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Anti-Semitism has been all the rage over the past month. We can thank rapper Kanye “Ye” West for that. After he made anti-Semitic remarks and threatened to go “deathcon 3” on Jews, it just went downhill from there.
What followed was an ongoing backlash against Ye that even spilled over into the wild world of sports when NBA player Kyrie Irving was also targeted for criticism after tweeting a link to an allegedly anti-Semitic documentary. And since Ye can’t stop doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on his statements about Jews, the debate continues.
Whether one believes Ye is an anti-Jewish bigot or whether you believe he has been mischaracterized by the media, this could have been an opportunity to have serious conversations about anti-Semitism and other types of hate. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. I came across an op-ed written for The New York Times by columnist Michelle Goldberg that tells us why.
In a piece titled “Antisemitism’s March Into the Mainstream,” Goldberg does exactly what other progressives are doing: Using this situation to attack her political opponents. She started by going after former President Donald Trump for having dinner with Ye and Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist:
At this point, there is no excuse for being shocked by anything that Donald Trump does, yet I confess to being astonished that the former president dined last week with one of the country’s most influential white supremacists, a smirking little fascist named Nick Fuentes. There’s nothing new about antisemites in Trump’s circle, but they usually try to maintain some plausible deniability, ranting about globalists and George Soros rather than the Jews. Fuentes, by contrast, is overt. “Jews have too much power in our society,” he recently wrote on his Telegram channel. “Christians should have all the power, everyone else very little.”
Goldberg then set her sights on Republicans, intimating that they are somehow complicit in anti-Jewish hatred for supposedly taking too long to comment on the matter. “Most Republicans, in turn, spent days declining to criticize Trump, though former Vice President Mike Pence and several senators finally spoke out on Monday,” she bloviated. “There is a good argument that politicians and journalists should avoid responding to every one of the ex-president’s provocations. In this case, however, the reluctance to rebuke Trump erodes the already-shaky taboo against antisemitism in Republican politics.”
The author then argues that Trump was “violating the norms holding together liberal democratic society with impunity” and that “other narcissistic celebrities are now joining him in reveling in reactionary transgression.”
The fact that Goldberg names none of these “narcissistic celebrities” shows that these people exist only in her wild imagination.
The author later brings up Elon Musk, the Nazi who is trying to promote free speech on Twitter, slamming him for the unpardonable sin of allowing Trump and Ye back on the platform. She wrote:
On Sunday, he tweeted that Alexander Vindman, the Jewish retired Army officer who testified about Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine’s president, is both “puppet & puppeteer,” echoing an old antisemitic trope about Jews pulling the strings behind world events. On Monday, Musk tweeted an image of the alt-right symbol Pepe the Frog.
And this, dear reader, is the crux of the matter. The reason we can’t have serious conversations on these issues is that people like Goldberg don’t really care about anti-Semitism. Indeed, when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) found herself in hot water for her anti-Jewish remarks, Goldberg defended her, claiming she was only guilty of a “microaggression.” Indeed, the only issue the author took with Omar’s comments was that it gave Republicans ammo to use against her and other Democrats.
People like Goldberg view these issues through a purely political lens. She gives people on her team the benefit of the doubt while holding her opposition to a much higher standard. Nobody who sincerely opposes bigotry would approach the issue in this manner. They would see it as odious regardless of the political affiliation of the ones engaging in it.
And this, my friends, is why we are incapable of having real discussions about bigotry and other critical matters. Progressives like Goldberg don’t view bigotry as an evil to be fought but a weapon to be wielded against those they don’t like. It’s a shame, really.