By Seth Tamarkin
Most people ‘canceling‘ others are 18-34 years old, an overwhelmingly left-leaning demographic. They may even think canceling is helpful to their cause. However, many young liberals fail to see how centrist Democrats and Republicans manipulate cancel culture to censor left-wing ideas. The pro-Israel lobby shows what happens when people stifle free speech under the guise of helping minorities.
Years before cancel culture became mainstream, the pro-Israel lobby invoked antisemitism to ‘cancel’ those they disagree with.
The Anti-Defamation League, a leading organization vowing to fight antisemitism, shows this with their page on equating criticism of Israel with antisemitism.
Initially, they note that Israel is of course a sovereign state, so criticizing a state’s actions is not antisemitic. Then, they give a completely contradictory list of times when criticizing Israel is antisemitic.
First, they mention how it’s antisemitic to accuse a “Jewish cabal” of being behind “foreign policy that is favorable to Israel,”
While that specific assertion is antisemitic, it’s not antisemitic to criticize the pro-Israel Lobby’s absurd influence on America’s foreign policy.
Yet, when Rep. Ilhan Omar dared criticize the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) influence, the ADL led the bipartisan charge accusing her of antisemitism.
Months later, a documentary exposed AIPAC donors bragging how they pay Democrats and Republicans to never discuss Palestinian rights. After pressure from bipartisan lawmakers, the documentary was conveniently cancelled.
Next, the ADL describes “allegations of Israeli actions that are eerily similar to medieval blood libel (the deliberate killing of Palestinian babies by IDF soldiers etc.).” Is that accusation inherently antisemitic when there’s video evidence of IDF troops shooting at children?
The Israeli military even tweeted they knew “where every bullet landed” in regard to a clip of them shooting at protestors. They promptly removed the tweet, however, because the clip showed their bullets landing in the backs of unarmed civilians.
Deliberate or not, just discussing the IDF’s killing can get professors fired. The ADL and pro-Israel lobby think bringing up Israel’s cruelty is tantamount to blood libel, despite these being criticisms of Israel and not the Jewish community.
After that, the ADL alleges “comparing Israel to the Nazis” is inherently antisemitic. That reasoning is why Britain’s left-wing Labour Party destroyed itself last year.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dared promote a Holocaust survivor, Hajo Meyer, who compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazism. In the pro-Israel lobby’s eyes, Jewish holocaust survivors are antisemitic too if they compare the two.
While Nazi comparisons may be over-the-top, they aren’t antisemitic. Pro-Israel groups don’t demand resignations when Americans compare politicians or the President of the United States to Nazis.
Clearly, the once-noble goal of erasing antisemitism is being manipulated to ban criticism of Israel.
Of course, legitimate antisemitism infects every political faction. However, it’s no coincidence that Democrats and Republicans set aside their differences to target progressives. When Donald Trump said antisemitic things, the GOP was silent. When a ‘body reader’ on NBC made antisemitic claims about Senator Bernie Sanders, Democrats were silent too.
In Jeremy Corbyn’s case, his own party eventually kicked him out over the supposed rampant antisemitism he allowed to fester. American politicians, especially Democrats, applauded the decision. A year later though, a dossier exposed a disturbing truth.
It turns out centrist members of Corbyn’s party manufactured antisemitic smears for years so they could remove him. Not out of concern for their Jewish citizens, but out of concern of his left-wing ideas’ growing popularity.
Now, both American political parties use the pro-Israel lobby’s tactics, albeit with different minorities. Ironically, they’re using young progressives’ obsession with ‘cancelling’ people to do so.
Like with Corbyn, the goal isn’t to end sexism, racism, and antisemitism. Rather, the goal is to weaponize racial and gender attitudes to silence left-wing criticism. It’s even more damning that it so often comes from Democrats because they bill themselves as the party that welcomes everyone.
Shades of this began in the 2016 Presidential race. Democrats smeared any liberal criticism towards Hillary Clinton as sexist.
In 2020, they went a step further, launching attacks on Bernie Sanders and his diverse voters (the most diverse in American history) as being everything from sexist, racist, homophobic, to, yes, antisemitic. Now, with a Black, Asian, woman Vice President, criticism from the left about her cruel tenure as Attorney General is being labeled as sexist and racist.
Now, even people from the same ethnic group get ‘cancelled’ if they are too outspoken. As one saw with Hajo Meyer, Jews who dare criticize the State of Israel become antisemites themselves.
We’re not talking about Bobby Fischers here, but proud Jews who have lived their entire lives proud of their Jewishness. The academically renowned professor Norman Finkelstein, for example, lost his tenure after criticizing Israel’s actions.
Right on cue, the ADL applauded the decision to ruin the Jewish professor’s career.
Using this template, the Democratic Party has employed this tactic on their own.
In 2020, gay politician Alex Morse saw it happen himself. The Massachusetts Democratic Party, working with Umass Amherst students, used a homophobic smear campaign to derail his run for Congress. Why would the party of the LGBTQ community do that?
The answer lies in his ideology. Morse is a bold progressive that looked like he could unseat Richard Neal, one of the most pro-Israel members in Congress.
In the eyes of the Democratic party and media, black leftists may as well not be black at all. MSNBC was silent when their pundit called Bernie’s black women supporters “misfit black girls.” As long as the right people accuse the women of being the wrong type of black, their statements are okay.
As long as you aren’t progressive, you don’t even need to share the same religion or skin color to accuse people of not being sufficiently their skin color or religion.
Former President Trump infamously lamented that liberal American Jews were disloyal, while President Joe Biden said black people who didn’t vote for him “ain’t black.” Each party correctly condemned the other sides’ antisemitism and racism but said nothing about their own.
The Israel Lobby’s success in conflating Israel’s criticism with antisemitism has inspired politicians across racial and religious lines to use their bad-faith formula, subconsciously or not. This is not a problem that can go away with legislation. The only way to not fall into this trap is by not playing the game in the first place.
People need to speak out against corrupt politicians, regardless of their religion affiliation, gender, or race. If people refuse to hold politicians accountable because of their identity, our free speech crisis will become worse. And the left-wing will suffer most.