how did we get here?



To understand what is happening to American Jews, we must first understand who American Jews are. The first Jews arrived to the now United States after the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, in 1492 and 1497, respectively. The second wave of Jewish immigration took place in the early 1800s, with Jews arriving from Germany and elsewhere in Central Europe. The third wave took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Jews in the Russian Empire fled pogroms en masse. Most American Jews can trace their ancestry to this third wave of immigrants. Smaller groups migrated from the Middle East and North Africa starting in the mid-twentieth century, and some 80,000 survivors settled in the United States after the Holocaust. 

Drawing from the Jewish experience of thousands of years of oppression, persecution, and marginalization, as well as from Jewish values, American Zionist Jews have been at the forefront of just about every cause associated with progressive politics. In the 1970s and 1980s, American Jewish environmentalism was largely influenced by Zionism’s revival of “back-to-the-land” values. Zionist Jewish women were disproportionately represented in the American suffragette movement, and Zionist Jewish women led the feminist movement, with icons such as Gloria Steinem — who, while highly critical of the Israeli government, has identified as a proud Zionist for decades — at the helm. Rabbi Abraham Herschel’s vocal support for the Civil Rights movement is well known, as are Harvey Milk’s contributions to the fight for gay rights. Though not American, Magnus Hirschfeld is largely considered the father of the modern LGBTQ+ movement, establishing the first trans healthcare clinic in 1919. He was a Zionist. 

Interestingly, however, while American Jews loudly advocated for other progressive causes, until the 1970s, they were largely hesitant to make too much noise about antisemitism. Following hundreds of years of violent persecution in Europe, the community had been conditioned to keep their heads down. In fact, after the Holocaust, this was an enormous source of shame for the American Jewish community — the idea that perhaps they could have done more on behalf of their Jewish brothers and sisters in Europe. 

This all changed with the movement to liberate Soviet Jewry, led by American Jewish college students. For the first time, the American Jewish community took to the streets in enormous numbers on behalf of their own people. Some on the very far left gaslit them, insisting Soviet Jews weren’t truly oppressed, but this was hardly a mainstream left position. 

Historically, American Jews have been so associated with the left that the McCarthyist campaigns of the 1950s disproportionately targeted Jews. Today, American Jews remain one of the most reliable voting blocks for the Democratic Party (though who knows how things will fare for this upcoming election). 

Long story short: the idea that Zionism and progressivism are incompatible is ludicrous and ahistorical. Zionist Jews built the progressive movement. 

Historically, most violent antisemitism in the United States has come from the far-right, so much so that Leo Frank’s lynching in 1913 inspired the resurgence of the KKK. However, antisemitism has existed in all its forms across the political spectrum, exemplified by the fact that until the 1970s, American Jews were still subject to employment and housing discrimination, as well as university quotas. 

Nevertheless, American Jews created their own opportunities, and until recently, Jewish life in the United States seemed like a shocking  Diasporic success story. If we put this into historical perspective, however, this drastic deterioration is not all that surprising or unique. German Jews were the most successful, well-assimilated Jews in the world until the Holocaust. 




After the Allied victory in World War II, the world was shocked by the horrifying images of starved Jews coming out of the concentration camps.

There was even some sympathy, though the non-Jewish world stopped short of offering much help, continuing to refuse Jewish refugees. Open, blatant Nazi-esque antisemitism became largely taboo. But stubborn, 2000-year-old hatreds don’t die overnight. Antisemitism is like a virus that adapts to any given society in order to survive. 

In the 1960s, French philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff noted that classic antisemitic themes were widespread in anti-Zionist propaganda disseminated in the Arab world, such as the idea that Jews plot together, seek to conquer the world, and are bloodthirsty, echoing ancient antisemitic tropes regarding blood libel and ritual murder.

