The Rise of Leftwing Anti-Semitism

We are seeing a dramatic rise in leftwing Anti-Semitism primarily in the United States but also in other countries. It is essential to understand how this happened and what is driving this process. During the Cold War the left was all about economic issues. After socialist economics was discredited was there a shift within the left towards emphasis on cultural issues such as LGBTQI rights and gender equality. Critical theory (the academic field that studies how discursive/social/cultural structures determine human behavior) was marginal to the left during the Cold War but during the past 30 years since the end of the Cold War have the writings of critical theorists become increasingly central to leftwing discourse. 

One result of this influence is Intersectionality which strives to build a global coalition of oppressed groups. One form of critical theory is Postcolonial theory which has become infested with Anti-Semitism and through Intersectionality is postcolonial Anti-Semitism spreading to other forms of critical theory and by extension to the left at large. This is how the radical left has became so Anti-Semitic.

In order to countervail leftwing Anti-Semitism is it necessary for Zionists to build an alternative space within critical theory that would 1) map and discredit structures of Anti-Jewish prejudice in discourse, including in the media, in politics and in academia, 2) mobilize rabbinic discursive modes in all kinds of discourses and 3) promote the rights of indigenous nations everywhere, including in the Arab world.

Intersectionality is not the enemy, nor is postcolonialism. Rather the voices of Jews as victims of oppression, including by Orientalism (the Holocaust was explicitly Orientalist) must be articulated within Intersectionality and postcolonialism. Critical theory was originally a Jewish academic field (the Frankfurt school) as founded in America by Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. There was once a time when the left was very sympathetic to Israel and this may return but it requires that we understand the problem and begin to deal with the issue from the root, namely within critical theory in academia. Critical theory is actually very sympathetic to experiences of the oppressed and the problem is that the experience of the Jews, including being victimized by Anti-Zionist Anti-Semitism has so far not been articulated within critical theory. Prospective Zionist thinkers need to be encouraged to do doctoral dissertations in critical theory and pursue academic careers in this field. This requires substantial funding and encouragement to make sure that there develops a global network of Zionist critical theorists devoted to indigenous rights, the fight to expose Anti-Jewish structures in discourses everywhere and to promote scientific Talmudic literacy in critical theory.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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