Friday, January 13, 2023

The ADL has released a report, "Antisemitic Attitudes in America," that is making headines today becasue it indicates that antisemitic attitudes in the US are increasing dramatically.

Over three-quarters of Americans (85 percent) believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, as opposed to 61 percent found in 2019. Twenty percent of Americans believe six or more tropes, which is significantly more than the 11 percent that ADL found in 2019 and is the highest level measured in decades.

Many Americans believe in Israel-oriented antisemitic positions – from 40 percent who at least slightly believe that Israel treats Palestinians like Nazis treated the Jews, to 18 percent who are uncomfortable spending time with a person who supports Israel.

There is a nearly 40 percent correlation between belief in anti-Jewish tropes and anti-Israel belief, meaning that a substantial number of people who believe anti-Jewish tropes also have negative attitudes toward Israel.

This is the first of a series of reports by the ADL based on this survey; a future report will compare antisemitic and anti-Israel opinions across the political and ideological spectrum. 

So while the overlap of anti-Israel and antisemitic attitudes would initially appear to show that Leftist anti-Zionism is correlated with antisemitism, we cannot make that conclusion, since traditional antisemites generally also hate Israel (as much as the Left tries to claim that they are Zionist.)  If virtually all far-Right antisemites are also anti-Israel, the 40% correlation could be accurate without any Leftist (traditional) antisemites.

However, even if we assume that the overlap of classic antisemitic and modern anti-Israel opinions occur exclusively on the Right, we can still infer something about Leftist contributions to antisemitic attitudes in the US from the specific questions asked:


Some of these reflect current far-Left antisemitic discourse more than traditional far-Right applying their existing antisemitism to Israel. It may reflect that the far-Left anti-Zionism contributes to far-Right antisemitic rhetoric.

And indeed we have seen that in the past. The most extreme far-Right antisemitic publications enthusiastically and prolifically quote from far-Left sources like Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada and Max Blumenthal.

So while we cannot conclude that the far Left shares antisemitic attitudes with the far Right, there are definitely connections and influences, and this may be one reason the general index of antisemitic attitudes in the US is going up.

But this is in many ways the entire question misses the point.

One reason that my algorithmic  definition of antisemitism is (IMHO) the best out there is that it does not show bias against, even implicitly, the political attitudes of the antisemites. 


The ADL's correlation is important, but it says nothing about causation. 

Since the Left self-defines as anti-racist and socialist, it is emotionally invested in the appearances of treating everyone equally, so certainly their attitudes in any poll will reflect that self-perception. Which means that the ADL methodology, as well-intentioned as it is, has a fatal flaw.

It doesn't take into account the history of antisemitism and how it has changed over the centuries.

It started off as being against a people (this week's Torah portion includes the first expression of antisemitism in history: "“Look, the Israelite people ....may join our enemies in fighting against us....”) Christian antisemitism opposed Jews as a religion and as a people. "Scientific" antisemitism introduced the concept of hating Jews as an inferior race. Conspiracy theory antisemitism groups Jews together as planning to take over the world. And modern antisemitism ascribes all evil to the Jewish state and its supporters.

The commonalities dwarf the differences. For all of them, the "new" antisemites regarded their predecessors with some contempt, as a primitive example of bigotry unlike the newer, enlightened version. 

 For all of them, there were differences in which Jews were included as objects of hate. For all of them, some "good Jews" tried to ingratiate themselves with the new antisemites, and similarly the antisemites would embrace the "good Jews" as a shield to claim that they weren't bigots. For all of them, the Jews represented what the antisemites hated the most in the world. 

And for all of them, the vast majority of Jews in the world by any definition are framed as evil. 

People wouldn't be antisemitic if they didn't get something out of it. Antisemitism is attractive because it is a simple explanation for the ills of the world. It is attractive because the antisemites can use others as scapegoats for their own shortcomings. It is attractive for the simple reason that people want to feel superior to others. For antisemites, modern and classic, Jews represent what they hate most. 

If racism is the biggest evil, then Jews must be the biggest racists - but the new antisemites cannot admit that they are the ones being bigoted. Their hate is different, they want to believe, because it is anchored in ethics. 

But psychically, the hate is the same. It is just as toxic, just as irrational, and just as based on easily provable lies. 

The ADL, by trying to find correlation between the latest flavor of antisemitism and the older versions, does not take into account that the new antisemites specifically define themselves as impervious to bigotry, and will naturally try to avoid appearing to be one of the distasteful types of antisemites that their political enemies embrace. But of one could do a brain scan of their emotional state when they think of Israel, it would be identical to that of the KKK when thinking of Jews. 

The ADL could prove this pretty easily. They could rephrase some of their questions to refer to Zionists, not Jews:

Zionists are not as honest in their business dealings as other businesspeople.
Zionists are not warm and friendly.
Zionists have a lot of irritating faults.
Zionists are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.
Zionists have too much power in the United States today.
Zionists don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.
Zionists have too much power in the business world.
Zionists do not share my values.
Zionists are more loyal to Israel than to America.
Zionists stick together more than other Americans.

And this is only a list of tropes that apply to traditional antisemitism. Like all previous versions, modern antisemites have added new antisemitic tropes. The ADL could add:

Zionists tend to be more racist than other Americans.
Zionists support Jewish supremacy in Israel.
Zionists are sympathetic towards right wing antisemites. 
Zionists accuse all critics of Israel of being antisemitic.
Zionists use antisemitism as a means to control Americans.

If the Leftist attitude towards "Zionists" mirror that of the Rightist attitude towards "Jews," then we would have very convincing evidence that anti-Zionism is just a new form of antisemitism. 






Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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