In 1974, American Jews Arnold Forster and Benjamin Epstein published “The New Antisemitism,” arguing that they had noted manifestations of antisemitism coming from the far-left, far-right, and pro-Arab crowds, which projected ancient hatred of Jews onto the State of Israel. Earl Raab, who sharply criticized the book, still concurred that a new form of antisemitism seemed to be emerging, one which may not have denied the rights of individual Jews, but rather, the rights of the Jews as a collective people.



In the 1940s, the Soviets expressed some sympathy for Zionism, viewing it, as many others did at the time, as a socialist cause. Nevertheless, the Soviets had long expressed antisemitic views. As the Cold War progressed, the Soviets realized that allying with the Arab states was much more strategically beneficial than allying with the Jewish State, so quickly, they changed their tune.

Now that antisemitism had been “tainted” by Nazi Germany, by the 1950s, the Soviets enacted a huge “anti-Zionist” campaign, targeting their entire Jewish population, regardless of their political views. 

Interestingly, however, the Soviets were never covert about the fact that their “anti-Zionism” was actually just antisemitism. In the 1960s, Soviet propaganda (such as newspapers) made blatantly antisemitic claims, including: “The character of the Jewish religion serves the political aims of the Zionists,” “Zionism is inextricable from Judaism, rooted in the idea of the exclusiveness of the Jewish people,” comparisons of Judaism to the Italian mafia, and claims that Israel was merely a means to an end of Jewish imperialism and world domination.

To strengthen their sphere of influence over Arab and African nations, the Soviets launched a covert operation against Israel, named Sionistskiye Gosudarstva, meaning “Zionist Governments.” According to KGB chairman Yuri Andropov (1967-1982), “We had only to keep repeating our themes—that the United States and Israel were ‘fascist, imperial-Zionist countries’ bankrolled by rich Jews.’”

Naturally, this stream of thought started to enter leftist discourse. This was further cemented in 1975, when the United Nations, backed by the Soviets and the Arab countries, passed the infamous, now-overturned “Zionism is racism” resolution…a resolution which never defined Zionism nor explained how or why, exactly, it is a form of racism.



Two Arab scholars fundamentally shifted the academic discourse on Israel’s place in the world: Fayez Sayegh, born in Syria and once a member of the Syrian Nazi Party, and Palestinian writer Edward Said, author of the book “Orientalism.”

Sayegh was the first to ever coin the view that Zionism is “settler-colonialism.” He later went on to teach at reputable American universities, such as Georgetown, strongly influencing American academia.

Meanwhile, “Orientalism” (1978), which argues that Western scholarship and conceptions about the Eastern world are a form of imperialism itself, s one of the most influential texts of all time, largely birthing the fields of literary theory, cultural criticism, modern Mideast studies, and post-colonialism. In fact, “Orientalism” is considered the foundational text of post-colonial studies.

Orientalism, however, virtually ignores Eastern colonialism and its effect not only on Western colonialism, but in the region of Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Scholars from across the world have argued that Said’s claims are rife with historic revisionism, hypocrisy (given his upper class, British education, among other things), and double standards.

Following Said’s death, a Lebanese newspaper affirmed the book’s influence: “US Middle Eastern Studies were taken over by Edward Said's postcolonial studies paradigm.” Said’s influence has largely limited Western Mideast departments to the perspective of the dominant group: the Arabs. In other words, even in the West, the history of the Middle East is being taught through the lens of the colonizer.

Today, the influence of Arab countries with widespread antisemitism continues to leave its mark on American academia. In a 2020 Department of Education investigation, the DoE found that numerous American universities lacked transparency regarding large sum donations from numerous Arab countries, such as Qatar. The report stated: “There is very real reason for concern that foreign money buys influence or control over teaching and research.




Intersectionality is a concept which “describes the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class and other forms of discrimination ‘intersect’ to create unique dynamics and effects.”

Unfortunately, the concept of intersectionality has been weaponized to silence and exclude Jews. Instead of considering how, say, a trans Jew might experience both transphobia and antisemitism, the idea has been exploited to create a hierarchy of oppression…oftentimes placing Jews at the very top, or near the very top, just under white Christians. But every antisemite in history has viewed Jews as the oppressor. This isn’t groundbreaking. 

