conquered the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1948 and killed or expelled all Jews living there. Following the 1967 war, Israeli courts confirmed Jewish ownership of the property but granted Arabs residing there the status of protected tenants, able to remain and even pass the right of residence on to their heirs as long as they paid rent. In recent years the tenants have refused to pay rent and it is in response to this that the courts have for some years ordered the vacating of the property. This is one element of Hamas’ trumpeted casus belli.
The other Hamas justification for initiating the war, that Israel was threatening Al Aqsa, has been a rallying cry for virtually a century by Palestinian leaders seeking to instigate murderous attacks on Jews. In 1929, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, then the most prominent figure among Palestinian Arabs, used the claim to choreograph assaults on Jews that took some 130 lives. According to reports at the time, such as those by Dutch-Canadian journalist Pierre van Passen, Husseini also produced and distributed bogus photographs of a supposedly demolished Jerusalem mosque in hopes of stoking anti-Jewish sentiment in Egypt and elsewhere.
Since Israel regained control of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, in 1967, it has allowed Muslim authorities to administer the area and has prevented Jews from worshipping on the Mount. Yet claims that the Jews were destroying Al Aqsa have continued in efforts to trigger anti-Jewish violence.
The events on the Temple Mount that preceded Hamas’s missile attack on Jerusalem entailed the storing of rocks and explosives in Muslim religious sites to be used for attacking Jews in the area, including Jews praying at the Western Wall at the base of the Mount, and subsequent clashes between assailants and Israeli police. This is Hamas’s other excuse for unleashing war.
Both Hamas justifications were embraced by the black-Islamist/Palestinian intersectionality alliance and its Far Left campus allies.
Leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization condemned Israel in the context of the fighting and declared the organization’s “solidarity with Palestine.” For some years BLM leaders have embraced the Hamas-linked Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel and at times have called for Israel’s annihilation. In the last year, Black Lives Matter “demonstrators” have vandalized synagogues and Jewish businesses in Los Angeles and elsewhere. They have done all this while playing up the intersectionality connection between African-Americans and Palestinians. The assertion by BLM leaders of their immersion in and embrace of Marxist/Communist ideology represents another stream of Jew-hatred shaping the organization’s actions. BLM support for the genocidally anti-Semitic Hamas in the recent war is thus of a piece with the organization’s longstanding and much-reiterated positions.
A number of African-American members of Congress echoed BLM’s intersectionality-infused pro-Hamas stance. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley opined: “Palestinians are being told the same thing as black folks in America: there is no acceptable form of resistance.” It’s not clear if she meant the rocks and explosives stored on the Temple Mount for attacking Jews, or Hamas missiles, or both, should be recognized as acceptable forms of resistance. Congresswoman Cori Bush likewise drew an analogy between blacks in America and the Palestinians and seemed to justify Hamas’s missile barrages as part of “the fight for Palestinian liberation,” which she saw as “interconnected” with the struggles of African-Americans. Congressman Jamaal Bowman also took up this supposed interconnection: “Enough of Black and brown bodies being brutalized and murdered...” He characterized the events in Sheikh Jarrah and on the Temple Mount as “violently evicting families from their homes...” and “A show of strong force during prayer... Destroying holy sites...,” echoing obviously absurd Hamas lies.
Of course, a number of other members of Congress likewise blamed Israel for the recent hostilities and either explicitly or implicitly sided with Hamas. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Muslim Congresswomen with histories of trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes, predictably came out with attacks on Israel. Omar essentially called for Israel’s destruction. Tlaib characterized the Palestinians as passive victims of Israeli aggression. Neither mentioned Hamas’s missile onslaught. Both women have invoked the intersectionality link with African-Americans to buttress their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish agendas.
Representing the anti-Israel agenda of the red-green-black alliance’s progressive/Far Left contingent, a number of whose Congressional adherents signed an anti-Israel letter during the war, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortes suggested that Israel’s response to the Hamas missile barrages was somehow an attack on Palestinians’ “right to survive” and that Hamas’s missiles were defending that right.
Twenty-five members of Congress signed the anti-Israel letter, initiated by Representatives Marie Newman and Mark Pocan and again condemning Israel with absurd charges and without referencing Hamas’s initiation of the war or intentional targeting of civilians. Of the 25 signers, 17 had also sent letters of congratulations and support in November, 2019, to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on the occasion of its gala celebration. (Ilhan Omar was a featured speaker at the event.) CAIR had earlier been named by the FBI as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial for providing backchannel financial support to Hamas and being part of a group set up by the Muslim Brotherhood for that purpose.
