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Is the Israel/Gaza War the end of the Liberal-Zionist Alliance?
Woke anti-Zionists hate Israel/Jews due to their Whiteness
Many pro-Israel Jewish liberals are now finding themselves at odds with their previous allies on the left, due to tension over the Israeli Palestinian conflict. In an article in Tablet Mag, Hamas Killed My Wokeness, Alex Olshonsk said that “I was taught that we, as Jews, stand with the oppressed—because we were the oppressed.” Then he references BLM’s pro-Hamas meme and the anti-Israel letter at Harvard University, as for why he is no longer crazy about wokeness. In an Atlantic article, The Progressives Who Flunked the Hamas Test, Helen Lewis said that “The attack refutes the flawed assumption that all social-justice causes fit neatly together.” I don’t believe in some conspiratorial antisemitic narrative but rather that large numbers of Jewish liberals are genuinely shocked by their allies’ response.
The ADL had embraced the CRT definition of racism, and has been a major proponent of woke cancel culture, including being instrumental in blacklisting Donald Trump from Twitter. Now the ADL is outraged by their former progressive allies’ response to both the Hamas terror attack and Israel’s war in Gaza. For instance, the ADL recently accused Democrat congresswomen, Cori Bush, who has been outspoken against the pro-Israel Lobby, AIPAC, of feeding “into the spike in antisemitism across the US,” for refusing “to unequivocally condemn Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre”
ADL CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, stated that, “It has been an incredibly clarifying and terrifying moment at the same time for many progressive Jews. They’re calling me, tweeting, messaging, expressing shock and sadness that the people they marched with, the causes they marched for, have abandoned them in their hour of need.” Greenblatt also expressed displeasure with some of MSNBC’s war coverage. Later MSNBC disciplined hosts Ayman Mohyeldin, Ali Velshi, and Mehdi Hasan, who expressed pro-Palestinian sentiment and are all from Muslim backgrounds. The ADL and other liberal Zionists want to have it both ways, as far as taking a hard line against opponents of Israel while still holding on to the left’s paradigm on race.
It is hard to have sympathy for outraged pro-Israel liberals, as they contributed to the kind of identity politics that led to this. For instance, former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President, Larry Summers’, outrage over anti-Israel activism at Harvard. As president of Harvard, Summers presided over affirmative action and the rise in wokeness, but then suddenly now feels that woke politics have gone too far. Another example is UC Berkeley’s Law Dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, who is shocked and outraged at how anti-Semitic campus leftwing radicals are. Chemerinsky was previously caught admitting that he illegally discriminates against Whites in faculty hiring.
An example of blatant antisemitism from the Left, is Sarah Chowdhury, a lawyer and president of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago. Chowdhury was removed from her position at the Illinois State Controller after she told a Jewish person online that she wanted them to face the gas chamber and that “Hitler should have eradicated all of you.” A more innocuous example is a Penn Faculty Senate statement in which professors told donors & alums they can take their money and shove it, all with a subtle vibe of "you Jews can't manipulate us with your money." These Leftists are shocked that they’re getting into trouble for comments about Jews and Israelis because they’ve been saying the same things about White people for years and only received applause.
There is a lack of honesty that most of this sentiment is coming from the Left and from people of color. For instance, the ADL is still pretending that White Supremacy is behind the anti-Israel/antisemitic activism. White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, went as far as to compare leftwing anti-Israel protesters to White Supremacists who marched at Charlottesville. That statement was echoed by Bill Maher, who said that young woke people who protested against Trump have transformed into Charlottesville White Nationalists with Tiki torches. Even a pro-Israel ad campaign depicts blonde White women taking down posters of the hostages.
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Gad Saad, who is a centrist Intellectual Dark Web type and critic of wokeness, tweeted that “Me: Well, I defend liberal democracies; I'm Jewish and I have tons of family in Israel. By the way, your name is Roscoe Jethroe, you're from Arkansas. Why do you have a "From the river to the sea" tattooed on your forehead?” The reality is that hicks in Arkansas are more likely to support Israel while anti-Israel activism is disproportionally from people of color at universities. Overall White Americans are probably the most philosemitic people on earth. While Arab Muslims are stereotyped as not being crazy about Jews, the anti-Jewish comments are from diverse POC backgrounds at elite universities. Basically the ascendant diverse managerial class whom the elites are hedging upon.
Billionaire Hedge fund manager, Bill Ackman, put out a letter urging Harvard to take antisemitism more seriously. The letter stated that “the University should form a task force to review the appropriateness of the activities of the OEDIB and whether its practice of excluding certain minority communities on campus, including Asian and Jewish students, is appropriate, which in fact may be contributing to discrimination against these groups on campus.” While Ackman initially acknowledges that non-LGBTQ Whites are not a protected group, it is notable that he calls for strengthening protections for Jews and Asians yet not Whites broadly. On a similar note, a former DEI director, Dr. Tabia Lee of De Anza college in Cupertino, was on Fox News protesting that 'Diversity programs are portraying Jewish people as "White oppressors."
Both sides are desperate to demonstrate how woke they are, and not just in the West. For instance, Hamas’s leader compared Gazans to George Floyd, and there was an Israeli war propaganda campaign featuring Black Jews. Plus a Haaretz article, Dear BLM Activists, We Israelis Also Can’t Breath, mentioning that many Israelis living under the threat of Hamas terrorism are brown Jews. This is in response to pro-Palestinian takes like “It’s wild watching Zionists with blue eyes and blonde hair talk about how a country in the Middle East is their rightful homeland,” or pro-Palestinian leftists saying that Israelis should go back to Europe. A New York Magazine article by leftist, Eric Levitz, makes the case that Hamas are not leftwing anti-imperialist but rather rightwing ethno-nationalists, thus comparable to White Supremacists. While Levitz opposes Israel’s rightwing government, he emphasizes that Israelis are not colonizers like the French Pied Noirs in Algeria.
This rise in leftwing antisemitism is not necessarily an extension of the classical antisemitism of neo-Nazis but is rather a subset of anti-Whiteness. I am not at all shocked that many on the woke left would resent a group that is light skinned and economically successful. People of color generally view Jews as White, with the distinction between Jewish and gentile Whites mattering much less in a more non-White America, especially among those who hate Whites. A lot of antisemitism from the left is just standard BLM rhetoric but applied to Jews and Israelis rather than Whites broadly. Jews are being treated as White, and White is deemed bad. For instance, vicious anti-White propaganda, such as an Arizona State course called the problems of Whiteness. Even the anti-semitic persecution of the past is increasingly viewed by people of color as a White vs. White conflict. Jews are White but they are still a protected group, though that could change in the future.
To Leftists, Israel epitomizes Whiteness, and a modern day version of Apartheid or settler colonialism. The message from the 2020 BLM protests was to decolonize everything, though just not like that, as Larry Summers might protest. One can’t really be a woke anti-racist and also a Zionist, even if there are still some woke Zionists trying to keep that going. An America that is more non-White and with CRT-based education will be much less sympathetic towards Israel. This is not even factoring in that Israel’s siege on Gaza has already greatly damaged their soft power. Even though Biden is fairly pro-Israel, Zionism is increasingly becoming right coded, while the majority of Jewish Americans lean left. Long term, Zionism will probably be fully associated with the Right and Whiteness, and have no home in the rainbow coalition.