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When Anti-Israel Bias Meets Cancel Culture

avatar by Amnon Lord / JNS.org

Opinion

Victorious Chilean presidential election candidate Gabriel Boric addressing a rally after the vote. Photo: Reuters/Vanessa Rubila

JNS.org – The radical left’s rise to power in Chile shows just how things have changed on the world stage when it comes to hatred of Israel. It should serve as a warning sign for North America as well.

The winner in Chile’s recent presidential election is the leader of the country’s radical left, Gabriel Boric, whereas the loser is José Antonio Kast, a conservative right-winger who is the son of a former SS officer. At first glance, they are total opposites. But if you take a closer look, the two share quite a few commonalities.

The fact that the Palestinian issue has become so central in the newly elected Chilean president’s platform should be of great concern. It’s not just pro-Palestinianism, but mainly anti-Israelism. Boric believes Israel is perpetrating genocide. Just like the Holocaust deniers in Tehran, who want to replicate the liquidation of the Jewish people, his statements on the so-called genocide Israel is carrying out are a reflection of the ideological desire to destroy Israel.

The conventional wisdom is that this stance is a product of the massive presence of Arabs and Palestinians in Chile (in the hundreds of thousands). This may have been a factor, but it is not the source of Boric’s anti-Israeliness.

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The anti-Israeli sentiment in the South American left — which spread from Argentina to other Latin American countries — comes from a unique fusion of Marxism and Nazism. The linchpin is the Tacuara Nationalist Movement, a fascist movement formed in the 1950s. The ideology of the South American old left, which produced figures such as Salvador Allende, the president of Chile who was toppled by Augusto Pinochet—can be traced to the communists and the Spanish Civil War. The ideological stance of today’s radical left, on the other hand, can be traced to the fascist movements of the 1950s, which split in the 1960s.

Both the communists and the neo-Nazis had a keen desire to destroy the capitalist system in Argentina and dismantle its democratic institutions to obtain power, according to a report issued by the U.S. Congress in 1962. The report was written following a spate of violent attacks against Jews in Argentina after the hanging of Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann — a prominent Tacuara figure — in Israel.

A journalist who met two of the movement’s leaders was told that they were not antisemites, but rather opposed having Argentinians act on behalf of a foreign country. “They believe that most of the Jews living here are Zionists and hence have dual loyalties. They said that Eichmann … carried out his duties as a German soldier and he was executed for crimes that he was not guilty of,” he said.

They also claimed to be “the enemies of Judaism,” telling the journalist that “in Argentina, the Jews are the servants of the Israeli imperialism who violated our sovereignty when they abducted Eichmann.”

This was many years before anti-Israel sentiment became part of the radical left’s agenda.

In the early 1960s, Tacuara created a link between its radical worldview and Third-Worldism. In particular, they connected Peronism to the Arab world, and shouted slogans like fans at a soccer match: “Nasser, Peron, and the Third Position.” In 1962, the founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Ahmad Shukeiri, who served as the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations, declared in the U.N. General Assembly that he was saluting the movement. He even submitted a draft resolution that would endorse it. A year earlier, having seen the potential in the propaganda front, he was the first to accuse Israel of imposing an apartheid system on Israeli Arabs.

This is a special nexus of Nazism, left-wing revolutionary ideology and Third Worldism, particularly in Egypt, Algeria and among the Palestinians.

The important part is that this movement was the one that introduced the concept of urban guerilla warfare, as early as the 1950s. The combination of ideology and terrorism influenced—through Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other channels — radical left-wing revolutionaries in the United States. The radical right and radical left found a common ground through anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism. Just like Boric and the newly elected president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, the United States could see a radical left-wing president take power.

Who gave the headline?

The New Yorker may still run stories on orchids, but it has been rapidly going down the anti-Zionist path.

Declining journalistic standards due to the radicalization of the left in America have been plaguing many media outlets, including high-quality newspapers and journals. The New York Times and The New Yorker are the biggest names. The New Yorker led the charge against Donald Trump’s alleged ties with Russia and was at the forefront of the attempt to besmirch Brett Kavanaugh when he was nominated to be an associate Supreme Court justice.

