Whom Will They Blame Next, Unicorns?

I have never watched Fox News when I was in USA, and of course I have no incentive to watch it now. However the stories that I read about it on the interwebs are truly bizarre.

This one trumps them all: Fox News host: ‘Anti-Semitism from the left’ is the real cause of hateful attacks on Jews

Where exactly does this “virulent anti-Semitism from the left” happen? Where do roam these elusive creatures, these leftist antisemites? Where exactly is the land of “fringe of the progressive side.”?

How come that someone spews such a weapon’s grade bullshit on air and is not immediately challenged for providing evidence for it? Any person who says such inane claptrap should be discredited and mercilessly mocked.


  1. says

    Stalin was leftist, but even if he was an antisemite as well, it would have about the same bearing on today’s left-wing scene as Lincoln’s being a republican and anti-racism has on today’s righ-wing scene. I.e. none.

  2. says

    No, I’m quite sure that what they’re referring to is the BDS movement for a free Palestine and a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian war.

    While I have no doubt that this is generally a left-wing movement and also have no doubt that there are anti-semites who endorse BDS, the fundamental motivations of the movement are anti-violence, anti-war, anti-discrimination. We/they (I’ve only ever been very peripherally involved) actually advocate for respect of rights: the targeting of Israel has nothing to do with wanting to limit the right to practice Judaism freely or of Jews to participate in a democratic state, even when they’re the majority and elect mainly or exclusively Jews to government power. The targeting of Israel has to do with the repeated violations of treaties and international norms in how Palestinians are treated.

    But, yeah, I’m sure you could find examples (if you went looking) of people doing guilt-by-association via a (supposedly tainted) money-trail. I’m uncomfortable with some of the rhetoric and some of the tactics, though I think that boycotting, divestment and sanctions are all fair tactics on their own and have no problem with them being used to pressure Israel into respecting treaties and basic human rights. For me, one of the differences that makes a difference between Republican/right-wing anti-semitism and Palestinian anti-semitism is that Republican/right-wing anti-semitism is constantly endorsed by establishment power in the US. The BDS movement -- whether they’re making good and reasonable points or whether they’re engaging in (inappropriate) guilt by association -- is generally belittled and ridiculed.

    In any case, BDS strives for a good goal, and asking -- or even pressuring -- corporations to divest from Israel is a completely reasonable tactic to achieve it. Moreover, it attempts to address very real, very pressing issues. In a world with anti-semitism, such a movement will inevitably attract support from some anti-semitic jerkfaces.

    Right-wing anti-semitism attempts to address problems that don’t actually exist by pushing conspiracy theories that can justify any action, even violence. There’s not even an attempt to focus right-wing anti-semitic jerkfaces on one or a few legitimate tactics. Problems are invented and the undirected audience is invited to imagine their own solutions. It’s a very different thing. Left wing anti-semitism is more real than unicorns, but that doesn’t make the FOX fantasy any more legitimate.

  3. says

    Crip Dyke@#3:
    No, I’m quite sure that what they’re referring to is the BDS movement for a free Palestine and a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian war.

    Oh, yeah. That. I don’t even see BDS as being a political movement, but I’m sure that any proper fascist sees it as socialist or even communist, etc. Because if you call the opposition “socialist” then they’re extra baddy-wadd.

  4. says

    @CD, I think you are giving them too much credit. Still it is incoherent argument that, it seems, can be summed up:
    Leftists criticise the politics of the state of Izrael, but do not blame all individual Jews everywhere for it. And this critique of Izrael by leftists causes some people on the right to believe into inane conspiracy theories and occasionaly go on a killing rampage against random individual Jews.
    That simply does not compute.

  5. says

    @CD, Fair enough, although I think that critiquing Israel and wanting to pressure it into stopping its reprehensible behavior towards Palestinians is not antisemitism.

  6. voyager says

    I also think that criticizing Israel’s politics or policies is not anti-semitic. Their treatment of Palestinians is reprehensible. I only know a little about BDS, but boycotting, divesting and sanctioning are all legitimate political tools. I criticize my own government (Canadian) when it tramples on indigenous rights. Both are human rights issues.

  7. says

    I don’t want to drag this out, but I think that some people -- possibly even you, Charly -- are misunderstanding me.

    I completely agree with this point:

    I think that critiquing Israel and wanting to pressure it into stopping its reprehensible behavior towards Palestinians is not antisemitism.

    I simply contend that in a world with anti-semitism, a rational, reasonable, non-anti-semitic movement like BDS attracts actual anti-semitic jerk faces. Those jerkfaces then speak up, mixing some of the good language of BDS with anti-semitic fuckery. When the organizers of BDS start a hashtag or organize an educational action, sometimes anti-semitic jerks show up. That’s not the fault of BDS. That’s an inevitable result of a world with anti-semitism.

