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The Old and New Terrorists Speak the Same Words

Israeli troops overlook Jerusalem’s Old City, during the Six-Day War, June 1967. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgIn the aftermath of the Oct. 7 massacre, the radical left unabashedly aligned itself with Hamas. Many were shocked by the wave of genocidal antisemitic propaganda that followed, but the tropes employed by the leftist antisemites, from talk of a “global imperialist conspiracy” to the “perfidy of the Zionists” were not new. They were yet another iteration of the unfortunately successful combination of classic Jew-hatred and Soviet antisemitism.

This explosive mix was present in Europe throughout the 20th century but, following the 1967 Six-Day War, it was vigorously embraced by the European left. The left drenched itself in Soviet propaganda that depicted Israel as a colonial outpost of Western imperialism and Jews as bourgeois capitalists. Over time, a culture of systemic antisemitism developed on the European left that today has come into its own.

In Italy, where I live, a terrorist group called the Red Brigades committed atrocities throughout the 1970s. It was responsible for numerous kidnappings and murders, including the leader of Italy’s Christian Democratic Party and former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.

The Red Brigades pretended to be a new kind of radical group, but in an article published in 1978 in the leftist newspaper Il Manifesto, the former communist politician Rossana Rossanda wrote, “Anyone who was a communist in the 1950s recognizes the new language of the Red Brigades at first glance. It’s like leafing through the family album: There are all the ingredients that were proposed to us in the Stalin and Zhdanov courses of blessed memory.”

The present surge in antisemitism is exactly the same. It claims to be new and dedicated to new principles, but it is nothing but the family album of classic Soviet antisemitism.

It would be enough to take any of the Red Brigades’ manifestos and replace words like “Christian Democracy,” “state” or “our country” with “Israel,” “Zionism” and “Palestine” to see this. One would produce rhetoric like: “Israel and its accomplices have taken on the task of keeping Palestine under the imperialist yoke and unleashing terror and massacres by Zionist killers whenever the Palestinian struggle has called their power into question”; or “The essence of the Imperialist State, of which Israel has always been the maximum representative, is now before our eyes in all its evidence, without the misleading veil of a formal ‘democracy’ with which it had clothed itself: mass roundups and arrests, siege, special laws, special courts and concentration camps.”

It is also instructive to examine the attitude the Italian Communist Party held towards the Red Brigades, as it is remarkably similar to the attitude taken by the moderate institutional left towards radical-left antisemitism and Hamas.

While some members of the Italian Communist Party condoned the Red Brigades’ terrorism, the majority downplayed it. Their ignorance was willful. It was necessary to avoid recognizing that that the left was capable of fostering and committing acts of horrific violence. This is uncannily similar to the Western left’s refusal to recognize antisemitism in its own camp, denying and downplaying it as acceptable “anti-Zionism” in order to avoid facing it head-on.

Even more striking is that some Italian communists claimed that a conspiracy led by American imperialism, fascists or the intelligence services was behind the atrocities attributed to the Red Brigades. We see exactly the same conspiracy theories today, with some even denying the Oct. 7 massacre happened at all. Other claim that the massacre was perpetrated by Israel as an excuse to attack Hamas or that Israel’s defensive war against the terror group is controlled by American “imperialism.”

Italian left-wing intellectuals also spoke of the Red Brigades as “comrades who are wrong.” In effect, they considered terrorism a tactical error but agreed with the totalitarian ideology that caused it. This is the same stance taken by those who today condemn Hamas and its atrocities but endorse the idea of destroying Israel. The old communists declared that they were “neither with the Red Brigades nor with the state,” effectively creating a moral equivalence between the two, just as leftist antisemites seek to put a terrorist organization on par with Israel’s democracy.

Western nations must take this threat seriously. A society in which students speak about Jews and Israel the same way a 1970s Marxist-Leninist terror group spoke about its own targets is diseased. When we hear educators, politicians or intellectuals speak this way, we know this disease is potentially terminal. The democracies must respond to this infection with the vigor required to eradicate it, if only for the general good of a society that wants to protect its intellectual and political liberties.

