When Donald Trump was elected president, much of American Jewish leadership reacted with something close to hysteria. To some, Trump’s presidency reflected the traditional face of the anti-Semitic right — xenophobic, nationalist and culturally conservative.
Trump’s handling of certain events, notably the Charlottesville white nationalist rally, have revived earlier charges that the president winks at right-wing racist supporters, even considering them part of his base.
The disdain toward Trump in the rabbinical community — often more liberal than congregants — was reflected in its cancellation of the annual New Year (Rosh Hashanah) call with the president. Yet, for all of the justifiable worries about the extreme right, the more consequential threat may well come from the left side of the spectrum.
The European model
I first became aware of this shift almost 15 years ago, when my wife, Mandy, and I visited the famous Nazi hunters, Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, at their offices in Paris. One would expect Serge, whose father died in the concentration camps, to focus his concern on aspiring brown shirts, but, instead, he suggested that the biggest long-term threats would come increasingly from the left and parts of Europe’s expanding Muslim immigrant communities.
Some Jewish groups seem slow to realize how much things have changed since 1940. To be sure, the rise of right-wing nationalism across Europe is frightening, but, increasingly, the primary locus of European anti-Semitism can be found in heavily Muslim communities around cities such as Paris, as well as in Europe’s universities, where anti-Israel sentiments are increasingly de rigueur.
Of course, one can question some Israeli policies — as I do regarding the expansion of settlements — without being an anti-Semite. But the anti-Israel focus of groups like those in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement clearly represents a new face of anti-Semitism. As the liberal French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy argues, this movement targets the Jewish state, but leaves totally unscathed far more brutal, homophobic and profoundly misogynist Muslim states. A double standard for Jews remains an enduring feature of anti-Semitic prejudice.
Some, like the chief rabbi of Barcelona, think it’s time for Europe’s Jews to move away, as many, particularly from France, are already doing. Overall, Europe’s Jewish population is less than half of what it was in 1960.
Nor is the immediate prospectus positive, as many leftist parties in Europe are increasingly dependent on Arab and other Muslim voters, many of whom come from places where over 80 percent of the public holds strongly anti-Jewish views. Even in the United Kingdom, opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has cavorted openly with leaders of vehemently, and openly, anti-Semitic groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. If elevated to the prime minister’s post — which is no longer inconceivable, given his strong run in the last election — the consequences for Israel and Britain’s dwindling Jewish community could prove difficult.
Is America next?
Some Jewish progressives charge the president with anti-Semitism, despite the fact that his daughter, his son-in-law and their children are themselves observant Jews. And, to be sure, he and his inner circle have been too slow to denounce far-right groups, which, at the very least, reveals the president’s tin ear.
But, increasingly, as in Europe, the largest threat stems not from the isolated, and pathetically small, lunatic fringe of white supremacists. The most anti-Israel members of Congress come primarily from the left wing of the Democratic Party, not the right wing of the GOP. Democratic voters — as well as key constituencies like minorities and millennials — poll consistently less sympathetic to both Jews and Israel than older, generally white Republicans.
As of 2013 Jews in the USA made up a scant 2.2% of the population.
Is there any rational reason they should be of a higher proportion in a Trump Administration?
Jewish pundits were so worried about this that they, in large numbers signed a Never Trump pledge.
If he got elected, they rightly reasoned, they would no longer have an ear in the Oval Office.
Identity politics needs to go they way of the dinosaur.
Globalist politics, too, for that matter.
But, just because President Trump doesn’t surround himself with Jewish administrators doesn’t mean he is an anti-Semite.
But, it is not the RIGHT that acts anti-Semitic.
It is the Left and Islam.
The right just gets the blame.
Just as Europe has a hard time naming Muslims/Islam as the problem when it comes to sexual assaults of European women, so, too do they try to hide hate crimes by Muslims against Jews.
Like the murder of elderly doctor Sarah Halimi by her 27 yr old Muslim neighbor Kobili Traoré, who screamed “allahu ackbar” as well as “you are satan” as he threw her out her 3rd story window.
BTW, the police were right her door outside in case you thought they’d save her.
Maybe if she’d owned a gun…
Meanwhile there’s an entire industry built up of FAKE Islamaphobic crimes that all turn out to be self-perpetrated.