Vandals torched three cars and scrawled hateful graffiti to mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht this year in Brooklyn's heavily Jewish neighborhood of Midwood. In addition to gutting the parked cars on Ocean Parkway between avenues I and J, the hoodlums also scrawled swastikas, "KKK" and "fuck the Jews" on nearby pavement, benches and other vehicles. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the crimes represent "a truly hateful act of prejudice... That it took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht leaves no doubt that this attack is a hate crime in every sense." (NBC New York, Daily News, Brooklyn Daily, Nov. 11)
We're glad de Blasio recalled the anniversary of the 1938 Nazi pogroms dubbed the "Night of Broken Glass," but we fear that for him this is just another workaday play to Jewish constituents—like his recent high-profile trip to Israel, or plugging of New York City employee pension fund investments in Israeli bonds.
Once again, the politicians make the requisite noises, while the radical left—which once proudly stood in the vanguard of anti-fascism—just repeats like a mantra that anti-Semitism doesn't exist, or is exaggerated, or is a ploy by Zionist propagandists. We pointed this out earlier this year, following a spate of Jew-hating spewings and attacks. More recently, we've pointed out the apparent tolerance of many in the Occupy Wall Street movement for Jew-haters among their ranks. We pointed it out after the 2009 Kristallnacht vandalism of the Dresden synagogue, and the wave of synagogue attacks in Crete a few months later. We pointed it out after Russian synagogues were attacked on the eve of Rosh Hashona in 2006, and after giant swastika flags were draped from a Los Angeles freeway overpass on that same Rosh Hashona.
Contrary to relentless propaganda of the Zionist right, anti-Semitism remains primarily a phenomenon of the right—even when it assumes populist or pseudo-left garb. But the world's progressive forces are themselves confused by this propaganda, and have almost entirely abdicated their responsibility to oppose it. They are therefore ceding the issue—indeed, the very mantle of anti-fascism—to conservatives and bourgeois politicians. By doing so, they are ultimately making a noose for their own necks.
No, this isn't random "vandalism." These are racist attacks, and part of a global pattern of resurgent fascism—of which the current ultra-reactionary posture of Zionism is also ironically an exponent.