From the Vaults: New York Times, January 3, 1971

Below I enclose an extract from an article that appeared in the New York Times magazine in 1971 and written by Seymour Martin Lipset, professor of government and sociology at Harvard. As the article is quite lengthy, I have left a substantial amount out, but I suspect the whole article will be of interest to some readers of this blog. It can be purchased for $3.95 via the New York Times website.

The Socialism of Fools’

The New Left calls it “Anti-Zionism,” but it’s no different from the anti-Semitism of the Old Right.

By Seymour Martin Lipset

New York Times (magazine), January 3, 1971, p.6, 7,26,27,34.

Twenty-five years after the end of World War II and the collapse of the most anti-Semitic regime in history, anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise around the world. But unlike the situation before 1945, when anti-Jewish politics was largely identified with rightist elements, the current wave is linked to governments, parties, and groups which are conventionally described as leftist….

Some distinctions are in order. One may oppose Israeli policy, resist Zionism or criticize worldwide Jewish support of Israel without being anti-Semitic. But when one draws on the age-old hostility to Jews to strengthen a political position, when one gives credence to the charge of  a worldwide Jewish plot to rule, when one attacks those with whom one has political and economic difference, when one implies that Jews are guilty of some primal evil, then one is guilty of anti-Semitism, and one is engaged in the same racism that all decent men insist on eliminating….

The most important expression of anti-Jewish sentiments in the West takes the form of attacks on “Zionists” and the State of Israel by every section of the left, except the Democratic Socialists. As the war in Vietnam peters out, the various incarnations of the extreme left – new and old, anarchists, Maoists, Trotskyists, Black Panthers and Communists – … identify the heroes as the Arab terrorists and freedom fighters, and the villains as Israel and its American ally. In Germany, New Left students, in a sickening replay of the behaviour of their Nazi predecessors… chant as they parade: “Mach die Nahe Osten rot; schlag die Zionisten tot” (“Make the Near East Red; smash the Zionists dead)….

French New Left spokesmen have openly defended the need to speak in anti-Semitic terms when supporting the Arab cause. Jean Bauberot… currently editor of Hertem, a New Left journal, wrote in the May-July, 1969, issue to “demonstrate the intricacies of the Palestine problem” leftists must “use expressions which, taken by themselves, appear to resemble certain lines from ‘Mein Kampf.’”….

In describing a tenants’ action in Atlantic City against a landlord, an article in the June 13, 1970, Black Panther praises the tenants for “gathering together to form a United Front against Zionist Pig Sobel…” The article concludes with the exhortation: “ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE – DEATH TO THE ZIONIST PIGS.”….To make Jews (or “Zionists”) as a group responsible for the actions of single individuals is anti-Semitism in its purest form….

The white left, both new and old, while increasingly anti-Israeli, and occasionally anti-Semitic does not engage in the kind of virulent anti-Semitism which may be found among the black militant left and the white extreme right. But it is important to reiterate that the white left does not challenge black anti-Semitism. [Articles in the left wing press, including in the Militant (Trotskyist)] usually criticize the militants for their lack of emphasis on class, as distinct from race… Yet in all of this criticism, anti-Semitism is never mentioned. The white left acts as it were of no consequence, or as if no one on the left were capable of it…. the American left-wing press also ignores the fact that the Arab militants, as well as a number of Arab governments, have been ready to use whatever sources of anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-capitalist or anti-Israeli feelings exist to foster their cause.

The Arabs, of course, like other critics of the Jews on the far left and right, insist that they are only anti-Zionist. Yet there is clear evidence that anti-Semitism – not simply anti-Zionism – has deeply penetrated Arab groups and governments. Many official Egyptian books and pamphlets dealing with the Palestine problem, for example, have reprinted or cited …[the] “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”….

For many on the left… the United States has become the epitome of international reaction, the stronghold of all that is evil. Hence, any government, any society, any movement which has the strong backing of the United States must be almost as wicked. And conversely, people opposed to the United States must be good or at least better….

The fact that this time the predominant weight of the anti-Semitic thrust is on the left rather than the right will surprise only those who are unaware of the considerable literature on anti-Semitism in the socialist and other leftist movements…. Karl Marx himself accepted the stereotype which linked Jews with capitalism. Thus in his essay on “The Jewish Question,” he wrote: “What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Bargaining. What is his worldly God? Money….”