Unfortunately, their message of sympathy is being undermined by the shameful effort of Israel’s top diplomats in the U.S. to absolve Donald Trump of any responsibility for fomenting an atmosphere of right-wing hate and, even more outrageously, to implicate anti-Semitism on the left instead.
For many American Jews, Trump’s cardinal sin is the false equivalence he created between neo-Nazis and leftist demonstrators in the wake of the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, in which Heather Heyer was killed.
There are “fine people” on both sides, Trump said, infuriating Americans in general and American Jews in particular. This did not deter Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and New York Consul General Dani Dayan, however, from using the same odious analogy.
Rather than focus on the neo-Nazi credentials of Pittsburgh perpetrator Robert Bowers or on Florida’s serial pipe-bomber Cesar Sayoc’s endless admiration for Trump, Dermer and Dayan opted to muddy the waters. The two senior diplomats emulated the U.S. president by obfuscating the clear-cut white supremacist backdrop of the Pittsburgh atrocity and, in Dermer’s case, by commending Trump’s statement after the attack.
... They conveniently ignore the fact that all – not most, but all – of Israel’s political violence in recent decades has emanated from the right, from the settlers’ Jewish Underground through Hebron mass murderer Baruch Goldstein to Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir and many others in between. Like Netanyahu and his acolytes, the two diplomats intentionally conflate classic anti-Semitism, which Bowers’ exemplified in a particularly evil manner, with current anti-Israel agitation on campuses and elsewhere.
Needless to say, Bowers did not shoot elderly Jews in cold blood because he rejects the occupation, supports BDS or opposes Netanyahu. On the contrary, his murderous rampage was sparked by the widespread American Jewish support for immigrants and refugees, which Netanyahu and others view as naive and self-destructive, in Israel as in the U.S.
The two diplomats also reflected the converse view, widely held in the Israeli right, that Trump’s support for Netanyahu’s right-wing policies somehow absolves the U.S. president a priori of encouraging or espousing anti-Semitism. Trump’s anti-Semitic assertion in December 2015 that Jews only support candidates that they can buy with money; his loud anti-Semitic dog whistle in a political ad on the final day of the presidential campaign; his Charlottesville statements and his dogged refusal to clearly condemn white supremacist groups and other troubling incidents are all swept under the carpet by Israel’s official representatives.Shameful? Yeah, that sounds about right.