Why Israeli leaders are welcoming rise of anti-Semitism in US

Activists protest Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s planned address to the Zionist Organization of America, outside at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, 20 November.

M. Stan Reaves Associated Press

One of Israel’s most prominent broadcasters says Israeli leaders are welcoming the resurgence of white nationalism and anti-Semitism in the United States that has accompanied Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign.

In a column for Israel’s Ynet, Yaron London, long a prime-time host on Israel’s Channel 10, wrote that “a worldview which supports white supremacy matches our government’s interests.”

London elaborates on why the rise of white nationalism, a political movement many of whose adherents openly identify with the Ku Klux Klan and even Nazism, would be seen as beneficial to Israel.

“To do the Netanyahu government justice, let me qualify my statement by saying that all forms of Zionism hold the perception that a certain extent of anti-Semitism benefits the Zionist enterprise,” London writes.

“If Trump’s people are more disgusted by Arabs than they are by Jews … we have struck quite a good deal,” he adds, noting that “Trump and his friends see Israel as a forefront against the barbarians.”

“To put it more sharply, anti-Semitism is the generator and ally of Zionism,” London states.

No Zionism without anti-Semitism

As a practical matter, London observes, Israel would not be viable without hatred of Jews: “Masses of Jews are shoved to this country rather than being attracted to it. The yearning for the land of Zion and Jerusalem is not strong enough to drive millions of Jews to the country they love and make them hold on to its clods.”

This is something Israeli leaders understand well, which is why they have exploited recent mass atrocities in France to urge Jews to emigrate from Europe.

London concludes that “it would be good to have some anti-Semitism in America. Not serious anti-Semitism, not pogroms, not persecutions that will empty America from its Jews, as we need them there, but just a taste of this pungent stuff, so that we can restore our faith in Zionism.”

Such views will shock anyone who does not know the long history of collusion between Zionism and anti-Semitism, which Columbia University professor Joseph Massad explains in a 2013 article for Al Jazeera English.

“Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the ‘Jewish Question,’” Massad writes. “What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the ‘solution’ to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.”

After Al Jazeera published Massad’s accurate account of history, former Israeli prison guard and current editor of The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg, denounced the network for allegedly publishing “one of the most anti-Jewish screeds in recent memory.”

Al Jazeera promptly took the article down, later restoring it, after an uproar over its blatant act of censorship.

It remains to be seen whether Goldberg will denounce Yaron London for actually welcoming anti-Semitism.

Israeli enthusiasm for Trump

Indeed, such has been the enthusiasm of Israeli ministers for the incoming Trump administration that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to issue a directive ordering his cabinet colleagues to stop trying to make contact with the president-elect’s team.

This came after education minister Naftali Bennett spoke at a New York gala of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Sunday, which Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon was expected to attend.

Bannon was chairman of Breitbart News, the website he described as the “the platform for the alt-right.”

The alt-right, or alternative right, is an avowedly white supremacist movement, whose leading figure Richard Spencer has called his quest for a white “ethno-state” a form of “white Zionism.”

Spencer has also hailed Trump’s presidential campaign as a vehicle that has helped usher his fringe movement increasingly into the mainstream.

Despite the reports about Bannon’s promotion of anti-Semitism, the Trump adviser has been embraced by Israeli leaders, including the head of a West Bank settler council, as well as by agriculture minister Uri Ariel.

In a letter published at Breitbart News, Ariel thanks Bannon “for your friendship with Israel.”

“While we do not know each other personally, dear friends of mine including Rabbi Shmuley Boteach have shared with me your strong opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, which threatens Israel’s survival, your opposition to BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] and your opening of a Jerusalem bureau in Israel while head of Breitbart in order to promote Israeli point of view [sic] in the media,” Ariel adds.

Shared bigotry

Boteach is a right-wing celebrity rabbi who, as Rob Bryan reported for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project earlier this year, “appointed himself Trump’s top Jewish surrogate.”

