A New Tolerance for Anti-Semitism
All over the world anti-Semites are becoming mainstreamed. It is no longer disqualifying to be outed as a Jew hater. This is especially so if the anti-Semite uses the cover of rabid hatred for the nation-state of the Jewish people. These bigots succeed in becoming accepted — even praised — not because of their anti-Semitism, but despite it. Increasingly, they are given a pass on their Jew-hatred because those who support them admire or share other aspects of what they represent. This implicit tolerance of anti-Semitism — as long as it comes from someone whose other views are acceptable — represents a dangerous new trend from both the right and left.
In the United States, although there has been hard-right anti-Semitism for decades, the bigotry of the hard-left is far more prevalent and influential on many university campuses. Those on the left who support left-wing anti-Semites try to downplay, ignore or deny that those they support are really anti-Semites. “They are anti-Zionist” is the excuse du jour. Those on the right do essentially the same: “they are nationalists.” Neither side would accept such transparent and hollow justifications if the shoe were on the other foot. I believe that when analyzing and exposing these dangerous trends, a single standard of criticism must be directed at each.
Generally speaking, extreme right-wing anti-Semitism continues to be a problem in many parts of Europe and among a relatively small group of “alt-right” Americans. But it also exists among those who self-identify as run-of-the-mill conservatives. Consider, for example, former presidential candidate and Reagan staffer, Pat Buchanan.
The list of Buchanan’s anti-Jewish bigotry is exhaustive. Over the years, he has consistently blamed Jews for wide-ranging societal and political problems. In his criticism of the Iraq War, for example, Buchanan infamously quipped: “There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East-the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” He then singled out for rebuke only Jewish political figures and commentators such as Henry Kissinger, Charles Krauthammer and A.M. Rosenthal. Buchanan did not mention any of the vocal non-Jewish supporters of the war. Furthermore, Buchanan also said that “the Israeli lobby” would be responsible if President Obama decided to strike Iran, threatening that if it were to happen, “Netanyahu and his amen corner in Congress” would face “backlash worldwide.” Buchanan’s sordid flirtation with Nazi revisionism is also well documented.