Antisemitism on the Left
Left-wing antisemitism is really pissing me off these days.
Last week I found myself backed into a corner on a Myspace forum, putting forth a right-wing Zionist argument only to provide a counterpoint to a deluge of anti-Zionism that breached the Judeophobic line. The main argument revolved around the idea that Israel is a client to the US, and that the state itself was formed for the sake of advancing Western imperialism and stifling the establishment of a pan-Arab union. I took umbrage with this characterization and from there things quickly heated up.
The antisemitic breach occured at the point where two of the people I was arguing with basically sought to invalidate the authenticity of my Jewishness, one providing an afrocentric argument that the real Jews were black Africans, the other stating that even if I’m 1/64th Jewish by the merits of genetics and my family tree, that I have no legitimate claim to Israel as my historic homeland. That’s when I started going a little batty, clearly feeling threatened by such remarks, regarding them as an attempt at the destruction of my identity. That’s when I pulled out the antisemite card — a place where I loathe to venture — and by Godwin’s Law, I soon lost the argument in the eyes of the forum’s participants.
I spoke to a few friends about the issue, one of whom is writing a book on the subject — a Jewish Left-winger’s take on Left-wing antisemitism — and another who is an Israeli activist who has also found himself consistently perplexed by this phenomenon.
The latter pointed me to a couple of essays: The first, “How to strengthen the Palestine Solidarity Movement by making friends with Jews” and the second (written by his partner) “Fear and loathing”. Both pieces attempt to articulate the moral failure of the Left in its interaction with the Jewish community.
I’m wondering if anyone else has any thoughts or resources on the subject — those that aren’t from Right-wing Lefty-bashers who’ll have nothing productive to add to the conversation — as it’s a subject I’m presently intrigued with and would like to make some headway in addressing. Any help in this area would be well-appreciated.