What kind of BBC/FBI headline is this? (& The Nation: "How the Left Alienates Jews")

January 16, 2022

What kind of headline is this? The attack near Dallas yesterday took place during Jewish Shabbat services in a synagogue.

A SWAT team last night rescued a rabbi and several hostages who had been held in the synagogue by a man, who claimed to have weapons and explosives, ending a harrowing 12-hour standoff. The hostage-taker, who died as police stormed the synagogue, is believed to be a British citizen of Pakistani origin.

The hostage-taker demanded the release of so-called 'Lady Al Qaeda' (Aafia Siddiqui) a Pakistani American-educated academic (and notorious antisemite) serving 86 years for terrorist offenses, including planning a chemical attack.

"I am grateful to be alive," the Rabbi held hostage in the synagogue said afterwards. The synagogue was relatively empty because of the ongoing Covid pandemic.

-- Tom Gross


 


The Catholic Church has condemned as "offensive, unacceptable and irreconcilable with Christianity" a funeral procession outside a church in Rome last Monday in which the casket (above) was draped in a Nazi flag.

Video of the scene outside St. Lucia church on Monday showed mourners giving the right arm fascist salute following the funeral of 44-year-old Alessia Augello, a member of the extreme right-wing group Forza Nuova. She died of a blood clot last weekend. A similar incident took place outside another church in Rome in March last year.

 

"IT ALSO JUSTIFIES THE NEXT JEWISH GENOCIDE"

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach two new articles below about antisemitism, from the (center-left) Washington Post and from (the left-wing magazine) The Nation. Both ask why some leftwingers are antisemitic.

In the Washington Post, the writer says:

"? false fulminations about Jews committing genocide have found a home on certain parts of the left as well. ? They offer tantalizing rewards that make them irresistible to a certain brand of bigot. First, they weaponize the greatest Jewish trauma against Jewish people. As the Marxist political theorist Norm Geras put it, "To say to Jews that what they are doing is just like what the Nazis did to them is to appeal to the comparison that is most hateful." There is no better way to hurt someone than to fashion their own most painful experience into a club with which to beat them. It's not hard to imagine how turning the Holocaust on Jewish people, like turning slavery on Black people, provides a delicious transgressive thrill.

"Second, casting Jews as the perpetrators of a new, fictitious Holocaust frees non-Jews from the obligation to learn the lessons of the actual Holocaust. ? After all, making the Jews guilty of genocide doesn't just obviate non-Jewish guilt for permitting Jewish genocide. It also justifies the next Jewish genocide."


The writer in The Nation says:

"If the left wishes to advance a framework that values self-determination for ethnic minorities, it has to acknowledge that US Jews are an ethnic minority too, living in a state with a clear Christian hegemony, where the vast majority of people are massively ignorant of our history, traumas, traditions, and complexities."

 

ARTICLES

WHY PEOPLE LOVE ACCUSING JEWS OF GENOCIDE

Why people love accusing Jews of genocide
The latest antisemitic conspiracy theory seems absurd -- and it is, but it's also dangerous

By Yair Rosenberg
The Washington Post
January 10, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/10/antisemitism-jews-genocide/

Last week, David Bateman, a prominent Utah entrepreneur and Republican political donor, sent an unusual email to his state's business and political leaders, including Gov. Spencer Cox. The subject line? "Genocide." The topic: Jews. But Bateman's message was not about the Holocaust, or about Jews being the victims of mass murder. Instead, he accused them of perpetrating it.

"I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people," Bateman wrote. "I believe the Jews are behind this. ? I believe the pandemic and systematic extermination of billions of people will lead to an effort to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule. ? No one is reporting on it, but the Hasidic Jews in the US instituted a law for their people that they are not to be vaccinated for any reason." (No such law exists.)

Reached for comment by a bemused reporter, Bateman insisted that "some of my closest friends are Jews." He resigned from his industry positions shortly afterward.

