Both the far-left and the far-right have their anti-Semites and those willing to overlook that anti-Semitism for political expediency or general agreement. As a whole, though, the left does not tolerate anti-Semitism. There is a small group that makes themselves seem considerably larger than they really are because they are loud, but by no means are they anything more than an extremely small segment of the left. This element, and their enablers, do exist at Daily Kos, and it is an ongoing problem for the site. However, it is not representative of the left as a whole, and thus it is wrong to tar the left with this.
October 31, 2011 8:08 PM
I find it rather unfortunate that I am constantly called upon to repeat my basic argument.
The argument is not, I repeat, it is NOT that the progressive-left has racists, including anti-Semites. Of course the left has racists, including anti-Semites. The argument is that the progressive-left not only tolerates its anti-Semites, it has even made a home for them within progressive-left venues in the form of the anti-Semitic anti-Zionist movement that goes by the name of BDS.
The left, unlike the right, has institutionally incorporated its racists into its larger constituency and punishes Jews who object, although those very Jews are only now beginning to awaken to the progressive-left betrayal of the Jewish community. Reuven is thus entirely mistaken when he writes, "As a whole, though, the left does not tolerate anti-Semitism."
This is simply false.
The left not only tolerates anti-Semitism, it considers anti-Semitic anti-Zionism to be a legitimate form of discourse that has a place at the progressive-left table. The right-wing, at least in the United States, has marginalized its anti-Semites and has been doing so more or less since Bill Buckley stood up on this issue in the 1950s and 1960s.
Furthermore, the anti-Semitic anti-Zionist presence on the left is not limited to Daily Kos, but is found throughout the progressive-left wherever they come together. Whether it is in academic unions in Great Britain calling for the exclusion of "zionists" or political blogs in the United States discussing why Israel should never have come into being despite the Holocaust, anti-Semitic anti-Zionism has a respected presence among people who like to tell themselves that they are anti-racists.
The truth is that there is considerably more racism among left-wing "anti-racists" than there is among conservative right-wingers who are largely shedding their traditional racism. As the right sheds race hatred, the left is now cultivating it. Left-wing anti-Semitism, of course, is not nearly so pervasive as is left-wing condescension and bigotry toward Muslims. The left's general opinion of Arabs and Muslims, who they claim to support, is so low that they honestly think that all it takes for those Arabs and Muslims to start rioting is for Ariel Sharon to take a walk on the Temple Mount.
One would have to think that Arabs, particularly Palestinians, are absolute savages to think that a mere stroll on the Temple Mount is enough to set them off on a violent, years long rampage that meant the equivalent of a 9/11 every two weeks in Israel for three years. That's what the second intifada was for Israelis. In terms of the numbers dead by population level, Israel went through something more or less equivalent to a 9/11 every two weeks for three years after Arafat killed the Oslo Accords.
But progressives almost always blame the start of the second intifada on Sharon's stroll. This is pure racism against Arabs. Progressive-left anti-Semitism is not nearly so pervasive as is progressive-left bigotry toward Arabs and Muslims who they condescend to as children, violent children, true, but children, nonetheless. The problem with progressive-left anti-Semitism, however, is not that it is rife, as is progressive-left racism towards Arabs, but that they have institutionally welcomed that anti-Semitism into their movement.
This is what people like my friend Reuven cannot seem to face.
I understand why. As a liberal Jew, which I always was, it is exceedingly difficult to face the fact that we have been betrayed by the very political movement that we helped build. Facing that fact can have all sorts of personal consequences on various levels. It's a little scary, in truth.
But the good thing is that once one allows oneself to see the truth, and thereby to free oneself from political partisanship, than the mob no longer wields a veto on the direction of thought.
And that is a very good thing, indeed.