Barack Obama’s appointment of Hannah Rosenthal — no relation to this writer, thank goodness — to be “Special Envoy for Global Anti-Semitism” (definitely not “Antisemitism Czar”) is emblematic of the way this administration has consistently tried to use Jews to justify its anti-Israel policy.
Hannah Rosenthal is a member of the J Street Advisory board and she writes stuff like this (April 2008):
Six years ago this week, JCPA [she was the director of this group] was one of many organizations that helped bring thousands of Jews, and hundreds of our friends and allies, to Washington to support Israel at a National Israel Solidarity Rally. It was an historic occasion, and I recall much of that day with fondness and pride.
I also recall the many rally attendees who pulled me aside to ask why the word “peace” was so absent from the proceedings. How could we talk security without talking peace? Where were the voices representing the will of the broader American Jewish community? Why were there no speakers giving voice to a pro-Israel vision of a secure Israel living side-by-side in peace with its neighbors?
Throughout this day of speeches and rallying cries, I began to ask myself the same questions: Where was the pro-Israel, pro-peace message? Why was the voice of so many American Jews absent from this rally?
How did we arrive at a place where pro-Israel events had come to be dominated by narrow, ultra-conservative views of what it means to be pro-Israel?
Abe Foxman of the ADL took her to task sharply, quoting many of the speakers who did talk about peace, such as Rep. Richard Gephart, Sen. Harry Reid, Paul Wolfowitz, Natan Sharansky, Rudy Giuliani, etc. Considering that the Solidarity Rally was a response to a series of murderous suicide bombings, including the Passover Seder Massacre in which 30 lost their lives, it’s surprising that ‘peace’ was mentioned at all.
But it was. So why did Rosenthal and friends not hear it?
One reason was that the speakers, representing a range of opinion from the Center to the Right, probably did not use their time to accuse Israel of human rights violations, and they probably called for an end to Palestinian terrorism — there was plenty of it at that time — and not Israeli militarism (for J Street, Israeli self-defense should always be condemned, as they did at the beginning of Operation Cast Lead).
Another was that to the J Street mind, anyone who advocates any other policy than surrender to Palestinian demands is an “ultra-conservative” (they also like “neo-con” and “anti-peace” a lot) — and you don’t have to listen to them.
I’m not going to dump on the Arab and Iranian supported and anti-Israel J Street yet again, nor fulminate about the arrogation of the word ‘peace’ by the extreme Left — don’t they think, for example, that Natan Sharansky wants peace? — but rather point out why Ms Rosenthal is not qualified to be Antisemitism Poobah (hey, it’s better than ‘Czar’).
This is because the nature and source of antisemitism has undergone a change in recent years. The neo-Nazi skinheads and Pat Buchanan are still around, but much antisemitism today comes from the Left in the guise of “opposition to Israeli policies”. But it goes far beyond reasoned political criticism; what it really is is what I called, for lack of a better word, Zionophobia, the extreme and irrational hatred of the Jewish state.
Although traditional right-wing antisemitism never appealed to many Jews — with some exceptions — the “new antisemitism“, which manifests itself primarily as Israel-hatred, is very popular among ‘progressives’ who happen to be Jewish. Excellent examples of ‘progressive’ Jewish antisemites are video terrorist Max Blumenthal and blogger Philip Weiss — both of whom were present at J Street’s recent conference in DC.
Hannah Rosenthal and other J Streeters are tolerant of anti-Israel extremism like that of Weiss and Blumenthal, because they simply do not understand the connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel — in fact, it seems that they share the view of Mahmoud Abbas that there is no Jewish people.
If that’s true, then no wonder that they don’t understand the equivalence of extreme Israel-hatred to antisemitism!
Choosing a J Streeter for this job is like picking a deaf person to tune a piano.