On the nation’s campuses, beyond the many faculty resolutions condemning Israel and siding with Hamas, student groups reflecting the intersectionality red-green-black alliance likewise passed anti-Israel, in effect pro-Hamas, resolutions and demonstrated in support of that agenda.
On the streets of cities across the nation, Jews and Jewish institutions were attacked by Palestinian/Islamist assailants often joined by intersectionality allies.
The White Supremacist Connection
The tsunami of anti-Semitic acts that accompanied the recent war also underscored another element of the red-green-black alliance’s intersectional Jew-hatred: Its links to neo-Nazi and white supremacist Jew-hatred. Ostensibly, the anti-Semitism of African-American groups such as the Black Lives Matter organization and its Congressional auxiliary is grounded in Jews being white and beneficiaries of white privilege; and the anti-Semitism of Islamist/Palestinian allies of black Jew-haters and Jew baiters is due to Israeli colonialism and, again, a response to white imperialism; and both groups’ leftist/Marxist allies, on and off campus, either tacitly or explicitly endorse these rationales for attacks on the Jews. But the concerns about white privilege and white imperialism and white supremacism somehow have not prevented the intersectionality alliance from finding common ground with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The recent attacks on Jews by intersectional allies, culminating in the attacks around the war, and the frequent association on social media of intersectional allies’ anti-Israel and anti-Jewish memes with praise of Hitler, have led a number of commentators to look at the connections between those allies and far right anti-Semites.
With regard to Islamists and Palestinian leaders, there is not far to look. The Muslim Brotherhood, virtually from its inception, viewed European fascism, including Nazism, as a model for building an anti-Western movement and exposing and challenging the perceived corruption, decadence and vulnerability of the Western democracies. The Nazis’ targeting of the Jews converged with the Islamist animus against both Christians and Jews but particularly against the Jews, whose achievements within Western societies were seen as further evidence of the West’s decadence and as a further insult to Muslims for having been bested and overtaken in political and military power by those societies. Jews were also seen, as in fascist Europe, as a vulnerable and despised target useful for advancing a political movement. As a phrase popularized by Islamists, to capture a strategic sequencing of targets, puts it: First Saturday’s people, then Sunday’s people.
Among Palestinians, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, again the grand mufti of Jerusalem who in 1929 had used the claim of a threatened Al Aqsa - Hamas’s justification for the recent war - to orchestrate deadly attacks on Jews, a decade later was supporting Nazi operations in the Middle East. He subsequently went to Berlin, where he remained through much of the war as Hitler’s guest - perhaps the original intersectionality - recruiting southern European Muslims for the SS and broadcasting calls to the Arab world to support the Nazis and kill Jews. He also planned with Nazi officials arrangements for the extermination of the Jews of the Mandate after what was anticipated to be Rommel’s Afrika Korps’ conquest of Egypt and advancement eastward. Al Husseini remains a revered and inspiring figure for Palestinian leaders and their followers.
As does Hitler; and not only among Palestinians but in the wider Muslim world, particularly where the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, such as Hamas, have political and cultural influence and a following. Statements from Palestinians and others in the Muslim world to the effect that Hitler was right, or that he didn’t kill enough Jews, or that the world needs a Hitler now - views that many would imagine are limited to neo-Nazis and white supremacists - are common in that world, as is the publication and wide dissemination of Mein Kampf. They reflect what has long been popular sentiment. Recently in the news has been the Biden Administration’s decision to resume funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to the tune of about a quarter billion dollars, despite UNRWA’s involvement in aiding Hamas and promoting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in its schools. A new report by UN Watch, “Beyond the Textbooks,” documents the involvement of over 100 UNRWA “educators” in such hate-indoctrination and cites a UNRWA math teacher in Gaza, Nahed Sharawi, “who shared a video of Adolf Hitler with inspirational quotes to ‘enrich and enlighten your thoughts and minds.’” As noted earlier, the use of Nazi caricatures of Jews and other elements of Nazi propaganda are likewise widespread and popular in the Palestinian and wider Muslim world.
The work of Mohammed Al-Azdee, the professor of communication theory who has studied the sermons of imams in American mosques and documented the frequency of their incitement against Jews, was reviewed in an article by Ben Cohen (Algemeiner, July 20, 2021) in which he reported in greater detail on Al-Azdee’s research. Cohen notes that, according to Al-Azdee, “Key [to the anti-Jewish content of the sermons] is the linkage between the nature of antisemitism among Islamists and that of the Nazi regime in Germany.
