CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblat (Wall Street Journal)

The Deeprooted Anti-Semitic Problem within the Left

For the longest time, Jews have felt safer in the United States than they had almost anywhere else throughout history. However, as evidenced by the recent tragic shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Chabad of Poway and at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, along with the creeping acceptance of a culture that permits the harassment and ostracization of Jews, it has become clear that this epoch of safety is fading. In 2019, more anti-Semitic incidents of harassment and violence were recorded than in any given year in the past four decades. While violent anti-Semitism perpretrated by the alt right, its conventional source, has increased, what’s more surprising is the exponential increase of anti-Semitism, often of a more subtle strain, stemming from the radical left.   What can this marked rise in anti-Semitism be attributed to? 

Jonathan Greenblat, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told ABC News that one of the main reasons for this marked increase in anti-Semitism is “the charged politics of the day.” America’s long-established political parties, Democratic and Republican, have both become increasingly polarized in the past few years. And, a new, as of yet unnamed, fast growing left wing party is on the rise, with a subtly ominous message for the Jews. The parties are divided on a varied array of issues such as abortion rights and gay marriage. However, the two hotly contested issues whose outcomes may have a dire impact on the Jews are how to combat racism, and the validity of the State of Israel. In particular, new progressive opinions on these consequential questions have the potential to debase Jews’ standing both politically and socially, and the recent rise in anti-Semitism seems to be correlated with the popularization of these views.

An ever more mainstream segment of the left has been increasingly clear on its standpoint regarding both of these crucial issues. The belief is growing within the so-called “liberal” community that one is unable to be both a progressive and a supporter of Israel. This cannot be better exemplified than through progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s actions a few weeks ago. Occasio-Cortez was invited to speak at an event in memory of Israeli hero Yitzchak Rabin. She accepted the honor; however, her supporters condemned her for supporting a supposedly racist and anti-Palestinain leader. When Palestinian rights groups on Twitter informed her of this “undoubtedly” correct information, she immediately withdrew support of both Rabin and the event. 

If Yitzchak Rabin, a leader who died trying to bring peace in Israel, and a core symbol of progressive Zionism, is not accepted in liberal circles, who can be? Jews do not have a place in the rising new left, and we need to accept it. In the words of author Bari Weiss, “stop being shocked… Stop saying, can you believe. It’s time to accept reality, if we want to have any hope of fixing it.” 

An important distinction does need to be noted. Democratic liberalism as we know it believes that people are created with differences that should be valued, but that all humans are inherently equals. According to Weiss, the currently nameless progressive political party rising to replace liberalism has a different value system. She said, “We live in a world in which everyone is being told to side either with the ‘racists’ or the ‘anti-racists’. Jews who refuse to erase what makes us different will increasingly be defined as racists, often with the help of other Jews desperate to be accepted by the cool kids.” The foundation of this new school of thought’s social ideology is critical race theory. This theory states that instead of being biologically grounded, race is simply a social construct used by white people against minorities to give themselves political and economic advantages. By this logic, the new left would seek to eliminate the said “social construct” of race and to diminish the things that separate people, with the ultimate goal of us all having equal opportunities and no substantial differences.

This is extremely problematic for Jews. Orthodox or secular, Jews defy categorization, and a large percentage want to remain different, as these unique qualities are what has kept our nation united over the millenia. But the existence of these differences, and in particular the Jews’ internalized desire to remain different, is a virtual slap in the face of critical race theories’ goal of rebuilding a colorblind society where differences are not recognized. The existence of the Jewish people as a nation is a glaring roadblock to this vision.

The hypocrisy of this new left wing part is shocking. Their entire philosophy is aimed at ridding the world of the blight of racism by eliminating hatred and differences, but they have become the new proponents of anti-Semitism. They are blindly deluded into thinking they are pursuing lofty goals of justice and equality; but, in the process they are perpetuating age-old hate against Jews. The progressive vanguard has done two things that have stoked the flames of anti-Semitism: For one, they have excluded Jews from pursuing noble progressive goals they believe in because of their Zionism. And, two, one cannot help but notice that over the past couple of years where this new radical progressiveideology has exploded, there has been a furious resurgence of anti-Semitism. 

Gabriella Jacobs is a junior at ​Maayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in New Jersey. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.

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