The following statement was released Dec. 17 by Seth Galinsky, the Socialist Workers Party’s candidate for New York City public advocate in 2019.
We urge all working people, their unions and other working-class organizations to join us in speaking out against Jew-hatred and all acts of anti-Semitic violence. The fight against Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism is a working-class question.
The scapegoating of Jews for economic and social problems and the violence it breeds is a deadly threat to all Jews, religious and secular, in all walks of life and of all viewpoints.
Two bigots who are African American carried out the Dec. 10 assault at a kosher market in Jersey City that killed Leah Mindel Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch and Douglas Miguel Rodríguez and wounded several others. At the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 it was a white supremacist who cold-bloodedly killed 11 Jews.
Every act of Jew-hatred must be answered and combated, no matter who or where it comes from.
Jew-hatred, which first arose under feudalism, lives on under capitalism, flaring up even stronger in times of economic and social crisis, as class tensions sharpen. Today we see the contradictory reality that anti-Semitism among working people is at a low ebb while individual assaults against Jews are on the rise.
The deadly danger of Jew-hatred showed its horrors in the Holocaust during the second imperialist world war. But pogroms and Jew-hatred existed before the rise of Hitler and continue to exist after. They are built into capitalism, including the imperialist “democracies” in the U.S., Britain, France and beyond.
The recent elections in the United Kingdom were marked by this fact. The Labour Party was dealt a huge defeat not only because of its refusal to accept the overwhelming working-class support for getting the U.K. out of the EU, but also because of workers’ rejection of the party leaders’ shameless embrace of anti-Semitism.
Labour Party officials like Jeremy Corbyn thought that their Jew-hatred, not only in the form of Israel-bashing but openly anti-Semitic remarks, would strike a chord among workers. It’s a sign of their disdain for the “deplorable” working class that they thought reactionary, anti-Semitic views would be popular. But working people abandoned the Labour Party in droves, proving the opposite.
In the United States, liberals and leftists are up in arms over the Donald Trump administration’s new executive order “on combating anti-Semitism,” charging it will lead to attacks on free speech. It doesn’t fit into their schema that Trump is a reactionary and a fascist. The order is aimed at opposing the harassment of Jewish students on college campuses across the country, including threats of violence.
That’s a problem for the leftist proponents of Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions against Israel who use the banner of “anti-Zionism” as a cover for anti-Semitism, as well as for attacks on free speech.
Jew-hatred plays a unique role under capitalism. When the capitalist rulers’ hold on power is threatened by a rising working-class movement, the bourgeoisie will fund and build up rightist forces and try to convince small-business people facing disaster, demoralized workers and others that their problems are caused by rapacious Jewish capitalists. Their goal is to provide a scapegoat to divert us from seeing the real enemy — the capitalist system itself.
That’s what led to the murder of more than 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. And it’s why Fidel Castro made a special point of explaining the dangers of Jew-hatred. “I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews,” he said in 2010. “They are blamed and slandered for everything.”
Abram Leon wrote in The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation that “there is no solution to the Jewish question under capitalism, just as there is no solution to the other problems posed before humanity — without profound social upheavals.” Leon, whose book is available from Socialist Workers Party and Communist League branches, was a Belgian revolutionary who was captured by the Nazis in 1944 and sent to the gas chambers.
We are not on the verge of a mass fascist movement today. But bigger crises and class battles are coming.
The only way to end Jew-hatred for all time is to eliminate capitalism. That can only be done by a self-confident working class, in alliance with farmers, wresting power from the capitalist class.
Today we tell the truth and speak out against Jew-hatred in all its forms.