Dear Louis Farrakhan (You don’t deserve ‘minister’ title)

For decades, most leftist antisemites, just slightly more subtle than you, have confused naive liberals.

Louis Farrakhan (photo credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)
Louis Farrakhan
(photo credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)
This may be the first thank-you letter you’ve ever received in The Jerusalem Post, but you’ve performed an important public service. You’ve given a gift to the often-quarreling Jewish people. You’ve outed Progressive hypocrites and Jewish apologists. You’ve imposed moral clarity on an issue that was confusing some people. Your Jew-hatred is so pure, your rhetoric so evil, you leave little doubt about where you stand – and the need for people of conscience, Jewish and non-Jewish, to stand up against you.
For decades, most leftist antisemites, just slightly more subtle than you, have confused naive liberals. “We’re not antisemitic,” they say, “we’re only anti-Israel or anti-Zionist.” “We’re not antisemitic,” they say, “but you Jews should shut up and feel guilty; look at all your white privilege. If anyone hates you, it’s your fault.” “We’re not antisemitic,” they say, “and besides, we’re focusing on real problems: racism, sexism, Trump.”
And too many gutless Jews, channeling their most cowardly great-grandparents, submit, desperate to be accepted – this time by social justice warriors.
Truthfully, many anti-Zionist attacks are so vicious, many radicals are so obsessed with Israel, many denunciations of this democracy are so disproportionate, they reek of Jew-hatred. Imagine if someone were to constantly bash African-American behavior in sweeping terms. You wouldn’t buy their claim “Oh, I’m not racist, I’m just criticizing particular actions.” Imagine if African-Americans weren’t included in an all-American march of minorities against hate, or if African-American concerns were mocked.
Bigotry isn’t just about words, but about tone, too. Yet the politics of blame around Israel and the guilt-tripping about white privilege perfume the new Jew-hatred. So Linda Sarsour calls Zionism creepy. She says feminists can’t be Zionists. But with some gestures toward the Jewish community, and emphasizing her Trumpophobia and political correctness, she tricks some Jews into tolerating her intolerance.
I don’t get it. Why is our suffering invisible, justifiable? If you’re prickly toward us, do we not bleed? Why is Jew-hatred the longest hatred, the only PC hatred, the most plastic hatred? Perhaps it’s because so many of us fit so well into the West, yet we still stubbornly hold on to our heritage, thus standing out, too.
Even years ago, the Left’s new antisemitism was so confusing that the human rights activist Natan Sharansky articulated a 3D test. Demonizing, delegitimizing or applying double standards to this one small country and movement transforms legitimate criticism of Israel and Zionism into Jew-hatred.
Even so, the women’s marches, like all politically correct Jew-hatred, like all liberal illiberalism, proved puzzling. Some of us worried about the alliances formed and the side messages oozing out. Few of us knew, what Tablet recently exposed, that antisemitism, masked by attacks on “white privilege,” poisoned the movement from the get-go.
Vanessa Wruble, the Brooklyn-based activist who spearheaded the movement motivated by tikkun olam, endured anti-Jewish condescension immediately. Two of her co-founders, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez, using this hip, far too categorical, nouveau language of “white privilege,” generalized grossly, accusing Jews of feeding racism and benefiting from white supremacy. Some of the women intimidated Wruble by recycling your Farrakhanificacious Big Lies about greedy Jews as slave traders and modern privatized prison profiteers.
Wruble faced “you people this” and “you people that” insults – including that old saw “You people hold all the wealth.” When she asked why Jewish women weren’t acknowledged in a long list of targeted groups, the answer was: “We really couldn’t center Jewish women in this, or we might turn off groups like Black Lives Matter.”
Elbowed aside shortly after the first march – partially, she believes, because of her proud Jewish identity – she warned one adviser: “The one thing I would suggest you discuss with them is the antisemitic piece of this. Their rhetoric around this stuff will hurt the movement.”
She was wrong. None of that hurt the movement initially. None of it would have made a difference, alas, without you, Lou....
Your hatred is so pure, your antisemitism so intense, your words so Hitlerian, that no one can hide behind Israel’s problems or Jews’ achievements or the movement’s needs. You call us “termites.” You spread lies about our past and present. You lack the Nazis’ power but match their venom.
And, added bonus, like them you’re homophobic. We learned in 2007, when Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Columbia University, that what triggered the great outrage wasn’t his antisemitism, his Holocaust denial, his genocide-aspiring calls to destroy Israel and the United States. He crossed the line by claiming: “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals.”
You, too, lost the Left with your despicable attacks on gays. That made your antisemitism harder to ignore – for many; Mallory and others still call you GOAT – the Greatest of All Time. (They could like things you’ve done without fawning over you so – what’s that all about?)
So thank you. Thanks for combining homophobia and antisemitism, illustrating true intersectionality, how hate feeds hate – even though Jews are often blocked at the intersection. Thanks for your clear, disgusting language, so we know who our enemies are – and see which Jews are too craven to defend themselves. And thanks for refusing to back down, so we know who our friends are – and aren’t.
Thanks to you, this Women’s March gave tens of thousands of liberal Americans the opportunity to repudiate antisemitism – and they did! – rejecting the few radical phonies who try bullying them, confusing us, hating under the cover of righteousness.
The writer is the author of The Zionist Ideas, an update and expansion of Arthur Hertzberg’s classic anthology, The Zionist Idea, published by the Jewish Publication Society. A distinguished scholar of North American history at McGill University, he is the author of 10 books on American history, including The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s.