Was the concern for anti-Semitism in the wake of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre among the media and political establishment heartfelt and genuine, or, sadly, more cynical and calculating?
Are white nationalists the primary drivers of a growing scourge of Jew-hatred, or are its purveyors largely to be found elsewhere?
Both of these propositions were put to the test recently at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The results are sobering, and challenge the prevailing chattering class narrative.
At the 73rd session of the UNGA, the vast majority of its 193 member states voted to share a rotten early Chanukah gift with the Jewish people: Six blatantly anti-Israel resolutions.
These resolutions collectively cast the New Jersey-sized, most liberal, democratic and prosperous nation in the Middle East – faced with existential threats from all sides on a daily basis – as a deplorable, illegitimate “occupying Power.”
Beyond leveling the usual calumnies at the Jewish state, among other things, the resolutions: (i) deem invalid any Israeli control over its own capital of Jerusalem; (ii) suggest that the Jerusalem-based Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism – yet where Jews are perversely forbidden from praying — is solely the domain of Muslims, referring to it by its Arabic name “Haram al-Sharif;” and (iii) cast as illegal all Israeli development in Judea and Samaria — also religiously and historically vital Jewish lands, seized in Arab wars of aggression and reclaimed by Israel in the Six-Day War — for which too, Israel’s legal claims under international law are robust.
Religious, historical and legal merits aside, it is clear that these resolutions are meant to browbeat and bind Israel, while empowering her foes.
It is also clear that – to the extent there is a distinction between the two ideas, something this writer would dispute – such resolutions were not only “anti-Zionist,” but anti-Semitic. Why?
The UNGA singles out the world’s sole Jewish state to an egregious extent, and holds it to an unreachable, self-sacrificial standard, that in practice would only be satisfied by its destruction. Israel’s denigrators lodge a staggering number of condemnatory resolutions just like these against it annually. According to UN Watch, from 2012-2017, no less than 77 percent of all UNGA condemnatory country-specific resolutions exclusively targeted Israel. Virtually all of the resolutions affirm that when it comes to the Jewish homeland, basic rights and responsibilities — including those imperative to any nation’s survival such as defending its sovereignty and protecting its people from terror — are criminal.
Such resolutions are par for the course at the UN, a body with a sordid history of legitimizing and even lionizing totalitarians and tin-pot dictators, while attacking the West’s leading lights including the United States and Israel.
Remarkably, Israel’s most outspoken critics consist of the globe’s legitimately most repressive and evil regimes, from Venezuela to North Korea to Iran. The irony is certainly missed that those particularly hostile to Israel on the issue of the Arabs of Palestine include the Middle Eastern nations that in the 20th century threw hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes and expropriated their property, creating penniless refugees whose families never received restitution. These same nations today systematically discriminate against and persecute minorities. Many of them foment and sponsor terrorism globally.
The unique, uniquely one-sided, morally relativistic diplomatic offensive whereby retrograde powers treat free and pluralistic Israel as the worst nation on Earth, cursed with a constant asterisk next to its name, gives away the anti-Semitic game.
But it bears highlighting just how stark these anti-Israel votes were: All of three world powers, the United States, Canada and Australia voted with Israel on all six resolutions, against what the late great Democrat Senator and UN Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan – a man who would likely be excommunicated from his party today – referred to as the “jackals.”
The 28 EU states, which approved of all these resolutions, could only muster enough “courage” to say that next year they would reject resolutions treating the Temple Mount as solely an Islamic site.
Now, did every single nation vote against Israel out of deep-seated anti-Semitism? Certainly, for decades, Islamic supremacist leaders and their radically Leftist anti-Western allies have been consumed with hatred towards the Jewish nation.
As for our European allies, while the results of a recent CNN poll on growing anti-Semitism on the continent should give us pause in evaluating the reasoning behind such votes, there are far more plausible explanations than bigotry. For one thing, European nations might argue that they voted as they did for fear of harming relations with their Middle East partners. The recent news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel lobbied Central and Eastern European nations against moving their embassies to Jerusalem in a bid to maintain the Iran Deal is evidence of this. Additionally, European nations might argue that they fear a backlash among an increasingly Islamized Europe to siding with Israel. Writing on the massive increase in anti-Semitic violence in France, coinciding with the growing Muslim population there, the New York Times noted that in “16 surveys conducted over the last 12 years in Europe, ‘anti-Semitism is significantly higher among Muslims than among non-Muslims,’” per the work of Indiana University German historian Gunther Jikeli. Predictably, such anti-Semitic attitudes correlate with anti-Israel views among new Muslim migrants. Jikeli conducted a study in Germany on “Attitudes of refugees from Syria and Iraq towards integration, identity, Jews and the Shoah” confirming this linkage.
Therefore, while some nations voted out of bigotry, others may have done so for fear of blowback from the bigots.
Regardless, with the UNGA resolutions exemplifying such brazen Jew-hatred, or at best a craven silence in its face, at a preeminent world forum, one wonders: Where are the endless columns and hours of television coverage condemning the Israel-condemners? UN representatives for multiple billion people endorsed vile, anti-Semitic resolutions. Should not that stoke widespread outrage when just several weeks back America was transfixed with the scourge of Jew-hatred?
The silence is deafening.
And it is noteworthy that those who assented to these hateful resolutions were not “right-wing” white nationalists, or neo-Nazis. Rather, the non-Islamic European regimes who voted to throw Israel to the wolves are primarily run by typical, left-leaning, globalist bureaucrats.
