The Left

Danger on the Left

I find most accusations of antisemitism on the Left exaggerated and overwrought. But that doesn’t mean it’s an imaginary problem, especially among elements of the “anti-globalization” movement. The rhetoric of the far left and the ultranationalist right– especially demonization of Israel and references to the conspiratorial nature of global capitalism– can be disturbingly similar.

As Mark Strauss writes in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine:

Unfortunately, conspiracy theories must always have a conspirator, and all too often, the conspirators are perceived to be Jews. It takes but a small step to cross the line dividing the two worldviews. “If I told you I thought the world was controlled by a handful of capitalists and corporate bosses, you would say I was a left-winger,” an anarchist demonstrator told the online Russian publication Pravda. “But if I told you who I thought the capitalists and corporate bosses were, you’d say I was far right.”

Strauss notes that many activists in the anti-globalization movement are themselves Jews. And he singles out Naomi Klein as one activist who has criticized (rather weakly, in my opinion) the troubling behavior of some in the movement. But he points out that Klein and others who do speak out are a minority. Easier, as always, to keep your mouth shut.

Strauss is not a frothing Left-basher. Which is why his article is especially worth reading and thinking about.