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Flowers: Why we must rise up and battle anti-Semitism
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Flowers: Why we must rise up and battle anti-Semitism

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Mark Ruffalo came out on Twitter the other day and angered a lot of people, but not the people he usually tends to anger.

“I have reflected & wanted to apologize for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide.’ It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad,” Ruffalo wrote. “Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”

I actually missed his comments about Israel committing genocide, but that’s because I generally tune out that kind of hyperbole. Still, it was a bit of a gut punch to see that a person with his far-left following would engage in that sort of language, knowing where it leads.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States, and it’s no longer a product of the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, survivalists, domestic terrorists, and sociopaths that the media and society in general has lumped together under the convenient heading “right-wing zealots.” They still exist, of course.

But the true and more troubling source of anti-Jewish bigotry these days comes from the left, the tolerant, hate has no home here, we love all of you, kumbaya, open tent, left. That has never been more obvious than in the days following the conflict in the Middle East involving Hamas on one side, and Israel on the other.

The fact that the mainstream media has attempted to frame it as a conflict between “Palestinians” and Israel is simply one sign of the bigotry that is perhaps so internalized that not even journalists who think they are acting in good faith recognize it.

Israel was not fighting against “the Palestinians.” Israel was defending itself against a terror group that has been funded as if it were a sovereign nation by other sovereign nations, including Iran and Russia.

But that false moral equivalency is only part of the anti-Semitism.

Many on the left argue that they can’t be anti-Semitic because there are Jews in America, not to mention Israeli human rights organizations, that condemn Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza. That is hopelessly naïve.

The people who are throwing rocks at Jews in New York, and tweeting out as a CNN contributor did that “we need another Hitler,” and driving through the streets with Palestinian flags waving while screaming about apartheid Israel are not interested in politics. They are interested in what Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted: Removal of the “cancerous tumor” called Israel.

The fact that very few outlets are calling out the rank bigotry of the left is troubling, but not surprising. Network television is happy to air hours of programming about the bigoted GOP that tries to suppress Black votes, the brutal white supremacy of the police that targets people of color, the horrific acts of violence by white men against Asian Americans. We’ve all seen it.

But I am still waiting for CNN, for example, to have one of their “breaking news” reports about Palestinian Americans chasing down innocent boys in yarmulkas walking home from yeshiva. We see momentary clips, true, but never any in-depth, deep dive reporting.

And when Ilhan Omar says “it’s all about the benjamins,” or AOC recovers long enough from her PTSD to issue some rant about apartheid Israel, their friends on the left will make excuses. Always excuses, never an acknowledgement that this language leads to broken bones.

This rise of anti-Semitism on the left seems linked in some important ways to the race awakening in society triggered by the Black Lives Matter protests last year. And that is the most troubling thing about this phenomenon, the idea that a desire to respect people of color must come at the expense of history’s oldest targets of hatred.

The Wall Street Journal, one of the few mainstream media outlets that has the guts to actually focus on this phenomenon, ran a column a few days ago by Gerard Baker, who made the following observation:

“All this contributes to an uneasy sense of a widening clash of civilizations that is increasingly the objective and likely outcome of the modern left’s program. The embrace of critical race theory and woke ideology in the cultural and political establishment, like its more traditional Marxist forebears, neatly reduces all tensions in human relations to a simplifying narrative of oppressor and victim, only this time not on the basis of economics but race.”

Bigotry is evil, no matter who exhibits it. But it’s about time to acknowledge that the left is as adept and talented in their bias as their political opponents.

Just ask Mark Ruffalo.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

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