It’s been a good season for anti-Semites. Jewish students graduating CUNY will have as their last memory of the school some inspiring words from professional anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, who believes a Jewish homeland has no place in the community of nations, Sharia should be law, and Zionist women cannot be feminists.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has been involved in a long string of anti-Semitic controversies, finally did something even the British Labour Party could not ignore. He called Hitler a Zionist.
But Livingstone was merely suspended from party membership, not expelled. And why should he have been? After all, he was merely echoing sentiments that many in his party seem to hold.
In the Middle East, as the Palestine Authority seeks to loosen Hamas’ grip on Gaza by refusing to pay its electricity bills, the UN has stepped in to tell Israel that it is its obligation, as the occupying party, to intervene and supply its sworn existential enemy with power for free. Israel, of course, has not occupied Gaza since 2005.
In the Alice in Wonderland world of the UN, Israel is still occupying Gaza, but its presence in a united Jerusalem does not legally exist. Israel’s excavations in Jerusalem that underscore the Jewish presence there for millennia and contradict Islamic make-believe history are ordered to cease. Israel will not comply.
Whatever the anti-Semitic UN does in its pandering to Islamic nonsense, generated by the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and has been so for over three thousand years. As one Israeli official put it, our history is embedded in every stone.
And if this were not enough to lacerate Jewish sensitivities in a single week, the more than 2,000,000 New York Jews were being treated to a political campaign that simultaneously weaponized and politicized anti-Semitism.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a candidate for New York City Council, was running a campaign steeped in anti-Semitic tropes of the exploitive, greedy Jew. Lopez-Pierre lashed out at his rival Mark Levine for being white and Jewish, undoubtedly a double-edged sin in the leftist world where all ethnicities are to be celebrated unless you are white and Jewish.
Lopez-Pierre, without so much as a scintilla of evidence, argued that greedy Jewish developers with Israeli money were responsible for 80% of the gentrification of Harlem that was displacing blacks and Latinos. And following the pattern of all racists, all members of a group are responsible for the bad deeds (real or imaginary) of any other members of the group. This, of course, was the deranged mentality of the Southern lynch mob!
Among anti-Semitic stereotypes, the Shylock trope resonates well, but apparently cooler heads convinced Lopez-Pierre, who never had a chance of winning, to fold his smutty tent and leave the electoral field to real candidates.
At the University of Wisconsin, intelligence did not prevail against bigotry. The student legislative group passed a BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) resolution against Israel and companies that aid the American war effort in the fight against ISIS. On campus, ISIS is good, and American soldiers are bad.
On campus, no other people are the target of boycotts. Not Syrians for the regime’s use of chemical weapons, not Russians for the invasion of the Crimea, not Chinese for the invasion of Tibet, and not Turkey for its war against journalists and its occupation of Northern Cyprus. Only Israel is targeted and only Israelis are held responsible for the alleged and often misrepresented actions of their government.
Would the members of the Associated Students of Madison (Wisconsin) ever hold themselves responsible for the actions of their government? Would they boycott themselves for what they see as the immoral war against ISIS?
So why boycott Jews? The answer is simple. Anti-Semitism is not only the oldest hatred, it is also the one that is most readily tolerated, especially in the groves of academe. But bigots should remember the lesson of history. What begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews.
Abraham H. Miller is a Distinguished Fellow with the Haym Salomon Center and an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati. He served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis and the University of Illinois, Urbana.