Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Beware of anti-Semitism from the left

With the recent white nationalist rallies in Virginia and the rise of the self-proclaimed alt-right, it comes as no surprise that anti-Semitism is alive and well. It may come as more of a surprise that the left is sometimes just as guilty as the right. This mostly comes from many people's inability to separate Judaism from the nation of Israel, but also from the inability to recognize the presence of anti-Semitism as a whole.

Israel has been a Jewish state since 1948. At this time in history, several important events occurred, including the birth of the Zionist movement, the support and protection of a Jewish state in Palestine and the continued support of modern Israel. 

This lead to an Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The people of Palestine have incurred many abuses of their fundamental human rights in these areas, including home demolitions and evictions, unfair trials and excessive use of force in response to nonviolent demonstrations by Palestinian people.

Therefore, many leftists and Democrats rightly and understandably do not support the nation of Israel. Unfortunately, this leads them to distrust the entire Jewish community, creating a false narrative that all Jewish people identify as Zionists who support the actions taken by the state of Israel.

This ideology manifested itself extremely clear in June at Chicago’s Dyke March, a self-proclaimed inclusive LGBT pride event that sought an intersectional alliance of race, class, gender and religion. Three marchers were told to leave the event because they were carrying a pride flag emblazoned with the Star of David. 

The organizers said in an official statement that the Jewish Star of David is a symbol of Israeli pride and Palestinian oppression and made many marchers feel unsafe. They claimed the march to be “anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.” 

While the Israeli flag does include a Star of David because of Israel’s status as a Jewish state, the display of a Star of David in no way denounces support for Israel. It simply exists as a symbol of the Jewish religion and community, and when people were kicked out of a self-proclaimed inclusive event because of its display, it was absolutely an act of anti-Semitism.

Casual anti-Semitism in the left even shows itself by failure to recognize dangerous acts of anti-Semitism as they are happening. For example, in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the white supremacist rallies, many people wore swastikas, and there were numerous chants of “Jew will not replace us.”

While the rallies in Charlottesville were absolutely issues of race and white supremacy, they were also direct anti-Semitic attacks. It is impossible to ignore the history between Jews and symbols of Nazism, but many prominent leaders in the left, such as Bernie Sanders, failed to mention the presence of anti-Semitism at all. 

This is because racism and anti-Semitism exist in different spheres. While white privilege absolutely exists, Jewish privilege does not. Many American Jews are white, which protects them from racism, but it does nothing to protect from anti-Semitism.

The truth is that acts of anti-Semitism rose 86 percent in just the first three months of 2017. These acts included assault, harassment, vandalism and even bomb threats against Jewish community centers. 

Jewish people deserve to be supported and protected, and the many failures from the left to do so are extremely concerning.

emmagetz@indiana.edu
@emmaagetz

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