Why Anti-Semitism on the Left Hurts Me More

Someone asked me incredulously if the anti-semitism on the left really upset me more/made me feel the need for a Jewish state more than the Pittsburgh. (And then went on to describe the evils of Israel.) Oh yes, yes, the anti-semitism on the left does hurt and scare me more. Not that it’s worse. Just in terms of how I feel able to function in the world, it is much more impactful.

Trump-types’ hatred of me means there are people I do not identify with who don’t want me. But when the people who are my refuge, who I want to make a home with me (meaning a home in the world), who I long to celebrate for and with when they succeed–when these people see me, Israel, Jews (except their approved Jews, maybe, relishing this potential division from each other?) as uniquely evil and worthy of being pointed out as so, Haman-style—whether we are relevant or not to the issue at hand—I fear that I have no home in the world at large. 

9 comments on “Why Anti-Semitism on the Left Hurts Me More

  1. Bobbi Zahra on

    Sadly, you’re not alone with these feelings. I see you, I hear you – I could almost be you (sans ordination!). But while I believe that many of us feel like this, the fact that we speak about it reminds us that we’re not alone – we’ve got people to lean on, even when it’s from a distance.

  2. Iiari on

    I feel very much as you do. It feels personally hurtful that progressive politics, which has always striven to protect the marginal and the vulnerable, somehow seems to no longer view us as such, or perhaps even care if we are in perpetual danger. Worse, it makes me wonder if the long held critiques of the left, that it only cares about “their favorites” and not everyone, essentially existing as a hypocritical mirror-image of the left’s own critiques of the right, have been true all along and I just haven’t seen it or ignored it. When Hilary Clinton spoke dismissively of the “deplorables,” perhaps that population is right when they allege that the left long ago stopped caring about them in the fashion that they are now stopping about caring about the Jews. We all have a lot of mirror-gazing to do here… Hopefully we left leaning Jews can learn from this to build a better political left, and one informed by our own hurt.

  3. jake morson on

    in the first sentence you use “the pittsburgh”
    then, 2 sentences later you alienate half the country by using the phrases “trump types”

    this article has a message i resonate with, but it managed to lose me in less than 60 seconds

  4. valeriekeefe on

    This is a really ciscentric and tone-policey column. Is it going to be considered unkind to express incredulity at being told one can’t respond to a seeming conflation of criticizing Likudnikism with criticizing Judaism?

    One would expect feminists to have an issue with a country saying those assigned a certain sex are not legally considered as capable of being raped as others… but I keep forgetting that there are the same disingenuous and privilege-driven claims on what feminism is as there are on what Jewishness is.

    Apparently that I’m hurt by that and my sisters are hurt by that and that that’s called solidarity is something my sisters and I are expected to take a back seat to… again.

  5. Abelardy on

    You are right! Left-wing anti-Semitism is so very dangerous because it’s respectable in polite society, and can therefore “mainstream” into America. Leftist anti-Semites have an honored place in the Democratic party, which puts them close to the centers of power. I used to be a member of the Democratic party, but I won’t rejoin until it purges itself of its bigots and anti-Semites (usually disguised as anti-Zionists).

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