Why Woke Progressivism is Antisemitic
Progressive values run directly against the Bible and the Jewish nation it created.
Antisemitism is rapidly becoming a core part of leftist identity in America. That shouldn’t really surprise anyone given the Marxist roots of woke progressivism, but many Americans—notably a sizable swathe of America’s Jews and a majority of mainstream Jewish leadership—refuse to concede the obvious.
Their willful denial notwithstanding, it’s impossible to understand either contemporary progressivism or contemporary antisemitism without understanding how and why they’re inherently intertwined. Woke progressivism could not preach as it preaches without oozing antipathy for the Jews, and antisemitism today would be a small fraction of the problem it has become without woke progressivism.
This essay identifies the root of the phenomenon. Hint: It’s not what you’ve been told to believe.
The Necessary Disclaimers
Where would we be without disclaimers? Here are two:
First, there’s more than enough antisemitism to cut across the ideological spectrum. Nothing in this essay is meant to disparage the many antisemites who are in no way progressive. They too can take pride in their bigotry and the role it plays in defining their own perverse identities.
Second, though not all self-described progressives are antisemitic, all of the people who consider themselves progressive-but-not-antisemitic will eventually have to choose. One of the central pillars of today’s woke left, intersectionality, will compel it. Under intersectionality, anyone who refuses to adopt the entire progressive agenda is a part of the problem—and an enemy of justice. Progressive-but-not-antisemitic is thus an unstable, transitory state. Those who profess to it—a group that includes a sizable percentage of America’s Jews—will either stop considering themselves progressive or become antisemites.
Though the prevalence of progressive antisemitism should be obvious by now, many skeptics remain. So here’s a smattering of evidence to help frame the problem:
The shockingly antisemitic Durban conference of 2001 remains a rallying point for progressives. College campuses, the epicenter of wokeness, are by far the most antisemitic places in America. Not only do tales of anti-Jewish hostility on campuses abound, but on the rare occasions that an administrator attempts to take a stand against their excesses, opprobrium and retraction soon follow. Scholarly advocates for Critical Race Theory have simply declared Jews to be “white,” exemplars of white privilege, traditional oppressorsstill actively engaged in oppressing indigenous brown people, and thus particularly noteworthy among the many villains of the West.
Leading progressive organizations like BLM, the Women’s March, and assortedLGBT groups have been so overtly antisemitic that even leading Democrats have felt compelled to distance themselves (until the momentary furor abated). Rabid antisemites like Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Linda Sarsour are routinely feted on the left. President Obama accused Jewish opponents of his odious Iran deal of dual loyalty—a defamatory canard that has long been used to justify violence against Jews.
Street level hate crimes directed at visibly identifiable Jews and Jewish targets occur almost entirely in deep blue neighborhoods, committed by perpetrators whose demographics and zip codes skew heavily towards Democrats. Antisemitic slogans, signs, and chants have emerged at nearly every demonstration, protest, and riot allegedly focused on abusive policing since that movement arose in 2013—accompanied in part by the absurd theory that Israel is responsible for any objectionable behavior among America’s cops. A recent hard-left rally in Brooklyn organized around the theme of “globalizing the intifada,” a catchy way of calling for a global terror war against Jews. In fact, with the exception of the two disturbed loners responsible for the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway and some antisemitic chants in Charlottesville, nearly every noteworthy instance of antisemitic activity over the past decade has emanated from those who identify as part of the left.
Why Progressivism is so Anti-Jewish
Setting aside the timeless question “Why the Jews?” the motivation for progressive antisemitism is easy to spot. The Jews are an ancient nation, defined around a covenant with God, committed to ethical monotheism and objective morality, that has managed to retain its distinct traditions even as those around them have assimilated into society at large. Progressives despise every one of those traits:
A nation? Progressives blame nationalism for centuries of warfare, bloodshed, bigotry, and supremacism. They see all contemporary nationalist movements (at least throughout the West) as resurgent fascism. The Jewish self-identification as a distinct nation is thus a mark against them on the progressive ledger.