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British Columbia’s Jewish community is outraged after MLA Selina Robinson is removed from cabinet over remarks about Israel

Leaders of the British Columbia Jewish community have reacted with dismay to the decision by David Eby, the province’s premier, to remove Selina Robinson from her position as minister of post-secondary education and future skills on Feb. 5 due to remarks she made the previous week during an online discussion. While speaking on a panel […]

The post British Columbia’s Jewish community is outraged after MLA Selina Robinson is removed from cabinet over remarks about Israel appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Gaza Border Residents Demand A Return Home, Four Months Into War

A damaged building lies in ruins, following an infiltration by Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel at a kibbutz in Kfar Aza, Israel, Nov. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Israelis from the Gaza Envelope are calling on the government to approve their return home, roughly four months since the war’s outbreak on October 7.

The head of the Scot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Idan, said outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, “We demand a clear statement from the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister that it is safe to return to the area. Until then we are not moving from here.”

The heads of the other regional councils in the Gaza area joined Idan outside the Prime Minister’s office, where they slept last night in protest.

The regional leaders say that members of the Gaza border towns should be allowed to return to the areas if they wish, rather than being forced to live in hotels. An internal plan is set to be presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in the near future.

The heads claim it is safe to return home, and are demanding that the government sign off on such a statement so residents can do so. Their protest comes as the government extended the funds allocated for their stay at hotels until July.

Following the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists, when they stormed southern Israel, murdering over 1,200 and taking hostage more than 240, tens of thousands of Israelis from the area were uprooted from their homes and placed in hotels in the Jerusalem area, Eilat, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea region. Since then, they have been living there full time, with makeshift schools set up for children and activities to keep everyone occupied. The move has also led local businesses to be completely shuttered.

Some Israelis have already moved back to their towns, which is technically allowed but under their own risk — rockets still fly near daily from Gaza and the IDF is operating within the Gaza Strip, which is minutes away from certain border towns.

The plan presented by the regional heads, they say, would mean that the towns are technically safe to return to, and therefore the risk falls under the government and the military.

This is as tens of thousands of Israelis from northern towns also remain out of their homes, with no current timeline for return due to the constant threat of Hezbollah missiles and the potential the war extends to the north.

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Australian Politician Says ‘Jewish Lobby’ Uses ‘Tentacles’ to ‘Influence Power’

Australian Greens MP Jenny Leong speaks at a Palestine Justice Movement event in Australia on Sunday, February 4, 2024. Source: Twitter/X

Video of a left-wing Australian politician discussing how “the Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby” are using their “tentacles” to “influence power” went viral on Tuesday, sparking backlash from the Australian Jewish community.

Jenny Leong, an Australia Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, spoke on a panel for the Palestine Justice Movement in December to promote boycotting Israel.

“The Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby are infiltrating into every single aspect of what is ethnic community groups,” Leong said during the panel. “They rock up and they’re part of the campaign,” and “they offer solidarity.” 

She continued: “They [the Jewish and Zionist lobby] rock up to every community meeting and event to offer that connection because their tentacles reach into the areas that try and influence power and I think that we need to call that out and expose that.”

Stop what you’re doing and listen to the despicable remarks of @Greens MP @jennyleong , in which she accuses Jews of having “tentacles” which they use to try and influence power.

Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes…

— NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (@NSWJBD) February 6, 2024

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which is the representative of Jews who live in New South Wales, called the remarks “despicable,” adding that “Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes to accuse Jews of covertly manipulating civic life. She has outrageously suggested that there is a sinister or evil purpose associated with Jews undertaking the most normal of activities – interacting with other Australians.”

Josh Burns, a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives, said her comments were “a direct attack on Jewish people in Australia” and that “she should unreservedly apologize.” He also called on the Australian Greens to “take responsibility and demonstrate that Jewish people in Australia are safe and respected by their Party.”

The right-leaning Australian Jewish Association wrote on X that “Every credible political party must put the Greens last. Every non-racist fair minded person must put the Greens last.”

In response to the criticism, Leong apologized for specifically using the word “tentacles,” but not for her message. She said: “Speaking on a panel during a two-hour-long event last year, I acknowledge that I used a word at one point that was an inappropriate descriptor for the influence of groups backing Netanyahu’s genocidal attacks in Gaza and the ongoing occupation – I apologise that this has caused offence.” 

She continued: “It is incredibly telling that after a conversation where myself and other speakers made countless mentions of the genocidal attacks and occupation occurring in Gaza right now, that two months later more focus isn’t being put on the deaths of over 26,000 people, many of them children.”

Her comments and apology come amid increasing concern over antisemitism on the far-left, which has celebrated violent resistance against Israel since October 7, when Hamas invaded the country, killed 1,200 people, and kidnapped more than 240 more.

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