Anti-Semitism, Toxic Common Denominator

June 23, 2020

By Lauren Weiner

Political extremism has always involved grievance-mongering. In the land of manufactured and/or exaggerated grievances, where both rightwing and leftwing extremists dwell, a significant meeting point for the two camps—say, Hamas supporters and white supremacists—is the fabrication of evil deeds by Jews.

Or a common denominator for, say, former members of the British Labour Party and associates of American racist and anti-Semite David Duke. Over a three-year period, a team of investigators secretly monitored Keep Talking, a politically eclectic group that gets together to amplify and spread conspiracy theories about the Jews. British newspapers including the Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle recently wrote about what the investigation uncovered.

Keep Talking is a who’s who of “out there” people. The Jewish Chronicle says it includes: “ex-Labour members Elleanne Green and Peter Gregson; Gill Kaffash and Tony Gratrex, formerly of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign; convicted Holocaust Denier Alison Chabloz; and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s compatriot, James Thring.” The Guardian said of Green: “Once a Labour member in Westminster, Green founded the secret Facebook group Palestine Live, exposed in 2018 as featuring Holocaust denial and theories that Israel was responsible for 9/11.”

Of Gregson, the newspaper said he was ejected from the General Municipal Boilermakers trade union and “suspended by the Labour party over antisemitic allegations,” and that he has gone on to create a new group: Labour Against Zionism and Islamophobic Racism (Lazir).

Then there’s what the Egyptian commentator Hussein Aboubakr has described as the “seemingly peculiar alliance between unhinged western progressives and zealous Muslim conservatives.” It’s not so peculiar when one considers how prone both groups are to lay the ills of the world at the feet of the Jewish people.

“With the birth of American Islamism, the American Islamists were mindful of the prohibition on blatant anti-Semitic expressions, so instead, they turned their position into antizionism,” wrote Aboubakr in his “Field Guide to the Islamist-Left Alliance,” which he published in the Times of Israel early this year.

Aboubakr notes the sheer breadth of the phenomenon. When Western civilization comes under attack, the Jews become scapegoats for every season and purpose. Hence they acquire detractors who are dissimilar one from another: “Jews are the original colonizers, they are the most white of all whites, they are the mischief of capitalism, the nefariousness of socialism, the engineers of oppression, the inventors of nationalism, and the agent of chaos. They are as responsible for religious fanaticism as they are responsible for the porn industry. They are the creators of the patriarchal ethos as well as destroyers of morality.”

Nor can the liberal principles animating Israel’s modern democracy win any quality points from these people. Take for example a student group at the University of Sydney, the Queer Action Collective. Its fond hope, according to a school newspaper article by a supporter, is to use “the current ‘marketability’ of queerness within the western political landscape to deconstruct and delegitimize the current Israeli settler colonial narrative.”

And this despite the fact that gays and lesbians are much more accepted in Israeli society than in Arab societies—a distinction too obvious not to acknowledge yet, like true extremists, the group dismisses this tolerant attitude as merely “a façade of progressiveness and equality” on Israel’s part. Such rationalizations have to be made if one is going to support, as the group fervently does, boycotting and economically destroying Israel.

While these disparate anti-Western extremists might be violently opposed to one another on important issues—feminism, for example—Aboubakr says that “they all can transcend the tension and project it onto Jews or Zionists and feel the elation of unity.”