Israeli liberal Isaac Herzog says that harsh critics of Israel are just as dangerous as white nationalists who shoot up synagogues; they are two faces of anti-Semitism, which blames Jews for “the faults of the world”.
Addressing a pro-Israel conference last month in Florida, Herzog said that “white supremacists are active as ever…” and “Pittsburgh can recur God forbid.” His host Dana Weiss of the Israeli American Council pressed him: “There is an argument being made that anti-Israelism, anti-Zionism on the left is as dangerous as the ultra right traditional antisemitism.”
“Well in many quarters it’s true,” said Herzog, who ran against Benjamin Netanyahu from the left four years ago. He went on:
“The extreme voices like you see from antifa and Farrakhan all the way to the Corbynites in England are extremely disturbing, and it has nothing to do with political views and the State of Israel. I could have been the leader of the opposition, the leader of the center left camp In Israel, and I bet you had I been prime minister, Corbyn would have acted the same.
“It doesn’t come from a political debate, it comes from a very disturbing attitude towards Jews mixed with the same attitude towards Israelis. And we should understand that. There is a very interesting definition of anti-semitism that say that each generation– it’s blaming the Jews for the faults of the world. And we see it unfortunately when a guy walks into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and yells Kill all the Jews and believe me he had no clue whether somebody there is Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Likud or Avodah [Labor].”
The former head of the center-left opposition “Zionist Camp” in Israeli politics, Herzog is the head of the Jewish Agency, which seeks to build solidarity throughout the global “Jewish nation,” and chiefly between US and Israeli Jews.
British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has been harshly critical of Israel, at times likening the occupation to the Nazi occupation of European countries. He once supported Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, and though he walked that support back, his party has given shelter to politicians who support BDS.
Adam Horowitz was the first to spot the equation Herzog made in the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre October 27, when Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer said we have to oppose anti-Semitism, whether it comes from the right or the left. “This is a disgusting lie,” Horowitz wrote. “But it is part and parcel with the recent push by the Israeli government and its supporters in the West to redefine the meaning of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel. When faced with the most blatant example of antisemitic violence imaginable, Dermer can’t bring himself to criticize the actual accomplices who made this violence possible.”