Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
When Robert Bowers walked through the door of the Tree of Life synagogue with murder on his mind, he was propelled by identity politics. As a white supremacist, his brand of identity politics is more politically incorrect than the ones that led Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour of the Women’s March to support Louis Farrakhan, but it’s no more violent, racist or evil.
Before the massacre, the most recent high profile anti-Semitic attack had been carried out by a Muslim who was caught on video beating a Jewish man while shouting about, “Allah” and his hatred for Jews.
Another hate crime, also caught on video, was a violent assault with a baseball bat by a black man.
Such assaults are less devastating than the mass murder of eleven people, but also much more commonplace. They repeat from month to month and year to year. They make up much of the toll of anti-Semitic hate crimes so that they top the list of hate crime statistics every single year.
The Tree of Life massacre has been greeted with editorials mourning a “loss of innocence” by American Jews. Such editorials come from a bubble of privilege that is cut off from the way many Jews live.
In 1991, New York City’s first black mayor stood and watched while a violent mob whipped up, by among others, Al Sharpton, went on a violent anti-Semitic rampage in Crown Heights. The Crown Heights Pogrom, as it would become known, took three lives and terrorized a neighborhood.
Sharpton, the black supremacist linked to the anti-Semitic violence, went on to speak at the Democratic National Convention, host a show on MSNBC and become a regular visitor to the Obama White House.
The distance between Crown Heights and Squirrel Hill is more than mere geography, it’s social and cultural. Anti-Semitic violence by black supremacists and Muslim terrorists tends to happen in poorer, urban neighborhoods and is directed against a poorer and more religious class of Jews. White supremacist attacks tend to target more suburban, prosperous and less diverse Jewish areas.
Those are home to the same Jewish populations who are much more likely to write editorials about a loss of innocence. But innocence is a privilege that Jews in poorer urban neighborhoods never had.
There are Jews who live in proximity to neo-Nazis and those who live closer to admirers of Farrakhan and Hamas. (Though Farrakhan and Hamas both admire Hitler for killing millions of Jews.) The Jewish communities that endured a generation of race riots, and another generation of muggings, knockout games, rapes and murders, before often having to pack up and move out, from their American Anatevkas in major cities, have never had any innocence of anti-Semitism, only bitter experience.
It is no coincidence that the privileged are also more likely to be progressive. The hysteria over Trump is not born of experience of anti-Semitism, but inexperience. To believe that President Trump is anti-Semitic is a confession of privilege. It’s an admission that your experience of anti-Semitism is an abstraction, a series of theories and history lessons, rather than the awareness of an everyday reality.
It takes a great deal of inexperience of anti-Semitism to believe that it exists only on the side of the political spectrum furthest from you. Anti-Semitism is tribal. Those who hate Jews tend to be losers who are convinced of their own natural superiority and blame the Jews for their failure to achieve it.
You can find such people on the right side of the spectrum, but it is the left side of the spectrum that has been built for them. Hitler’s genius lay in taking the fundamental appeal of socialism, its state controls, welfare state security blankets, suspicion of meritocracy and appeal to mediocrity, and reframe them in racial and nationalistic terms. But he only emphasized the anti-Semitism in socialism, he didn’t invent it.
Identity politics does the same thing as National Socialism, combining the welfare state and anti-capitalist rhetoric with naked racial appeals, tapping into the supremacist convictions of failed groups, offering them special racial privileges, while blaming their failures on meritocracy and capitalism.
The biggest beneficiaries of the social mobility provided by both have often been the Jews.
There is very little difference between white supremacism and black nationalism. Indeed there was so little difference that Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam collaborated with the KKK and the American Nazi Party. There’s a much closer route between Obama and Hitler, than there is between Trump and Hitler. Just follow Obama’s photo with Farrakhan, the affinity of his mentor, Jeremiah Wright, for Farrakhan, Farrakhan’s admiration for Hitler, and Hitler’s admiration for Islamic anti-Semitism and his role in inspiring the Muslim Brotherhood. But that’s a route that the progressives choose not to follow.
While progressive Jews may deny that black nationalism and white supremacism are the same thing, the mutual admiration society between them makes a mockery of their denials. Anti-Semitism is a tribal problem. Multiculturalism evolved into intersectionality, spawning more tribalism, more resentment, and an alliance of the resentful in which Jews are not full participants, but growing targets.
As a society becomes more racially and ethnically tribal, it grows more anti-Semitic. The white supremacist attack on a synagogue in Squirrel Hill is one symptom of a much larger problem.
The progressive Jews worry about the rare outbursts of white tribal anti-Semitism because that is the not particularly diverse population that these proponents of diversity live among. The working-class Jews of the inner cities worry far more about the daily diverse tribal anti-Semitism that surrounds them.
That is a ubiquitous anti-Semitism that their progressive brethren neither understand nor care about because it is inconvenient to their politics and alien to their experiences.
While Jewish communities around the world, from Crown Heights to Jerusalem, mourn for the massacre in Squirrel Hill, it often feels as if such outpourings of empathy are not reciprocated. When Jews were being stoned in Crown Heights by anti-Semitic mobs, the progressive Jews told them to stop embarrassing New York City’s first black mayor. When Rabbis were axed to death in a Jerusalem synagogue, the “innocent” progressives blamed Netanyahu and Israel’s imaginary ‘rightward’ drift.
They did not care that their tax dollars were being used to pay the terrorists murdering Jews. Nor do they care that the MSNBC news network that they were watching was paying a pogromist.
This “innocence” of theirs has a high price and for now, Jews in Brooklyn and Jerusalem are paying it. While progressive Jews live in the fading golden summer of the suburbs, working class Jews have lived through generations of looted stores, ransacked apartments, and random violent assaults. The dream of the former, their political policies and ideals, have been the waking nightmares of the latter.
But the age of innocence is coming to an end.
America is changing. The same forces that made Obama have also made Farrakhan relevant once again. Muslim migration will transform America the way that it did Europe. The cities will feel it first. But they won’t be the last. The combination of political radicalism and tribalism that is driving out the Jews of France, Sweden and now the United Kingdoms will not pass by the suburban shtetls of America.
White supremacism is one vector for anti-Semitism. Identity politics has created a dozen more.
The shootings at Squirrel Hill were not the worst of it. Unfortunately, tragically, and horrifyingly, the worst is yet to come. And when it comes, the old innocence will vanish as if it had never been.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.