Morning Joe’s Theme: Blame Israel, Not Democrats for Anti-Semitic Attacks in the USA

Tuesday’s Morning Joe took on the wave of anti-Semitic violence on the streets of America. Joe Scarborough suggested that Jews were being targeted by people who were upset by Israel’s bombing of Gaza as Hamas was lobbing missiles at Israeli cities. The problem is people associate all Jews with Israel’s policies.

MSNBC brought in Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, and New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, two prominent liberal American Jews. Their basic point was that the wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the US is unjustified because the people being attacked are Jewish, but not Israeli.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Michelle Goldberg, you note that by conflating Jewish people with the Israeli state, in effect, what happens is, a debate, a meaningful debate on Israeli policy is effectively shut down, because of that conflation, and because of these seeds of anti-Semitism that we’ve seen more in broad daylight in Europe than we have here in the United States.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: Well, and one of the ironic things is that this is something that the most right-wing Zionists have in common with the most anti-Semitic anti-Zionists, is that both conflate the Jewish people with the Israeli state. Both think that you can sort of attack Jewish people to get revenge on the Israeli state. 

The pair wanted it known that they, too, are critical of the Israeli state. Goldberg claimed there were “many cases” of “very real Israeli human rights abuses.” And Greenblatt even boasted that there’s lots of criticism of Israeli policy on his organization’s website! See: we’re the good Jews. We hate Netanyahu, too! Go attack someone else!

Michelle Goldberg Jonathan Greenblatt MSNBC Morning Joe 5-25-21Goldberg also tried to deflect responsibility from Democrat politicians who have launched virulent verbal attacks on Israel. Goldberg conjectured that the people carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the US are:

“Not getting their messages from the Democratic party. I would bet they’re getting their messages from the dark corners of the internet.”

Nice try to exculpate your fellow Democrats, Michelle. But the likes of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with their vile comments about Israel being an “apartheid state,” etc., get infinitely more play than comments by some anti-Semites on what you yourself describe as the “dark corners” of the internet. 

Note: Joe Scarborough mentioned out that Al Sharpton has spoken out against the anti-Semitic attacks, saying that blacks have no standing to complain about attacks on themselves if they don’t condemn attacks on Jews. That’s fine, and I do believe that Sharpton has evolved over time. But has he ever accepted responsibility for his own complicity in anti-Semitism regarding attacks on Jews in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and at Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem?

The segment was sponsored in part by USPS, Sleep Number, and Uber.

Here’s the transcript.

MSNBC
Morning Joe
5/25/21
6:52 am EDT

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Michelle Goldberg, you note that by conflating Jewish people with the Israeli state, in effect, what happens is, a debate, a meaningful debate on Israeli policy is effectively shut down, because of that conflation, and because of these seeds of anti-Semitism that we’ve seen more in broad daylight in Europe than we have here in the United States.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: Well, and one of the ironic things is that this is something that the most right-wing Zionists have in common with the most anti-Semitic anti-Zionists, is that both conflate the Jewish people with the Israeli state. Both think that you can sort of attack Jewish people to get revenge on the Israeli state. 

. . .

And something that progressive Jews in the United States have tried really — not just Jews, but progressive Jews among others, have tried for years and have finally, I think, lately have some success at, is breaking this extremely tight identification and sort of changing the discourse, so you can talk about what are very real, in many cases, Israeli human rights abuses, without being accused of anti-Semitism. 

. . . 

JONATHAN GREENBLATT: And you know, do keep in mind, if you’re looking for organizations that will critique Israeli policies without being anti-Semitic, I’ll direct you to ADL.org. Because we’ve done plenty of that. 

. . . 

SCARBOROUGH: And you know, there has been so much progress and Jonathan, I’ve seen you and Al Sharpton talk about the importance of bringing communities together. After, it seems, every anti-Semitic attack, I see you on Al Sharpton’s show. He said this yesterday: we must be concerned with the anti-Semitic attacks, and they must be condemned as strongly as attacks against blacks. We must speak out against all wrongs or else we have no standing when we, ourselves, have been wronged.” And that’s Al Sharpton. 

. . . 

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: And I also think that, you know, we talk about what politicians are saying, but I would assume that when you talk about these people who are out there committing these heinous acts, you know, they’re not getting their messages from the Democratic party. I would bet they’re getting their messages from the dark corners of the internet.

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