Mar. 20, 2019
How Dare Chelsea Clinton Defend the Jews – James Kirchick (Tablet)
At a memorial for the victims of the mass shooting in New Zealand last week, New York University student Leen Dweik told former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, “This, right here, is a result of a massacre stoked by people like you.” Dweik and Rose Asaf accused Clinton of having “stoked hatred against” all Muslims, everywhere, with a single tweet criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar. “Chelsea hurt our fight against white supremacy when she stood by the petty weaponizers of anti-Semitism,” they declared. Translation: People who are Muslim or “of color” cannot be anti-Semites, and those who say otherwise will be condemned as handmaidens of Jim Crow.
Reading the many identity-based defenses of Omar, which pointlessly invoke the fact that she is a hijabi-wearing black refugee being criticized by a white native-born American woman, one gets the impression that this particular legislator can pretty much say whatever she wants and expect to be absolved for it. Omar can’t be an anti-Semite because members of “marginalized” groups are inherently virtuous. But when Asaf and Dweik are taking the side of anti-Semites over Jews, they are normalizing anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is bad. So they need to redefine anti-Semitism out of existence, while redistributing the valuable cultural capital of Jewish historical suffering to more deserving groups. Thus, the phenomena of “white Jews.”
Last year in New York City, there were four times as many bias crimes against Jews as there were against blacks – though there are twice as many blacks as Jews living in the city – and 20 times as many bias crimes against Jews as against transgender people. “During the past 22 months, not one person caught or identified as the aggressor in an anti-Semitic hate crime has been associated with a far right-wing group,” wrote Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times. In most recent cases, the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City have been people of color.
Being “white” has not saved Jews before, including from the greatest mass murder in human history. Nor today does it protect their descendants from demonstrably being the most frequently targeted victims of religiously-based hate crimes.
The writer is a visiting fellow with the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.