Trump’s 2016 election shocked and outraged the mainstream American left. To counter Trump’s misogyny, the first ever Women’s March was held in 2017, eliciting the participation of just about the entire American political left, from classic liberals to the far-left. Palestinian American Linda Sarsour was chosen as co-chair. By 2018, Sarsour had, according to founder Teresa Shook, “allowed antisemitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform.”

Shortly after the first Women’s March, Sarsour publicly claimed that “Zionists can’t be feminists,” because feminism must be “intersectional,” and, in Sarsour’s view, being a Zionist means you don’t support the rights of Palestinian women.

Soon, the concept spread. Now, you can’t support Black lives if you’re a Zionist, you can’t support gay rights if you’re a Zionist, you can’t support trans rights if you’re a Zionist, you can’t support Land Back if you’re a Zionist, and on and on. Before we knew it, 89-97% of Jews had virtually been kicked out of the political left…the left that we built and for most of us, our political home. We’ve been abandoned.

Also in response to Trump, a number of so-called “progressives” with a history of antisemitic views and anti-Israel rhetoric entered the political mainstream — most notably, the “Squad.” 


Islam is a religion. Islamism is, in essence, political Islam. Islamists believe that the doctrines of Islam should be congruent with those of the state. Islamists work to implement nation-states governed under Islamic Law (Sharia), emphasize pan-Islamic unity (in most cases, hoping for an eventual worldwide Islamic Caliphate, or empire), support the creation of Islamic theocracies, and reject all non-Muslim influences. Antisemitism is deeply embedded into Islamist thought.

Islamist ideology can be traced back to Hassan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928. Al-Banna advocated for “gradualist” change, as opposed to violent revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was deeply influenced by the teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like Hassan al-Banna, Khomeini was a pragmatist.

While in exile in France, Khomeini downplayed his fundamentalism, presenting himself to the west merely as a fierce opponent of American neo-imperialism and influence in Iran. It was in this manner, for example, that he was able to manipulate Iranian leftists to join him under his banner. In reality, Khomeini despised leftism, and soon after he came to power, many left-wing organizations had to flee Iran.

Since the Iranian Revolution, Islamist influence has slowly permeated the west. Many “civil rights” and “student” organizations have close ties to Islamist terrorist groups in the Middle East. For instance, in 2013, an FBI document stated, “In 2008, the FBI developed a policy on its interactions with CAIR based in part on evidence presented during the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The evidence at trial linked CAIR [Council on American-Islamist Relations] leaders to Hamas, a specially designated terrorist organization, and CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.”

Similarly, influential Islamist news sources like Al Jazeera and AJ+ have exported their subtle and not-so-subtle propaganda to the west, influencing public opinion.



The situation since the Columbia encampment started has marked a noticeable shift in the position for American Jews. For decades, the mainstream media and international NGOs have promoted complete falsehoods about the State of Israel, and them downplaying antisemitism — particularly left-wing antisemitism — is nothing new.

But now, NGOs like Amnesty International and main media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the BBC are blatantly lying and misrepresenting the violent nature of the protests on college campuses. 

Jews have been sounding the alarm on antisemitism on college campuses for years now. For these groups to swoop in, lie with zero consequences, and influence the public opinion of millions is deeply alarming to the Jewish community. We see what’s happening because we have eyes and we have ears. But our voices are too few and are not heard over the shouting of the majority.

The same tactics that they’ve used on Israel for decades are now being used on American Jews. This was never actually about Israel. Israel is far from perfect, but the vitriol to which it is subjected, when there are hundreds of countries with objectively worse policies and much bloodier histories, makes it clear. This was always about Jews.

Sure, “anti-Israel” progressive Democrats remain a minority in Congress. But their base is growing, especially with the younger generation. The media are not reporting the truth, at least not as far as we are concerned. With social media, harmful ideas that once took years to spread now proliferate in a matter of seconds. We are at a boiling point, and I pray it is not too late.

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