“Bridging these two worlds, Al-Azdee points out, were a series of theologians and political leaders, such as Sayyid Qutb, the chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the middle of the last century; Hajj Amin al-Husseini... and the late Al Qaeda chieftain Osama bin Laden, whose 2002 letter to the American people informed them that they could not be considered ‘innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us...’
“‘There are links to major antisemitic traditions,’ Al-Azdee said. ‘Nazi propaganda shaped Arab antisemitism, and in my data analysis you can see the pattern of alignment between Nazi and Muslim antisemitism. The khutbahs [sermons] are about Jews, but Jews represented as “Der ewige Jude” — “The Eternal Jew,” the German title of a 1940 propaganda film backed by Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Josef Goebbels, which purported to unveil a global Jewish conspiracy against Germany.’
“The range of antisemitic themes pushed by the imams examined by Al-Azdee also conformed to the various Nazi obsessions about Jews, from possessing unaccountable economic power to corrupting the morals of society. As Sayyid Qutb venomously put it, ‘from such creatures who kill and massacre and defame prophets, one can only expect the spilling of human blood and of dirty means that will further their machinations and evil.’
“According to Al-Azdee, for Qutb and other Islamist ideologues, antisemitism was an ‘integral component of the Islamic state,’ much as it was in Germany under National Socialism. That view is buttressed by antisemitic quotes from the Qu’ran as well as from the hadiths, or sayings, of the Prophet Muhammad, describing Jews as the descendants of ‘apes and pigs,’ urging their execution on the ‘Day of Judgement,’ and labeling them as ‘filth’ — a term that in the Muslim world, Al-Azdee said, refers explicitly to human excrement.”
Among African-Americans, there have also long been pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler contingents. This has particularly been so within black separatist and supremacist movements. As Daniel Greenfield relates, in a recent article entitled “Hitler’s Multicultural Supporters,” Malcolm X “welcomed the leader of the American Nazi Party... to a Nation of Islam event.” Malcolm X also met with leaders of the KKK, and he met as well with and spoke positively of Haj Amin al-Husseini. Farrakhan, amid his Jew-baiting rants, has declared that, “Hitler was a very great man,” and, of course, he has parroted Nazi characterizations of Jews as sub-human. The virulent anti-Semite Stokeley Carmichael/Kwame Ture asserted, “We must take a lesson from Hitler”; and, “I’ve never admired a white man, but the greatest of them, to my mind, was Hitler.” At a time when black separatism is again in vogue, cheered on by academia and its promotion of separate black living quarters, social spaces, even graduation ceremonies, it is not surprising that pro-Nazi and white supremacist anti-Jewish tropes would be more prominently incorporated into some arenas of black political discourse.
(And the cross-fertilization goes in the other direction as well. For example, a July 2 news article noted that, “An unknown person or group distributed antisemitic propaganda at the University of Washington that read: ‘Remember the slave trade? 78% of slave owners were ethnic Jews. 48% of Jews were slave owners. Dismantle kike supremacy. End white guilt.’” The white supremacist flyer was citing spurious claims promoted by the Nation of Islam.
(As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote in his 1992 article on black anti-Semitism, “...the bible of the new anti-Semitism is ‘The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,’ an official publication of the Nation of Islam... One of the most sophisticated instances of hate literature yet compiled... It charges that the Jews were ‘key operatives’ in the historic crime of slavery, playing an ‘inordinate’ and ‘disproportionate’ role and ‘carving’ out for themselves a monumental culpability in slavery... [I]f readers actually [checked out the authors’ claimed sources], they might discover a rather different picture... They might find out - from the book’s own vaunted authorities - that, for example, of all the African slaves imported into the New World, American Jewish merchants accounted for less than 2 percent, a finding sharply at odds with the Nation of Islam’s claim of Jewish ‘predominance’ in this traffic.”
(White supremacists and neo-Nazis have also taken up Islamist/Palestinian tropes. What we have is white supremacists and black supremacists as well as Islamist/Palestinian supremacists sharing and trafficking in each others’ anti-Semitic fabrications and calumnies.)
Intersectional Jew-Hatred’s Priority Target
The recurrence of white supremacist and neo-Nazi themes in the intersectionality alliance’s assault on American Jews, and the history of those themes in both Islamist/Palestinian anti-Semitism and African-American anti-Semitism, underscore an essential but almost universally overlooked aspect of present-day American anti-Semitism: that while hostility to Israel and Zionism is often the excuse put forward by perpetrators of today’s epidemic anti-Semitism, particularly those who are part of the red-green-black alliance, American Jews are not a secondary target, attacked for their supposed support of Israel, but are a primary target.