It's tempting to write this off as the ridiculous ramblings of an Internet-poisoned tech magnate too rich to have ever been told "no" by those around him. On the surface, Bateman's ham-handed harangue certainly looks like a fringe -- even funny -- story. But it's not. That's because the libel that Jews are committing genocide has exploded in popularity across anti-Jewish discourse. It crosses ideological lines and is increasingly expressed in polite company.

Five myths about antisemitism

Indeed, once you start looking, it's hard to escape the fact that people just love accusing Jews of genocide. "The Jews will use the vaccine to change DNA making the person susceptible to designer viruses the Jews will create," wrote one poster on the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront in December 2020. "This is one way the Jews will attempt to kill off the White Race." That same month, the Anti-Defamation League reported that Ishmael Muhammad, a student minister in Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, "referenced the 'Synagogue of Satan' (an antisemitic phrase used to refer to Jews) for allegedly promoting vaccines to sterilize Black people," in a live sermon from the organization's headquarters in Chicago. "Those of you who are really big supporters of the vaccination program, whether you realize it or not, you are a new Nazi," intoned the antisemitic pastor Rick Wiles last month. "This is mass genocide." (Wiles is best known for dubbing the impeachment of President Donald Trump a "Jew coup.")

So far, so fringe. But the same cannot be said for the broader "white genocide" conspiracy theory, which posits that Jews are conspiring to wipe out the White race through the promotion of mass immigration, interracial marriage and other supposedly sinister social schemes. Fear of this farcical "great replacement" infamously inspired the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, who in 2017 chanted that "Jews will not replace us." And it featured prominently in the social media feeds of Robert Bowers, the white supremacist who massacred 11 Jews at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue in 2018.

Then, last year, the most popular political personality on American television took it mainstream. "The left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term 'replacement,' if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World," declared Fox News's Tucker Carlson this past April. "But they become hysterical because that's what's happening actually."

The Pittsburgh shooter didn't hate 'religion,' he hated Jews. We should say so.

Of course, even if one were to accept the questionable premise of this accusation, adding new people to the United States does not remove the previous inhabitants. There is no "replacement" unfolding, other than in the fevered imagination of the country's white nationalists. Carlson knows this. But he also knows the extremists in his audience and their preferred parlance. And so he chose to politely popularize the conspiratorial claims that had motivated the mass murder of American Jews. The message was received. "Tucker Carlson is talking about replacement theory; well, I knew it was going on way back then, way back in 1991," exalted former KKK leader David Duke.

Many liberals strongly condemned Carlson's remarks. And yet, false fulminations about Jews committing genocide have found a home on certain parts of the left as well. Last May, award-winning actor and outspoken Israel critic Mark Ruffalo apologized for publicly accusing the Jewish state of genocide. "It's not accurate, it's inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad," he wrote on Twitter.

Israel occupies the Palestinian people and the two have fought multiple wars. The Israeli military deserves scrutiny and criticism for every Palestinian civilian casualty. But occupation and discrimination are not genocide. In actuality, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Palestinian population in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank has increased around fourfold since Israel's founding. By contrast, the Holocaust killed two out of three European Jews. Within Israel itself, where 20 percent of the population is Arab, the most popular male baby name for the past decade has been Muhammad.

Whatever one thinks of Israel, that's obviously the opposite of genocide. Like most conspiracy theories, this one takes a kernel of truth -- about Israel's treatment of Palestinians -- and inflates it into a crazed calumny. In other words, Ruffalo was right to back off his remarks. But the fact that this incendiary claim filtered all the way up to a Hollywood star, who initially felt comfortable repeating it in public, demonstrates how acceptable this libel is even in some putatively progressive circles.

Obviously, not all these allegations are equivalent. Some are spread through ignorance, others through malice. But by now, it should be clear that people don't make these accusations because they make sense. Rather, false charges of Jewish genocide continue to proliferate because they offer tantalizing rewards that make them irresistible to a certain brand of bigot.

