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The Old Anti-Semitism in the New World

By Eliora Katz,
from The Wall Street Journal,

Attackers scapegoat Jews for both hurting and helping Muslims.

As the sun set in Paris Saturday, I returned from synagogue. I opened my phone after 25 hours of abstaining from electronics to read that Robert Bowers had allegedly opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, murdering 11. Such news is more common in France. French Jews today are murdered in synagogues, supermarkets, schools and their homes. The Fifth Republic has deployed military guards in front of Jewish institutions throughout the country. Will America also resort to this ugly Band-Aid, which fails to address the underlying malady? While in form the slayings in Pittsburgh and France seem similar, they differ notably in their motives. In France most attacks are part of what is sometimes called “the new anti-Semitism,” stemming from France’s growing Muslim population. Mohamed Merah murdered three young children and a rabbi outside a French Jewish school in 2012 because, he said, “the Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine.” Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a kosher grocery store in 2015, did so in the name of “oppressed Muslims.” Mr. Bowers’s complaint appears to have been precisely the opposite. He posted on the social network Gab: “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy evil jews Bringing the Filthy evil Muslims into the Country!!” Anti-Semitism defies the law of noncontradiction, and that’s nothing new: Jews have been persecuted and blamed for both capitalism and communism. Yet Baroness Jenny Tonge, a member of the British House of Lords, attempted to tie Pittsburgh to Israel. She posted: “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi [Netanyahu] and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism?” Similarly, in April 2016 a Black Lives Matter supporter asked Sen. Bernie Sanders: “What is your affiliation to the Jewish community?” The man prefaced the question with the claim that “the Zionist Jews . . . run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street, they run every campaign.” Mr. Sanders replied that he is “proud to be Jewish.” But instead of challenging the question’s premise, he said that although he supports Israel, “we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinian people.” By responding to a Jewish conspiracy theory with his views on Israel, Mr. Sanders lent legitimacy to the cloaking of anti-Semitism in anti-Zionism. The success of American Jews means that, in the game of identity politics, Jews are classified as “white,” and therefore the racist character of anti-Semitism is denied. The liberal political scientist Yascha Mounktweeted Saturday that an unidentified editor had told him, in Mr. Mounk’s paraphrase: “You cannot, in 2018, call the murder of Jews in the United States racist in a left-leaning publication.”

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