The Left has an Anti-Semitism Problem


Art by Jesse Hausknecht-Brown

Anti-Semitism extends beyond the Republican party. The left has an anti-Semitism problem as well.

Jesse Hausknecht-Brown, Executive Editor

Anti-semitism is on the rise in the United States. According to the American Jewish Committee (AJC), 37% of American Jews say that they have expirenced anti-semitism in the past five years and 82% say that it has increased in the past five years. In 2017, Neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate statue while chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Donald Trump went on to say that these white supremacists were “very fine people.” Trump’s hateful rhetoric towards Jewish people has fueled the recent fire, but this is not solely a right-wing problem. It is an everyone problem. 

Anti-semitism is one of the issues that is a wide problem across all political parties. The way I see it, there are a handful of issues that the left generally refuses to analyze or talk about. It could be argued that this extends beyond a handful of issues, but the specific issues I’m describing are the ones that aren’t as “mainstreamed.” There is no dialogue, or very little dialogue about issues such as anti-semitism, abilism, and toxic intellectualism in left wing circles. I align myself with the ideologies of the far left but am often left wondering if they would fully support me. On the far left, commentary about politics and economics often boils down to class consciousness but skips over some key social issues. Young leftists are able to hide behind their remarks of “socialism will solve it all” and “don’t worry about that, it’s just a fault of capitalism” without actually critically thinking about the causes and effects of so many social issues.

    The other part of this is the conflict in the Middle East. The Jewish people as a whole are not responsible for the actions of the Israeli government. This is something that so, so, so many people seem to not understand. One of the most rampant and unchecked forms of anti-semitism online is the idea that it is ok to tell any Jewish person to “free Palestine.” This is a comment that I see frequently on different social media platforms. A Jewish creator will post content about anything (it could be art, cooking, dancing, modeling, whatever) and the comment section will be filled with comments about freeing Palestinians. These comments aim to make it seem like the creator has something to do with the decisions of the Israeli government. This is blatantly anti-semitic because it links all Jewish people to the actions of the Israeli government. Many, many Jews, including myself, do not support the Israeli government and to insinuate that there is a connection between the two is disgusting. What’s more is that these comments often come from pro-Palestine leftists; dialogue in leftist spaces about the Israel/Palestine conflict often becomes anti-semitic.

One thing that I find interesting about this is that Bernie Sanders, the over-idolized leader of the left wing of the democratic party, is Jewish. I admire him for not weaponizing his Jewish identity as a political playing card, but I wish he could do more to stamp out the anti-semitism on the left. However, Sanders has the same faults as his base: everything boils down to class. He focuses so much on economic freedom and not enough on social issues, even the ones that affect this community. This isn’t to say that he has never worked on social issues or never helped the Jewish community, but he could certainly do better. 

Young leftists on social media with unchecked egos and an ability to fearlessly say whatever they want are dangerous. The idea that one has become socially conscious enough to hold a moral high ground is dangerous. Most importantly, according to AJC, more young Jewish people report being harassed for their religion than older Jewish people; anti-semitism is still dangerous.