First, they weaponize the greatest Jewish trauma against Jewish people. As the Marxist political theorist Norm Geras put it, "To say to Jews that what they are doing is just like what the Nazis did to them is to appeal to the comparison that is most hateful." There is no better way to hurt someone than to fashion their own most painful experience into a club with which to beat them. It's not hard to imagine how turning the Holocaust on Jewish people, like turning slavery on Black people, provides a delicious transgressive thrill.

Second, casting Jews as the perpetrators of a new, fictitious Holocaust frees non-Jews from the obligation to learn the lessons of the actual Holocaust. "For thousands of years, for much of the world, part of the cultural patrimony enjoyed by all non-Jews -- spiritual and secular, Church and Mosque, enlightenment and romantic, European and Middle Eastern -- was the unquestionable right to stand superior over Jews," wrote University of California at Berkeley's David Schraub in 2016. "It was that right which the Holocaust took away, or at least called into question: the unthinking faith of knowing you were the more enlightened one, the spiritually purer one, the more rational one, the dispenser of morality rather than the object of it."

Anti-vaxxers are claiming centuries of Jewish suffering to look like martyrs

In a masterful maneuver of moral jujitsu, pinning genocide on the Jews allows the bigot to swipe the "Holocaust card" and play it against them. The victims are transformed into perpetrators, and their judgment is called into question. "Many people deeply resent the Jews for what Auschwitz took away from them -- the easy knowledge that their vantage point was elevated over and superior to that of the Jews," notes Schraub. "The desire to neuter the Holocaust is a desire to return to that old state of affairs."

This ominous outcome is why it is a mistake to dismiss efforts to fabricate a Jewish genocide as merely marginal or inconsequential. Fundamentally, the impulse to hang the Holocaust on the Jews is an attempt to return humanity to where it was before the Holocaust -- which enables such things to happen again.

After all, making the Jews guilty of genocide doesn't just obviate non-Jewish guilt for permitting Jewish genocide. It also justifies the next Jewish genocide.

 

HOW THE LEFT ALIENATES JEWS

How the Left Alienates Jews
Jewish voices are too often excluded from precisely the conversations they should be leading.
By Alexis Grenell
The Nation
January 24/31, 2022 issue

https://www.thenation.com/article/society/bds-dsa-antisemitism-israel/

Eons ago -- in 2019 -- Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Bob Bland stepped down from their leadership positions on the Women's March board after a series of self-inflicted wounds. Aside from the widespread mismanagement that starved state chapters of funding and alienated them over trademark wars, the leadership's failure to grapple with its own anti-Semitism (i.e. cozying up to Louis Farrakhan then offering the weakest possible denunciation of his racist, homophobic vitriol under the guise of intersectionality) exposed a gaping ignorance that many, especially Jewish women, simply could not abide.

Two years later, the Democratic Socialists of America seem determined to make the same mistake, one that's common on the US left: offending Jews. This is a bad idea. It's bad because Jews vote in higher numbers than the electorate at large. It's bad because Jews have a long history of left-leaning activism. And it's bad because -- especially after Charlottesville and the Tree of Life synagogue massacre -- it ought to be obvious that anti-Semitism, even in the United States, is no fucking joke.

The latest and perhaps most ridiculous example of this self-defeating strategy is the DSA's dust-up with Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York over his recent trip to Israel with the lobbying group J Street and his refusal to back the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, or BDS. Bowman is being raked over the coals by the DSA's National Political Committee, and several chapters across the country have called for his ouster. In a sloppy and selective application of principle that further exacerbate DSA's racial blind spot, the Madison, Wis., chapter has gone beyond condemning Bowman for failing to uphold Palestinian solidarity and has taken him to task over a tweet he posted mourning the death of Colin Powell: "As a Black man just trying to figure out the world, Colin Powell was an inspiration. He was from NYC, went to City College, and rose to the highest ranks of our nation.")