The Jewish covenant with God fares even worse. Most progressives view God as a debunked superstition with a history of motivating bad acts. While they may be willing to tolerate limited amounts of prayer and ritual, progressives don’t look kindly upon such activities. They oppose any expression of faith running counter to their own evolving moral code, and excoriate those who attempt to live a life of faith.
Ethical monotheism and objective morality are similarly black marks. When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama explained that their thinking about gay marriage had “evolved,” they chose the word carefully. Progressive morality is evolutionary, not fixed. Positions about race, gender, and family that were moral in the past have since become immoral. MLK’s advocacy of colorblindness as a remedy for racism, for example, was moral in the 1960s; today it is racist.
In a related vein, progressives do not see distinctiveness as a virtue. Once morality has evolved, those clinging to outdated traditions are necessarily immoral. The alternative to assimilation is immorality—by definition.
Far from representing “Jewish values” as some Jewishly-ignorant Jewish progressives like to claim, progressivism embodies “anti-Jewish values.” That’s rather typical for a utopian movement. If your goal is to rewrite society from scratch, untethered to the traps that have confounded mankind throughout history, eliminating the Jews is a fine place to start. And if you’ve got a particular distaste for Western civilization—as the progressives do—the Jewish God is perhaps the deepest of the roots you consider diseased. Progressivism is at war not with individual Jews, but rather with the Jews—the Jewish collective, the Jewish idea, the Jewish God, the Jewish insistence upon objective morality.
Debunking the Myths
Antisemitism is baked into the progressive worldview. Jewish progressives mired in cognitive dissonance have spun a number of theories to feed their denial, but none of them hold up on inspection:
Their attempt to deconstruct “Jewish values,” relabel them “tikkun olam” (i.e., a “fixing of the world” devoid of specific content about the appropriate approach to repair), and rewrite them in accordance with woke progressivism fools neither non-progressive Jews nor non-Jewish progressives. It’s simply absurd to suggest that a 3500 year-old moral code just happens to conform to today’s rapidly evolving enlightened elite morality.
Their attempt to blame Israel’s alleged affronts to progressivism fails on several grounds. Israeli society provides one of the world’s friendliest environments for every element of the woke lifestyle. Israel’s social safety network and universal, single-payer healthcare system address key progressive policy concerns. Furthermore, foreign policy considerations tend to rate quite low on the list of progressive priorities—other than vis-à-vis Israel. And the very progressives most likely to direct their anger at Israeli policies against random Jewish targets are those most eager to disconnect ethnicity from government action taken by any other foreign government. At the end of the day, even if the defamations that progressives like to hurl at Israel were true, the leveraging of those grievances into action against American Jews would represent a double standard applied to no other country or ethnicity. The applicability of such demonizing double standards has long been recognized as a sign of deep underlying antisemitism.
Their contention that antisemitic progressives lack the background knowledge necessary to recognize the long history of anti-Jewish oppression—and thus misclassify Jews as traditional oppressors rather than as a preeminent oppressed class—is even more baffling. Progressivism is rooted in the scholarship of oppression. If progressive scholars and students are unaware of the oppression of Jews throughout history, it’s because they’ve chosen to omit the topic from their grievance study curricula. Only an antisemite might make such an intentional omission.
No, contemporary progressivism is merely the latest in a long line of ideologies out to purge the world of the Jewish presence that—both on its own and through Christianity and Islam—has shaped so much of recorded history.
Contemporary woke progressivism is antisemitic because progressive values are the opposite of Jewish values. The conflict is inherent, bad, and rapidly getting worse. The battle for Jewish safety and the battle to defeat progressivism are one and the same. America’s Jews are sitting on the front lines of the struggle against anti-American wokeism. That many of those Jews deny both the precarious nature of their situation and the antipathy of the enemy seeking their destruction does nothing to alter reality. It simply makes that reality that much more tragic.
For more information about Bruce D. Abramson & American Restorationism, visit: www.BruceDAbramson.com
To learn more about how America’s elites destroyed the republic, see: The New Civil War: Exposing Elites, Fighting Utopian Leftism, and Restoring America (RealClear Publishing, 2021).
To learn more about the ideology driving today’s anti-American leftism, see: American Restoration: Winning America’s Second Civil War (Kindle, 2019).