Now the magazine has a story on Trump’s supposed antisemitism, using quotes from an interview he gave Israeli journalist Barak Ravid. In Israel, the Pavlovian reaction to the interview focused on Trump’s badmouthing of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but in the United States the media tried to take some of Trump’s comments on U.S. Jews to create a story on antisemitism. “Is Donald Trump an Anti-Semite?,” The New Yorker‘s headline asked.

Those who reinforce Trump’s supposed view are those who regularly get quoted in the magazine: Avishai Margalit, Moshe Halbertal and others. Trump is quoted as saying that “people in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel … I’ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country.”

For New Yorker editor David Remnick and heads of Jewish organizations, such statements smack of antisemitism. It would be more interesting to look at the magazine’s coverage of antisemitism, which can be described as selective blindness. You could expect Israeli intellectuals familiar with U.S. academia and the American left to say something about the antisemitic wave in the United States.

Many Jewish students won’t identify themselves as Jewish on campus, especially when it comes to organizing Jewish (or God forbid pro-Israel) events. There are countless reports on this trend, but I also heard about it firsthand from Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver. Two years ago, Oliver told me that there would come a point at which Jews would feel threatened.

The anti-Jewish violence that erupted during “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May has been extensively covered. A Reut Institute report also highlighted a new phenomenon of Jewish presence being deleted; Jews are categorized as “white.” This is very much in line with the contemporary trends in the United States. There is a radical, pro-Islamic and antisemitic faction taking over the Democratic Party. There are many instances in which Jews feel they have to run for the hills, including the deadly violence against Jews in Brooklyn and New York City. In certain areas near Los Angeles and New York, Jewish property has been vandalized by leftwing activists.

These incidents are not the product of right-wing antisemitism, but of left-wing “wokeness” that has attacked Israel incessantly to create hate groups of which antisemitism is the byproduct. BDS is a successful production line in this industry. But in places where the New Yorker is read, including among liberal Jews, Israel is no longer being described positively.

The New Yorker encapsulates just how Israel has become a toxic subject. In this sense, Trump is right — although you cannot paint all U.S. Jews with a broad brush, the so-called “Jewry of The New York Times” doesn’t like Israel. They like the Israeli intellectuals that the New Yorker occasionally interviews, in a bad context. And worse than that — the readers know what to expect; anyone that actually does like Israel won’t read Remnick’s latest column.

The movie “The French Dispatch” shows the New Yorker magazine for what it used to be. The film is an esoteric work of art, but gives us a good glimpse into the level of professionalism that the magazine upheld, and the topics that it typically covered; one edition was practically all about orchids. The magazine still has special features that are a notch above everyone else when it comes to original content and accuracy. For example, the recent article about pedophilia in Germany’s adoption system. But such high-quality journalism is not that common anymore. As the recent coverage of Trump’s statement suggests, the once-prestigious magazine had become anything but.

Canceling Rowling

Among the most Orwellian recent episodes is the way the left has tried to “cancel” author J.K. Rowling — in the very world of fiction she created. The latest exhibit: Quidditch associations are going to distance themselves from her, and plan to change the name of the game as well. Why? Because she made comments that were perceived to be transphobic.

It’s not just the game; they want to delete her name from the entire Harry Potter franchise. Even the Harry Potter actors who started their careers as children and owe their success to her works have started to distance themselves from Rowling, and have stopped mentioning her.

Rowling has come out in defense of a woman who was fired for criticizing transgenders. Firing someone for a single statement is scary; the attempts to cancel Rowling are just as scary. The author later said transgenders who called themselves women and raped women should not be called women in police records. She wants to protect women, this is what it is all about.

In the new Stalinist food chain, transgenders are considered to be more miserable than women, so women are not allowed to protect themselves from the denial of their rights when transgender people and LGBTQ members come out against them. George Orwell could not have described the Rowling row in better terms. As a billionaire author, it’s going to be hard to cancel her entirely, but the attitude toward her is creating an environment of terror.

Amnon Lord is an Israeli journalist with the daily newspaper “Makor Rishon.” His articles and essays about media, film and politics have been published in “The Jerusalem Post,” “Mida,” “Azure,” “Nativ” and “Achshav.”

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