Islamist/Palestinian assailants of American Jews on the nation’s campuses and beyond are certainly haters of Israel and desire her annihilation. But Muslim Brotherhood anti-Semitism predated Israel and transcended Zionism. As noted, its focus has been to promote its comprehension of Islam’s proper place in the world, as the world’s exclusive creed and culture, and to promote advancement towards that goal at least in part through Jihad. Attacking the Jews, pursuing the objective of their extermination worldwide, the acknowledged intent of Hamas, has been embraced as religiously required and strategically useful. It is useful for discrediting and undermining those in the Arab and broader Muslim world who seek cooperation with a Jew-tolerating West. And it is useful in helping divide and weaken the West by demonstrating Jihadi power against a vulnerable Western-allied minority and by sowing internal division and discord and undermining Western resistance to Islamist penetration. Hamas leaders have stated on a number of occasions that the pursuit of Israel’s destruction is only a small part of the organization’s intent and that the ultimate end is Islamic domination of the entire world. If there were no Israel, Islamist anti-Semitism would still thrive. And, again, the Islamist hatred of Israel is in large part derived from the perception of the Jews as the weakest and most despised of peoples and their reestablishment of their national home in the middle of the Muslim world as the most intolerable insult to the proper order of things.
And the current anti-Semitism emanating from blacks on campuses and from some black groups and organizations derives even less from concerns about Israel and Zionism. If the key were genuinely, as the Black Lives Matter organization and its Congressional followers assert, about Palestinians being people of color and Israelis being white - itself an absurd distinction - then identification with Hamas would be more than countered by the reality of Hamas’s Middle East and African Islamist allies being responsible for the death of literally millions of people of color, black Africans, and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands more, over the last half century - Christians and Muslims and followers of local religions. The anti-Israel animus would be more than countered by the reality that many of the black African nations victimized by Islamist terror have turned to Israel for help in fighting the onslaught.
A much more realistic appraisal of black anti-Semitism in recent decades is provided by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., again in his 1992 article: “But why target the Jews?... The answer requires us to go beyond the usual shibboleths about bigotry and view the matter, from the demagogues' perspective, strategically: as the bid of one black elite to supplant another... It requires us, in short, to see anti-Semitism as a weapon in the raging battle of who will speak for black America -- those who have sought common cause with others or those who preach a barricaded withdrawal into racial authenticity... The strategy of these apostles of hate, I believe, is best understood as ethnic isolationism: They know that the more isolated black America becomes, the greater their power... And what's the most efficient way to begin to sever black America from its allies? Bash the Jews, these demagogues apparently calculate, and you're halfway there... Many American Jews are puzzled by the recrudescence of black anti-Semitism, in view of the historic alliance between the two groups. The brutal truth has escaped them: that the new anti-Semitism arises not in spite of the black-Jewish alliance but because of that alliance.”
And so too for the Far Left, progressive/Marxist, wing of the red-green-black alliance, in academia and beyond, which has always targeted Jews as a way of advancing its class warfare agenda and weakening the societies it wants to overthrow. It is largely the anti-Semitism directed towards American Jews that is primary, the targeting of Israel secondary.
And, of course, the anti-Semitism of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists is focused on American Jews with the objective of ridding the nation of Jews, rendering it Judenrein.
Many people are reluctant to look at this reality that the current epidemic of anti-Semitism in America is not, in fact, essentially derived from hatred of Israel. In particular, there are many American Jews who identify with the left and are loathe to fully acknowledge the red-green-black alliance’s role in today’s anti-Semitism. They also prefer to believe, when obliged to acknowledge that role, that the primary target is Israel, that that somehow lessens the ugliness of the bigotry, and that, additionally, if they voice their own criticisms of Israel, they will be able to exempt themselves from being targeted by this Israel-related anti-Semitism. Within minority populations under siege, there are always segments that seek to delude themselves about the nature of the attack and about their own ability to assuage the attackers or at least deflect the onslaught away from themselves. But such self-delusions come at a price. If today’s plague of rampant anti-Semitism in America is to be effectively countered, its sources and its objectives - particularly the role and the aims of the red-green-black intersectionality alliance, American society’s most pervasive and mainstreamed font of anti-Semitism - must be honestly acknowledged and forcefully challenged and fought.
Kenneth Levin is a psychiatrist and historian and author of The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege.