The nomination of Stephen Bannon as the Chief White House Strategist and the apocalyptic discussion that followed neither revealed new secrets nor produced new facts. The argument did bring to light a new age of anti-Semitism and underscored its deep entrenchment on both the Left and the Right of the political landscape. The phenomenon is a few millennia old. However, as every potent societal disease (after being suppressed by social antibiotics for the past half century) it has adapted itself to the remedies and is overwhelming the host body defences. The disease had started working slowly undetected on the periphery of our social organism only to reveal itself to the masses as a well established multi pronged force to reckon with. However, even in its current form this postmodern anti-Semitism is a variant of the one we have known for centuries and, herein, lies its weakness: it is easily detected and analyzed.
The Far Left has not changed its tune of the past hundred years vis-a-vis the Jews, but has recently ratcheted up the volume. It has sharpened the message and removed any remnants of hiding the real intentions. It unabashedly rejects the State of Israel and argues against the notion of Jews being a nation. The latter is an old Marxist adage. The former is a dusted off Soviet stance if only less savvy and nuanced. The Soviet propaganda machine has never argued in public forums against Jewish self determination (their rhetoric for internal consumption was a lot more in line with the Far Left of today). They were staunchly opposed to every Israeli government and its every decision. Zionism was of cause a form of racism, but only because of its actions. Today, this pretence is thrown away by the Far Left and its discourse is becoming very familiar to anyone living inside the USSR in its last 50 years of existence. Every action of the State of Israel is branded as barbaric, worse than Nazi and racist. Every government is the most racist government. The Palestinian situation is unique and is the source of all evil in the world. The Far Left declares Israel to be separate from the rest of the Jews (for this argument the propagandists admit the existence of the people under the name). They are not blamed for the atrocities, but urged to express their disgust with Israel lest be considered culpable. A noticeable vocal number of Jews in the leadership make this declared distinction sound honest to a novice unsuspecting listener. Their ideological leitmotif, vividly exposed by Black Lives Matter and Dakota Access Pipeline protest movements, depicts Israel and Zionism as the major source of instability and inequality. The concept of “intersectionality” (which is nothing more than “Internationalism” rebranded under incomprehensible new name) is used to bolster the narrative.
Moreover, The Far Left is being helped by numerous willing or naive fellow travelers. The term “American Jew” is being vigorously reintroduced as an ethnos separate from the rest of the Jewish People and Israelis in particular. Iconoclastic writers with such as Michael Chabon are bulldozing this Reform Movement’s pre-WWII idea through the pages of their books. With the outgoing Obama administration at times tacitly encouraging this narrative (as in the Cairo Speech) and with Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein voicing loud support for some of the positions, the ideas only a few years ago relegated to the margins of the pseudo liberal ideology are proliferating to the mainstream and establishing themselves as rational points for discourse.
On the other hand, the Far Right is charting a new path in the anti-Semitism it exposes. The Alt Right moniker is a desperate attempt at rebranding. The Far Right does not have the Left’s luxury of reusing Socialism and Communism though not less evil than Fascism and Nazism, but acceptable due to the graces of history. It approaches the Jewish Diaspora from a very traditional conard: Jews control the press, economy, finance, politics. The new aspect of their view comes in the attitude towards the Jewish State: they profess love for Israel. It is even safe to assume a substantial part of the Far Right crowd is being honest about this schizophrenic view of the Jews. The extent of their admiration for the Jewish State is definitely new. However, the roots of this striking phenomenon lie in the stances taken by Right Wing movements of pre-WWII Eastern Europe. Back then a few of them considered Zionism as a possible solution to the Jewish Problem given their insistence on removing the bulk of Jewish population from their midst. Nevertheless, the overall approach is similar to the one championed by the Far Left: the Jews are divided into two groups with one being targeted. Though the difference is what makes this approach unique - the other group is not only allowed to continue Jewish experience, but is lauded and celebrated. It is possible to claim the attitude the Bolsheviks had taken towards the Jewish Proletariat was of similar flavor. That would be a false argument given the insistence on abandoning any vestiges of Jewish culture and aspirations separate from the general working masses. Hence, this innovation by the Far Right is definitely a true addition to the weapons cache of anti-Semitism granted by the 21st century.
Thus we have two extreme movements attacking the Jews from two opposite directions and covering the entire spectrum of Jewish milieu. Given present divisiveness of American society the Jews cannot help but take sides and align themselves with like minded groups and movements. The siren callings of the above two ideologies must not captivate Jewish minds. Their immediate goals may sound appealing and close to home. However, their real intentions is to divide the House of Israel and then destroy it from within. The Red Sea was split in the middle when we escaped the Pharaoh. We must continue walking in the center to survive in this chaotic and dangerous world.