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Anti-Semitism — the great unifier

Suddenly, both the left and the right jettison their political principles, since they stand in the way of anti-Semitism.

In the early 2000s, the French philosopher and poet Jean-Pierre Faye observed the seeming contradiction that Nazi Germany, a far right totalitarian government, and Soviet Russia, a far left totalitarian government, colluded to invade Poland. He called it the horseshoe theory. As ideologies move to their most extreme, they do not move on a linear trajectory but in a spherical path, in opposite directions, until they very nearly meet at the bottom.

If anything proves Faye’s theory, it is anti-Semitism, the great unifier. While those on the “left” and those on the “right” may pursue their anti-Semitism from extremely different viewpoints, they share this common purpose: to weaken, marginalize and, in the most extreme cases, destroy the Jewish nation.

The horseshoe theory answers an irrationality: How could a Nazi and a Marxist-Leninist pursue the same tactic (mass murder) to achieve their seemingly opposite ends?

Or, in today’s paradigm, what do white supremacists and purveyors of settler-colonial ideology have in common? Answer: They hate Jews and they hate Israel (and, by the way, they also have no regard for fundamental human rights).

If anti-Semitism weren’t so dangerous, its manifestation in the horseshoe theory would almost be comical.

Take Nick Griffin, former leader of the British fascist National Front party, reposting fake images that purported to show indiscriminate Israeli fire shelling Gazan villages (the BBC determined they were from the video game “Arma 3”), expressing his concern for innocent Palestinians.

And he’s not the only one.

White European anti-immigration activists who have spent years bemoaning (for example) the influx of Syrian refugees into Sweden and Germany are suddenly moved by the plight of Gazans. Their concern has more to do with Jew hatred than love of brown people.

Then there are the darlings of America’s young conservative set, such as Candace Owens. They too are suddenly among Palestinians’ biggest supporters. Six weeks ago they were pro-law and order; now they support violent anti-Semitism due, of course, to their concern for Palestinians.

On the other side are the anti-Israel activists who literally call for the destruction of Israel (“Globalize the intifada!”) and who say that any Israeli — civilian or otherwise, toddler or otherwise — is a legitimate military target. The student group at MIT, Palestine@MIT, after Oct. 7 sent out a statement to the entire campus saying Israel is entirely to blame for the Hamas pogrom. These people present themselves as progressive and passionate about Palestinian lives — yet their concern for human life is limited by racial and ethnic makeup; they are not concerned about human life, only about certain human lives they deem worthy — non-Jewish lives.

When people who call themselves conservative find themselves saying that 9/11 was an inside job and defending Osama Bin Laden, or when people who call themselves progressive defend the rape of women and the beheading of toddlers, it’s the pathology of anti-Semitism striking again.

The explosion of anti-Semitism is a clarion call to humanity. In Life and Fate, Soviet writer Vasily Grossman wrote, “Tell me what you accuse the Jews of, I’ll tell you what you are guilty of.” He called anti-Semitism “a mirror for the failings of individuals, social structures and state systems.” The call has been sounded. The indefensible has become defensible. Who will recognize, and respond, to the bellwether?

Copyright © 2023 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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