Never mind the fact that Bernie Sanders -- the most high-profile democratic socialist and a Jewish supporter of Palestinian rights who spent time on a kibbutz in Israel -- doesn't support BDS either. After weeks of rancor, the National Committee finally issued a 10-paragraph statement declining to expel Bowman, while repeatedly positioning the DSA as an opponent of the "Zionist lobby" and reiterating its commitment to BDS.

Bowman defeated Eliot Engel, a pro-Likud Israel hawk, to represent a district with a significant Jewish population. Surveys consistently show overwhelming opposition to BDS among American Jewry, including young people and those who identify as secular or "cultural" Jews. Despite its purpose as a standard political campaign against a state entity, BDS strikes profoundly emotional chords that can't be denied. Maybe that's because a boycott recalls the "Don't buy from Jews" dictum the Nazis issued as a prelude to confiscating Jewish assets and cutting our world population by more than a third, thus necessitating the building of a modern nation-state as a refuge from mass extinction. Maybe it's because a public and oft-stated goal of many of Israel's neighboring countries is to annihilate the Jewish state -- hence the need for an Iron Dome defense system to protect against missiles that target civilians. Or maybe it's because in the Jewish liturgy "Am Yisrael" refers to the "nation of Israel," often used interchangeably to mean the Jewish people, and our collective identity is inextricably bound up with centuries of forced exile from a historic homeland.

The DSA and many of those aligned with it don't seem much concerned by any of that, insisting that criticism of Israel is not inherently or always anti-Semitic (true) and that any pushback against such criticism to that effect is inherently in bad faith (not true). The problem is that in the taxonomy of oppression, the left doesn't leave much room for the experience or perspective of Jews, in part because we're mostly racialized as white and enjoy the benefits thereof. The corollary to that designation, however -- which is where the wheels come off the wagon -- is the notion that we're not "systemically" discriminated against. Indeed, compared with Black people, we're not: White Jews do not fear state violence or experience disproportionately harsher outcomes in the criminal justice system. Visibly Jewish people absolutely are subject to violence in the US, though -- as was seen this past spring, when people nominally protesting Israel's bombing of Gaza drove through New York City's heavily Jewish Diamond District (rather than, say, protesting at the Israeli embassy) and violently assaulted a man wearing a yarmulke. Those of us who aren't immediately identifiable as Jews still contend with widespread conspiracy theories about how we secretly control the media, the money supply, and all the world's power. When we point out the double standard on the left that routinely downplays the violence and racism against us, or stand up against our own discrimination, we're selectively carved out of the prerogative afforded to every other minority group to serve as the authority on our own oppression. The blowback from the Women's March included accusations that white Jewish women were inappropriately centering themselves. Sarsour had previously proclaimed that women who support Israel cannot be feminists.

Which brings us back to BDS and Palestinian rights. More US Jews support the latter than the former, including J Street (once angrily described by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "radical US leftist organization" for repeatedly opposing him), which advocates a two-state solution. It's a compromise position that reflects a historical reality dating back thousands of years, one that most self-described anti-Zionists seem uninterested in learning anything about. The whole thing gets collapsed into an intellectual shortcut that equates Jews with white colonists: White colonialism is bad, ergo Israel is bad.

None of this is to absolve Netanyahu's reign or excuse the oppression of the Palestinian people. But the DSA's anti-Israel position is often thoughtless, self-righteous, and anti-Semitic. Also, claiming that it's worse on the right doesn't make the fact of it any less true on the left. It only leaves Jews who are inclined to support DSA's politics but who are put off by its virulently anti-Israel position searching for a political home somewhere else. If the left wishes to advance a framework that values self-determination for ethnic minorities, it has to acknowledge that US Jews are an ethnic minority too, living in a state with a clear Christian hegemony, where the vast majority of people are massively ignorant of our history, traumas, traditions, and complexities.

 

* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you "like" this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.