November 18, 2018

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"Shlomo Shekelberg" and using Jews as a political football

In the Forward, a “Jewish Voice for Peace” member is upset at Congressional hearings on antisemitism on campus.

The writer, Sophie Edelhart, says that neo-Nazis are the real threat to Jews, not the Left that has been creating a toxic atmosphere for anyone who believes that Jews have the right to self-determination.

Predictably, she goes down the path of implying that people who are pro-Israel are the real antisemites:

At a time when groups like the Zionist Organization of America are inviting white nationalists like Steve Bannon to speak at their events and neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer are showing their admiration for Israel, it is becoming increasingly implausible to align what is pro-Israel with what is pro-Jewish.

This is happening a lot lately. People whose primary interest is destroying Israel are pretending to suddenly be philo-semitic – and accuse the other side of antisemitism.

Most of her links to prove that people on the right are antisemitic are bogus, but she makes one valid point in linking to a Breitbart article on the alt-right, where authors Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos defend the popular antisemitic meme “Shlomo Shekelberg”:

Just as the kids of the 60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish “Shlomo Shekelburg” to “Remove Kebab,” an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide. These caricatures are often spliced together with Millennial pop culture references, from old 4chan memes like pepe the frog, to anime and My Little Pony references.
Are they actually bigots? No more than death metal devotees in the 80s were actually Satanists. For them, it’s simply a means to fluster their grandparents. 

This is “Shlomo Shekelberg,” the scheming, greedy archetypical Jew that antisemites love and that Bokhari and Yiannopoulos defend:

I recently noted that this same caricature was used by members of the British Labour Party in their own social media usage:

The antisemitic Left is saying that this is perfectly OK because he motivation is anti-Zionism.

The antisemitic Right is saying that this is perfectly OK because the motivation is “lulz”.

Both sides are accusing the other side of antisemitism – and defending the use of antisemitic memes when used by their own side.

What this proves is that neither of them give a damn about actual antisemitism. Both sides want to use antisemitism as a club to attack their political opponents. Actual Jews aren’t important – except to get them on your side by claiming the other side is antisemitic.

So here is the real test for whether you condone antisemitism in today’s political climate: If you cannot admit that there is real antisemitism on both the right and the left, and if you are not willing to fight the antisemitism on your own side, then you aren’t really against antisemitism.

And if you cannot fight your side’s antisemitism, anything you say against antisemitism on the other side is simple hypocrisy. You don’t care about Jews – you care about politics, and Jews are just pawns to you.

Which indeed is antisemitic itself.

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