Meanwhile, the nationalist Trump administration that the American left sought to smear as culpable for the Tree of Life Tragedy led the defense of Israel at the UN, as it has been doing for the last two years. Unlike its predecessors, which had typically abstained from an annual resolution condemning Israel’s “occupation” of the Golan Heights, the U.S. voted against the measure, with Ambassador Nikki Haley stating “The resolution is plainly biased against Israel.” Ambassador Haley also introduced a resolution that would for the first time condemn Hamas. The majority of UNGA affirmed this resolution, but it still, stunningly, failed to garner the two-thirds majority required to pass. This follows a series of other actions that have made President Trump arguably the most pro-Israel president since Harry Truman, including: closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, D.C. over unwillingness to enter negotiations with Israel; cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to the anti-Israel Orwellianly titled U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA); slashing hundreds of millions of dollars more in aid that would have been directed to the West Bank and Gaza in part due to Hamas’ control there; withdrawing from the anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council; and of course exiting Iran Deal and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Relatedly, at home, the Trump administration altered the definition of anti-Semitism to include anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism in order to protect Jews from discrimination on college campus.
Some kind of environment for Jew-haters.
Contrast the Trump record with that of President Obama, right down to his last vindictive act towards Israel and the Jews in a presidency filled with them. In what the Simon Wiesenthal Center deemed the most anti-Semitic incident of 2016, the Obama administration allegedly drafted and was responsible for pushing a resolution at the UN Security Council condemning so-called Israeli settlement activity, reversing decades-long U.S. policy against such a move, and then cynically abstaining on it – consenting without taking responsibility for it. The resolution breathtakingly called the Temple Mount and Western Wall “occupied Palestinian territory,” in addition to criminalizing the building of homes in Judea and Samaria. This last act at the UN it bears noting was opposed by none other than President Trump’s then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. In one of the conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak over which Flynn would plead guilty to perjuring himself, he reportedly lied to the FBI about advocating that the Russians delay or defeat the anti-Israel measure. When it came to President Obama’s central foreign policy “achievement,” Iran Deal — which disastrously empowered the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad, dedicated to Israel’s destruction — the Iran Deal echo chamber engaged in a campaign of vicious Jew-baiting, trying to browbeat recalcitrant Jewish Americans into backing the deal by raising the classically anti-Semitic dual loyalty canard.
The over-the-top chastising of Israel, the holding of Israel to an unreachable double standard and the elevating of Israel’s jihadist foes illustrates self-evident hostility towards Jews.
On the Left, from the Obamaites and the Iran Deal/Muslim Brotherhood echo chamber set who downgraded Israel and empowered her enemies, to the Sanders-Sarsour Left-Islamist intersectional choir and their pro-BDS comrades — which count several new congresswomen among their members — it is clear that such views are being mainstreamed.
Step onto any elite college campus and such views predominate, the same as if one were to walk the floor of the UNGA.
“Progressive” companies like AirBnB are joining in as well.
Conversely, looking at the analogue to progressives on the right, conservatives are staunchly pro-Israel. According to a January 2018 Pew poll, 81 percent of conservative Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Arabs of Palestine. Liberal democrats rate at a mere 19 percent.
The Left has cynically tried to use non-Islamist, non-Leftist attacks on Jews as a cudgel against the Trump administration under the foggy idea that he has created a “climate of hate,” curiously ignoring the climate created by the policies of his predecessor. This argument is belied by both President Trump’s aforementioned record, and reality. As The Federalist’s David Harsanyi has ably argued, the notion of a surge in right-wing violence since the 2016 presidential election is a pernicious myth. As for anti-Jewish hate crimes, while the number of such incidents rose 37 percent between 2016 and 2017, there were mercifully still only 938 such incidents in a country of well over 300 million people. In New York City – decidedly not Trump country – where the disproportionate percentage of hate crimes are committed against Jews, the New York Times noted in October:
If anti-Semitism bypasses consideration as a serious problem in New York, it is to some extent because it refuses to conform to an easy narrative with a single ideological enemy. During the past 22 months, not one person caught or identified as the aggressor in an anti-Semitic hate crime has been associated with a far right-wing group, Mark Molinari, commanding officer of the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, told me.
You could almost hear the Times’ readers gasping over a column disarming them of the narrative they had used against a president they loathe.
None of this is to say there are not neo-Nazis and other noxious Jew-haters in America who are not Leftists – granting for a second that the Nazis themselves were socialists. These bigots are no less odious than those on the Left. But it is not at all evident that they are near as large or as powerful a bloc of Jew-haters as their Leftist counterparts.
America remains an exceptionally tolerant place, including tolerating those who harbor ideologies even most antithetical to those on which our country was founded. That said, where there is hostility towards Israel in particular, it is overwhelmingly on the Left. Said hostility towards Israel is almost always inextricably intertwined with Jew-hatred, try as the Left might to ignore it.
The ignorance or at best indifference towards the anti-Semitism exhibited routinely at the UN and elsewhere suggests the awakening in the face of the Tree of Life massacre may have been largely political – virtue-signaling – which is a sad commentary.
The attempt to associate the pro-Israel Trump administration with such anti-Semitism is not only absurd on its face, but shameful, and it obscures the view from the true foes of the Jewish people, who ultimately too are foes of the West itself – at home as well as abroad.