It’s always awkward when you have to explain how, as part of the price of fighting antisemitism, you have to ally with antisemites. And the price of fighting antisemitism is limiting it to antisemites of the right political persuasion.
Deborah Lipstadt, United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, knows that there are Jewish leaders who are upset about the way her historic Combating Antisemitism Strategy was launched a few weeks ago at the White House, but she stands firm behind it.
“I’m not naive,” she told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday in an exclusive interview. She is in Israel in honor of the annual Global Forum of the American Jewish Committee in Tel Aviv.
One of the main criticisms was about allowing an organization with antisemitic statements in its past to participate in implementing the plan. According to the fact sheet that has been sent out by the White House, “the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] will launch a tour to educate religious communities about steps they can take to protect their houses of worship from hate incidents, such as instituting appropriate security measures, developing strong relationships with other faith communities and maintaining open lines of communication with local law enforcement.”
Actually, the main criticism was giving the Nexus, a definition of antisemitism coined by anti-Israel activists, side billing with the IHRA definition. But certainly including CAIR was the toothpick on the ham sandwich.
CAIR leaders have a history of ties to Hamas, defending antisemitic attackers and spewing antisemitism.
Lipstadt continued, “CAIR was one of the organizations that stepped forward in support and it’s mentioned in the fact sheet, as well as many other organizations.” She revealed that “I know CAIR is problematic,” but that “there are other groups and individuals that have problematic histories that are now talking about antisemitism.
“One can become overly cynical and say that fighting antisemitism has become this ‘thing’. It’s popular,” Lipstadt said of CAIR, adding that “one can also step back and say, Okay, we’re going to judge you by what to say going forward. We’re going to evaluate what you do henceforth.” She added: “I’m not talking about apologies,” but that organizations such as CAIR will be asked, “do you acknowledge that you might have, or might not have, engaged in statements or declarations that were easily and rightfully considered to be antisemitic?”
Lipstadt shared that if she took off her “diplomatic hat,” in Judaism, there is an act of forgiveness.
“If I put on my Jewish hat, you and I both come from a tradition that believes in forgiveness. Our holiest days of the year are about change. So if they’re really willing to change,” she said of CAIR, “If they’re really willing to say, ‘hey, we now see this is a serious problem,’ then they are welcome.”
Otherwise, Lipstadt said, they will not be welcome.
The only thing more tiresome than this childish tikkun olam nonsense is that some liberal Jews still fall for it.
That was 2021.
CAIR’s leaders have become a little more subtle in the past few decades.
In 1998, CAIR co-hosted a rally at Brooklyn College where Islamic militants exhorted the attendees to carry out “jihad” and described Jews as “descendants of the apes.”
But not that subtle.
Lipstadt knows how the game is played. The Biden administration would only sign on to an antisemitism strategy if it was intersectional, limited its targets exclusively to white racists, and celebrated Islamists as allies.
In D.C., there’s a price for everything and she chose to pay it believing that it was worthwhile.
What that actually meant is limiting the fight against antisemitism to the narrow corridor that fits leftist interests. And that means selling out Jews to ally with leftist and Islamist antisemites.
But sometimes you have to destroy the village to save the village, and ally with antisemites to fight antisemitism.