Antifa & Israel - Amit Deri
Two weeks ago all decent people were shocked by the display of hatred and antisemitism by a group of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The good news is that when you actually look at the numbers, it is clear that we are only talking about a small fringe group that the overwhelming majority Americans are disgusted by.
However, even though the numbers are tiny, and even though there have been neo-Nazis in America for decades, the media has given this subject massive coverage, occasionally verging on the hysterical. Among other things, this type of media saturation makes it appear as if the US is in danger of being overrun by hordes of fringe neo-Nazi loonies.
This out-of-proportion coverage is now creating another problem, one that I believe will be far greater for American democracy. This problem in the making has to do with countering the exaggerated Nazi threat, a reaction that is likely to become even more overblown and dangerous than the problem it is intended to confront.
At the forefront of this fight stands “Antifa,” an international anti-fascist group. For them any role in the fight is legitimate. In its “ends justify the means” battle plan, Antifa is already morphing into a group whose behavior is indistinguishable from that of the neo-Nazis they are sworn to obliterate.
Any opposition to their radical Left agenda is to be dealt with by any means necessary. Even physical violence against police is legitimate.
Last week two well-known professors who are vocal BDS activists with anti-Israel views declared that they will help to open Antifa branches on many campuses across the US. Prof. David Palumbo-Liu of Stanford University and Prof. Bill Mullen of Purdue University are already receiving support from academics across America.
In recent rallies Antifa and its supporters have shown complete disregard for civil liberties and the fundamental rights of free speech and assembly. Provocative speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley and Charles Murray at Middlebury College in Vermont were physically intimidated and harassed and forced to flee for safety.
But as bad as things are, they are bound to get worse.
The frightening scenario is that with all the Antifa organizing on US campuses and the eventual realization that there aren’t really Nazis on campus to shut down, there will inevitably be a witch hunt for others Antifa doesn’t like.
So these radical left-wing vigilantes will need to find another monster, “new Nazis.” It doesn’t take a wild imagination to supply the likely candidate: Israel. After all, Israel is 'colonialist, racist and the oppressor of the poor defenseless Palestinians.' Sure sounds like Nazis.
Thanks to intersectionality, where all oppression is somehow linked into the same oppression, Antifa is most likely to connect with other hate groups belonging to the BDS movement against Israel.
A revealing sneak preview of what to expect was seen this past week at protests in Boston. A non-Jewish activist dared to walk around wrapped in an Israeli flag among the anti-Right protesters. He was immediately surrounded by people screamed phrases such as “you are a Nazi,” and “get out of here!” With several thousand left-wing protesters confronting only a few hundred right-wing activists, it was difficult to even find any Nazis. Not to worry. Support for Israel serves the same purpose and deserves the same response.
In this sense Antifa is likely to follow the example of the group “Black Lives Matter” (BLM).
Only by turning a blind eye can someone miss the significant violence Antifa is already causing in the US and Europe. But the future is likely to be far worse, as Antifa seeks out “fascists” of its own choosing and depiction.
Campuses are the main focus of radical left-wing groups, and they are becoming more and more violent and dangerous from year to year. Next year it is safe to say that we will probably see Antifa itself on many campuses.
We fear that much of their focus will be on Israel, and by extension Jewish students and non-Jewish supporters of Israel.
Advocating for Israel on US campuses is likely to become increasingly contentious and, dare I say it, dangerous in the coming years.