In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg of Slate writes about racism on the right but also tries to compare and contrast it with antisemitism.
I was struck by this section:
The president and his associates mix anti-Semitic dog whistles with frank attacks on Muslims, immigrants and refugees. The paradox is that in today’s America, coded anti-Semitism is more of a political taboo than open Islamophobia.
There is no doubt that the words of President Trump and his advisors are parsed to the nth degree to find the alleged antisemitic dog-whistle messages.
But the liberal side of America is completely deaf to the anti-Semitic dog whistles from their own.
The most egregious case this week is the almost complete silence from the Left on the promotion of terrorist Rasmea Odeh as somehow a symbol of liberalism and justice. Anyone who accepts the lie that Odeh was innocent of her role in a 1969 supermarket bombing is nothing but an anti-Semite, someone who will bend over backwards to justify the deaths of innocent Jews in Israel.
The Odeh case isn’t a dog-whistle – it is an air-raid siren. Yet J-Street, for example, has nothing to say about it.
The Washington Times reported on Odeh’s rapturous reception at the “Jewish Voice for Peace” conference:
The applause was thunderous as the 69-year-old Odeh took to the podium after a glowing introduction by Rabbi Alissa Wise, a JVP deputy director.
Ms. Wise praised Odeh’s work as a community organizer working with Arab women in Chicago and said her fight to avoid deportation was backed not only by Palestinian groups, but by “the Movement for Black Lives, the women’s rights movement, anti-torture groups, and sexual-assault survivor organizations.”
Odeh’s effort “has become one of the most prominent social justice campaigns in the entire United States,” said Ms. Wise.
“Rasmea will be leaving us within a few months, but we know that in a short period of time she’ll have another Arab women’s committee going somewhere, and her legacy of principled resistance to Israeli-U.S. crimes against Palestinians and all other oppressed communities will be honored and continue,” said Ms. Wise. “We welcome you today, Rasmea, with love, with appreciation, with gratitude for all that you are.”
Wiping tears from her cheeks, Odeh compared her situation to the “nakba” (the Arabic word for “catastrophe”) in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled during the founding of Israel.
“I was an infant during the nakba, but I hear many stories of pain and bitterness from my family who were forced along with 750,000 other Palestinians to leave their homes, lands, lives and memories. They had been there for generations,” said Odeh, whose remarks were streamed on Facebook live at the Jewish Voice for Peace page.
“Now I face a similar unjust nakba, forced to leave the country and the life that I built for myself over 23 years in the U.S.,” she said. “The relationships, the memories and all the people I know and love, especially the women of Chicago’s Arab communities, but I will continue my struggle for justice.”
Odeh dog-whistled to terrorist supporters. “Struggle,” along with “resistance,” is a code word for terrorism. “Justice” is a code word for destroying Israel.
Oden also invoked other dog-whistle codewords as she called for “the right of return” – the destruction of the Jewish state, “self determination”: – for everyone but Jews, “the establishment of a democratic state on the historic land of Palestine” – using pseudo-democracy to deny equal rights to Jews but not pushing for democratic elections in the areas under Palestinian Authority and Hamas rule.
Of course, there are plenty of other antisemitic dog-whistle terms in the vocabulary of the left (and some on the Right.) The “Israel Lobby” is of course a restatement of the idea that Jews control the US, or the world. “Non-violent resistance” means hurling rocks and firebombs at Israelis.
Where are the liberals who are suddenly so sensitive to antisemitism during all of these calls to eliminate the Jewish state, to deny Jewish self-determination and to support terror attacks against Jews in the name of “resistance”?
Their silence is as loud as the standing ovation for a murderer in Chicago on Sunday.