Bryan predicted that Boteach’s job for the Trump campaign would consist of “applying the kosher stamp to a candidate who enjoys enthusiastic support from leading neo-Nazis.”

In a similar vein, Fox News commentator and self-identified “Ivy League-educated Jewish kid from New York” Wayne Allyn Root, is insisting that Trump be hailed as “America’s first Jewish president.”

Why? Because Trump “made his fortune in real estate,” has a home in South Florida and because “he could be the most pro-Israel president in history.”

Root also asserts that Trump’s promises to stop “the mass importation of Muslim refugees should be welcomed and enthusiastically embraced by every American Jew.”

As for Uri Ariel, he is a leading supporter of extremist Jewish settler groups who, with support from the Israeli government, aim to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and replace it with a Jewish temple.

Resistance

Zionist Organization of America leader Morton Klein told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that Bannon had been expected at his organization’s gala on Sunday, and that Trump himself might have shown up.

But Klein said that the hundreds of protesters outside, many young progressive Jews from groups including IfNotNow, had deterred Bannon from showing up.

The gala was nonetheless a who’s who of pro-Israel extremism in the US.

Participants included former Harvard law professor and Bannon defender Alan Dershowitz as well as Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire funder of anti-Palestinian causes.

Klein gave a measure of his organization’s anti-Palestinian fanaticism, declaring to Haaretz that “it is a myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims” and asserting that “there is no occupation.”

Meanwhile, journalist Dan Cohen noted that “the Jewish generational divide” was clearly visible in the difference between the predominantly older attendees at the ZOA event, and the youthful protesters outside.

What is also apparent is the growing political divide. On one side there are those who are willing to support Israel and Zionism at any cost, even if it means openly allying with Islamophobes, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

On the other side, are all those, including Palestinians and Jews, united against this open embrace of the most poisonous forms of racism.

In a Facebook post, IfNotNow called its protest in New York a promising victory:

“If 700 Jews can keep Stephen Bannon from speaking at ZOA Gala, building the #JewishResistance can keep him from the White House and stop the violent policies of the Trump administration: racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, queerphobia and all forms of oppression.”

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There is no generational divide. Many anti-zionist Jews oppose both Trump and his Nazi sympathizers as well as zionism. Protestors are often younger. Many of us have difficulty attending demonstrations but are nonetheless active, vocal and as radical as ever. We need better class analysis and stop the petty divide and conquer analysis that pretends this has to do with age and not ruling class interests, so clearly spelled out in this article otherwise-- that Zionism and antisemitism are the same beast. That Zionism and antisemitism are racism. That the U.S. and Israel are settler colonialist entities forged on the same false Biblical interpretations and with deep roots in European (appropriated) Christianity.

Thank you for covering this, and for your continued work exposing how Zionism is not Judaism nor does it serve Jews. It serves Western imperialism and capitalism. Period.

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Israelis should keep in mind that the beginnings very often bear no resemblance to the end.

Keep in mind, too, the KKK's list of undesirables. A bigot's view is universal. Anyone not a white Christian is their target.

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Zionism needs anti-Semitism to activate.

This Bannon is a brain teaser ! He's Zionist point.

Ah, if Trump could be unpredictable in the good sense, and not be influenced by his racist Zionist frequentations, and anti-Semites in the sense of "anti-Jew", "anti-Muslim", "anti-Arab"!

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As always, Ali Abunimah's writings are informative and interesting. I have an intense interest in this subject and he widens my knowledge. I also have great interest in all the middle east area, particularly Iran and Israel and quake at the thought of Netanyahu, et.al, pressing Trump to destroy Iran which is filled with kind, friendly, generous, warm and welcoming people. I've been there. He talks out of both sides of his mouth and could go any direction. His bullying and childish ego will rule him, I'm afraid. So will Zionist propaganda.

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It's amusing that all the chest-thumping, "anti-Left", High-IQ-boasting, so-called "anti-Globalist", anti-Zionist, White Nationalists can't see this. They really must be as stupid as I thought. Oh well, arrogance is a ruiner of movements and men.

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