    I’ve never been significantly involved in BDS, but I’ve known really good people involved in BDS. I don’t think BDS is anti-semitic, but I think that FOX would like to paint the whole movement as anti-semitic b/c of the actions of a few hangers-on. FOX and the Israeli government and other right wingers have frequently attempted to portray BDS itself as anti-semitic because that’s their agenda (making sure Israel doesn’t have to be accountable, even when they commit actual war crimes and rights violations) and because there do exist a few jerkfaces who show up on BDS hashtags or at BDS actions.

    So when FOX talks about “left wing anti-semitism” I’m quite sure that this is part of their organized efforts to paint BDS itself as anti-semitic (or at least a reference to their own attempts at this). And they’re not wrong that some few anti-semitic jerks exist and participate in certain “left-wing” (if you want to call it that) efforts to achieve a more general experience of justice for all living in Israel & Palestine and the Palestinian refugee camps.

    They are wrong that BDS itself is anti-semitic, but when I say that people who might be called left wing anti-semitic jerkfaces are more common than unicorns, I’m making a very, very limited claim based on a total of one anti-semitic jerk I met in BDS spaces and 5-6 people who seemed more tolerant than they should be of that jerk based on the fact that he was willing to do work making signs and would show up as one more body at actions. They seemed to compartmentalize his anti-semitic, bullshit theorizing about how jews don’t care about other people in a manner similar to how too many men compartmentalize bullshit sexism at work because some sexist guy has skills that are good for their company. It annoyed me that they did it, and prevented me from being willing to get more deeply involved, but none of that invalidates the BDS critique of Israel or the fundamental strategies of BDS itself. It just means that the existence of a small number of left wing anti-semitic jerkfaces is an unfortunate reality.

    I do NOT think that BDS is anti-semitic in nature. I’ve said above that these are legitimate tactics trying to right legitimate wrongs.

    I thought I was clear before, but reading later comments made me worried I wasn’t. FOX is engaged in dishonest rhetoric with respect to BDS. I don’t support or condone their dishonesty, but I understand that they must be referencing BDS and I’ve had personal experience with the kind of behavior that gives them the small shreds of evidence that they try to use to discredit BDS. I reject the attempt to discredit, I reject the exaggeration, the guilt-by-association, and the fear-mongering, but I acknowledge that the small shreds of evidence do exist.

  8. says

    I understand what you mean, CD, but to me it seems to boil down to the old trivial truth that assholes are everywhere. I do acknowledge that any movement or organization that engages in legitimate criticism of Israel will attract some antisemites who pay lip service to the legitimate cause but are in it for je Jew bashing. That is more or less the signature of antisemites in EU, who use the thin veil of legitimate criticism to shield their prejudice against Jews (and Muslims). They are however, to my knowledge, exclusively right-wing.

    I do not think that said antisemites with genuine leftist and above all progressive views exist in any meaningful numbers, therefore my allusion to unicorns. I would go even further -- the way I understand the terms “antisemite” and “progressive” they are contradictory by definition. Therefore there cannot be a progressive antisemite and it is not a “no true Scotsman” fallacy anymore than it would be saying that there cannot be a round triangle.

    The term “left” is more hazy so I concede that there might be some genuinely leftist group somewhere that is also genuinely and perhaps even virulently antisemitic, to combine for example leftist views on how to solve economic problems with a belief in Jewish kabal enriching themselves at the cost of everyone else seems easy. Also left has its very, very dark side and contrary to what seems to be believed in USA, it is also possible to be leftist and conservative. That in USA leftism and progressivism correlate seems to me to be just historical coincidence.

    I concede that existence of leftist antisemites is not as implausible as existence of unicorns. However said hypothetical leftist antisemites are responsible for atrocities performed by right wing nazis just as much as unicorns are.

  9. jazzlet says

    The existence of leftist anti-semites in the Labour Party in the UK is a real, though much exaggerated problem. It has been used to attack Jeremy Corbyn, by the right wing press in particular, in an attempt to reduce his popularity especially with younger potential voters.

  10. purrs says

    I mean, there is antisemitism on the left. The Jews-only-count-as-victims-if-they-have-the-right-opinions, “no one donate to the tree of life synagogue they were doing a circumcision” kind; the conflation-with-Israel “you’re not allowed to bring a Jewish pride flag to the march because it has a Star of David on it and so does the Israeli flag” kind; the blood-libel “Gal Gadot made notches on her gun for every Palestinian child she, personally, murdered” kind; the denialist “antisemitism doesn’t exist because Jews are all white oppressors”. The I’m-not-antisemitic-I’m-antizionist “The Jews—I mean Zionists—are controlling the banks and the media” kind. (You can, in fact, be against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians without being antisemitic. Not enough people seem to realize that.) But.


    It still isn’t the left who goes around shooting up synagogues.

    So Fox News can fuck right off.

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