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How the White House Attempt to Counter Jew-Hatred Undermines Itself

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avatar by Melanie Phillips / JNS.org

Opinion

Former Vice President Joe Biden talks with Senator Kamala Harris after the conclusion of the 2020 Democratic US presidential debate in Houston, Texas, Sept. 12, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mike Blake.

JNS.org – The Biden administration has announced the establishment of an interagency group that will coordinate US government efforts “to counter antisemitism.”

President Joe Biden said, “Antisemitism has no place in America. All Americans should forcefully reject antisemitism—including Holocaust denial—wherever it exists.”

Is this good news, considering the enormous anxiety gripping much of America’s Jewish community over the huge rise in antisemitic attacks?

Curb your enthusiasm. The terms of reference for this new group are “to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia and related forms of bias and discrimination.”

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This rings immediate alarm bells. Antisemitism is in a different category altogether from other forms of discrimination, and even more different from Islamophobia. Lumping antisemitism together with other forms of prejudice diminishes its uniquely lethal poison.

This is because antisemitism is not just another variety of hatred or disdain. It is a paranoid psychological disorder created entirely by falsehoods, distortions and an eclipse of reason that demonizes the Jewish people and the collective Jew in the State of Israel. At root, it wants to get rid of the Jews altogether.

No other prejudice against any other group, culture or people comes even close to this.

Of course, true prejudice against Muslims should be condemned, just like prejudice against Hindus, Sikhs, black people or anyone else.

However, the Islamic world is responsible for more acts of terrorism than any other group, and its currently dominant theology preaches jihad against the non-Muslim world, whether by violence or political infiltration.

Observations such as these, which are grounded in fact, cannot be classified as bigotry, because bigotry rests on falsehoods and distortion. But the taunt of Islamophobia is used to silence any criticism of the Islamic world, including Islamic extremism.

The very concept of “Islamophobia” was invented by the jihadi Muslim Brotherhood as an act of “cultural appropriation”—an attempt to co-opt the stigma of antisemitism for themselves. This is because these Islamists falsely believe the term “antisemitism” immunizes Jews from criticism—itself an antisemitic belief.

So, “Islamophobia” appropriates to itself the unique attribute of antisemitism—that it is a form of derangement—in order to label any adverse comment about the Islamic world as a form of mental disorder.

The concept of “Islamophobia” is thus profoundly anti-Jew.

Moreover, one of the key drivers of global antisemitism at present is the Muslim world. Yet to say so is to be tarred and feathered as an “Islamophobe.”

Numerous opinion surveys have shown that Muslim communities are suffused with antisemitism and are disproportionately responsible for attacks on Jews.

But since the progressive world denounces all such observations of reality as “Islamophobia,” what are the chances of this new White House group identifying this crucial driver of Jew-hatred? The answer would appear to be zero.

Then there’s the baleful fact that the Democratic Party and various groups in its orbit are riddled with people who are either openly antisemitic or obsessively single out Israel for collective and slanderous demonization.

There’s the infamous “Squad” of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel congresswomen; there’s Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, which has turned untold numbers of black Americans into haters of “satanic” Jews; and there’s Black Lives Matter, which also denounces Jews as white oppressors and Israel as an “apartheid state.”

Yet far from being regarded as toxic and relegated to their proper place as social pariahs, these people are either lionized by the Democrats or their antisemitism is ignored or even justified. So, what are the chances of this new White House group calling out their bigotry? The answer must surely be zero.

Even more troubling are the cases of anti-Jewish animus within the Biden administration itself.

Last week, the Zionist Organization of America was excluded from a roundtable discussion on antisemitism convened by Doug Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris. The reason for this exclusion was graphically illuminated almost immediately.

Unlike other American Jewish organizations, the ZOA never hesitates to call out antisemitism in the Biden administration.

As the ZOA noted this week, the nomination of Elizabeth Frawley Bagley as US ambassador to Brazil is to be decided by the Senate before the end of the year. At her confirmation hearing in May, the ZOA recalled, Bagley faced bipartisan condemnation for saying in 1998 that the Democrats had “stupid” pro-Israel views because of the “Jewish factor.” She added, “There is always the influence of the Jewish lobby because there is major money involved.”

Yet despite this egregious prejudice, Bagley’s nomination was returned to the Senate for its decision in the very same week that the White House held its roundtable on combating antisemitism.

Then there’s Hady Amr, who was recently made deputy assistant secretary of state for “Israel-Palestine” in order to promote the Palestinian Arab cause. One year after the 9/11 attacks, Amr wrote about his work as the national coordinator of the anti-Israel Middle East Justice Network: “I was inspired by the Palestinian intifada,” the murderous terror campaign against Israelis from 1987 to 1993.

Or how about Maher Bitar, the senior director of intelligence at the National Security Council, who spent years promoting the boycott of Israel and was on the executive board of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Students for Justice in Palestine, which hounds Jewish students on campus and disseminates antisemitic propaganda.

Then there’s Reema Odin, deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, who justified Palestinian suicide bombings of Israelis in 2002—when hundreds of Israelis were being blown up in buses and pizza parlors during the second intifada—as “the last resort of a desperate people.”

And let’s not overlook Uzra Zeya, the under-secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights. As Alana Goodman reported in the Washington Free Beacon last year, during Zeya’s time working for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs she compiled research for a book arguing that “the Israel lobby has subverted the American political process to take control of U.S. Middle East policy” by establishing a secret network of “dirty money” PACs that allegedly bribe and extort congressional candidates into taking pro-Israel positions.

In a section entitled “Jewish Power in the Formulation of U.S. Middle East Policy,” the book claimed that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gave American Jews secret marching orders on how to vote and which candidates to support financially.

It further argued that “non-Jewish Americans increasingly perceive their Jewish fellow citizens as members of a single-issue voting bloc which, at best, divides its loyalties between an increasingly exploitative Israel and an increasingly exploited United States.”

“The more strident lobbyists for Israel must also accept a major share of the blame for whatever changes have taken place in American public perceptions of the loyalties of America’s Jews,” it continued. “The inevitable public perception is that such ardent supporters of Israel have no real interest in making the United States a better place for all of its citizens, but only in making Israel a more secure and prosperous place for Jews.”

In other words, the book blamed Jews for antisemitism.

The chances of the new White House group calling out the bigotry of all these officials are clearly zero.

The likelihood is that this new strategy will as ever pin antisemitism on the “far-right” while ignoring it where it is most ubiquitous and powerful: In black and Muslim communities, the Democratic party—and the Biden administration.

The White House statement said the new strategy will “raise understanding about antisemitism and the threat it poses to the Jewish community and all Americans.” It would seem that the White House itself needs someone to teach it just what antisemitism is.

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir Guardian Angel has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy. Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.

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