Opinion: New American antisemitism should convince Jews to move away from Democrats

File Photo/Bing Guan/The New York Times / Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest against the Israeli retaliation in Gaza at Columbia University in New York on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.
File Photo/Bing Guan/The New York Times / Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest against the Israeli retaliation in Gaza at Columbia University in New York on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.

In the aftermath of "from the river to the sea" anti-Israel protests on many college campuses and in the streets comes a perfectly timed book by Johns Hopkins University Professor Benjamin Ginsberg titled "The New American Anti-Semitism: The Left, The Right, and the Jews."

Professor Ginsberg is especially hard on progressives and urges American Jews to move away from their longtime support of Democrats to form a new political alliance, especially with evangelical Christians.

While U.S. presidents have given lip service in support of Israel — and yes, the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland cannot be separated — in practice, some Republican and many Democratic presidents have pressured Israel to make concessions to her sworn enemies that would spell the death of the Jewish state.

In Israel's ongoing attempt to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, Politico reports: "Biden administration officials have spent weeks quietly drafting a multiphase postwar game plan that envisions a revamped Palestinian Authority (PA) ultimately taking over the Gaza Strip."

It takes a leap of faith to ignore what Hamas and other terrorist groups have as their objective and to believe that a "revamped" PA would not be overtaken again by Hamas, or another terror group.

Antisemitism extends back to ancient Egypt. The explanations are familiar — from the "chosen people" reference in Scripture to blaming Jews for "killing Christ."

Ginsberg gets to what I think is the real source of antisemitism. He writes that because of the Jewish peoples' rigorous emphasis on education and achievements, Jews often rise to the upper echelons of the societies in which they live. And yet, he says, such success breeds resentment and jealousy. For some underachievers, this tiny minority is an easy target.

In view of this, Ginsberg wonders why a large majority of Jews still vote for Democrats. "Since 1932," he writes, "Jews have unfailingly given a plurality of their votes to Democratic presidential candidates. ... On seven occasions (they) received more than 80 percent of the Jewish vote."

Jews were once mostly loyal to Republicans, but since Franklin Roosevelt their allegiance has shifted. Given Roosevelt's barring of thousands of Jewish refugees from entering the country (the excuse was they might be Nazi spies) and his refusal to bomb the rail lines leading to Auschwitz, their continued support of Democrats is hard to fathom.

While Jews largely voted for and supported Roosevelt, in part because the president had so many Jews in high government positions, Ginsberg writes, "the president was leery of being identified too closely with Jews. FDR asked his Jewish advisors to keep a low profile."

Modern antisemitism is egged-on by members of "The Squad" in Congress. One of those members, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, has equated the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban.

College campuses appear to be breeding grounds for modern antisemitism. A survey by the Anti-Defamation League found "73% of Jewish college students surveyed have experienced or witnessed some form of antisemitism since the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year alone. ... Of the non-Jewish students erroneously assumed to be Jewish, nearly half (46%) stated that they had been targeted based on their assumed Jewishness."

The worldwide media fuels some of this by adopting a moral equivalency position between Israel and her enemies, failing to report on Islamic leaders who claim a religious mandate to eliminate Israel and exterminate Jews, and slanting their coverage in favor of the Palestinians.

Ginsberg's book should be required reading for those who are unclear about the roots of antisemitism and how Jewish-hatred continues to poison the politics and culture of many countries, including our own.

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