‘Jewbags’ and the Democrats’ Anti-Israel Liaison (FrontPageMagazine.com) by Daniel Greenfield 04/04/12)
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There’s a thin line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. That’s
true of Muslims and the left, but it’s also true specifically of the
Jewish left, whose hatred for Israel manifests itself in a general
contempt for Jewish religion, culture and tradition.
Take the “Jewbags” case of Danielle Gilbert, a staffer for Democratic
National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who had been
appointed the DNC’s Jewish outreach liaison. In a social media
mishap, Gilbert posed along with her friends in a photo that she
captioned “JEWBAGS” and that a friend of hers captioned as “Jew cash
money team.” This is the sort of incident that the hip crowd that
thinks “Heeb” is a great name for a magazine and “Jewcan Sam” is
hilarious will laugh off. But it’s hardly the most offensive thing
about Gilbert from a Jewish perspective. It’s just a symptom of the
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has long been associated with J-Street, the
anti-Israel group which has repeatedly worked to undermine Israel’s
fight against terrorism. When a delegation from J-Street arrived at
Schultz’s office last year, they were received by Danielle Gilbert
who posed with them for a photo. That wasn’t the limit of Gilbert’s
involvement with J-Street.
Danielle Gilbert’s twitter feed suggests that she attended the J-
Street conference and she retweeted a call from the anti-Israel group
to freeze “settlements.” Gilbert’s own anti-Israel background isn’t
casual. She attended the London School of Economics and Political
Science and while there was part of the Association for the Study of
Ethnicity and Nationalism.
Gilbert had volunteered at Givat Haviva, a leftist group dedicated to
pro-terrorist activism. Givat Haviva had a presence at the J-Street
conference and has its roots in Kibbutz Artzi, which was far enough
to the left that it identified closely with the Soviet Union and its
leader eulogized Soviet mass murdering dictator, Joseph Stalin. The
roots of Givat Haviva lie with Artzi’s Arab Department whose goal was
a one-state solution.
Ilan Pappe founded and ran the Academic Institute for Peace in Givat
Haviva. Pappe is a former member of Hadash, the Arab-Israeli
Communist party, who supports the destruction of Israel via a One
State Solution. An article on the Givat Haviva website features a
photo of Danielle Gilbert with one of her friends, who writes about
his own support for the One State Solution.
Through Givat Haviva, Gilbert conducted interviews with the residents
of the Muslim Bartaa village which straddles the Green Line and has
become a cause celebre for the anti-Israel left. Since then she has
been a Jeremiah Fellow at Jews United for Justice, another left-wing
group, which also participated in the J-Street conference, and whose
board members intersect with a number of anti-Israel groups.
In 2008, Gilbert wrote, “We cannot see Mumbai’s events as anything
less than the gruesome epitome of systematic terror. However, such a
tragedy rightly makes us question our unequal treatment of minority
cultures within larger communities,” shifting easily to calling the
brutal murder of the Holtzberg family and countless Indians by
Muslims a “tragedy” that serves to call attention to Muslim suffering.
For Jews there is far more to be offended by in that than in
Gilbert’s use of a Jewish slur. There is also far more to be offended
by in the fact that the DNC chose to elevate a woman aligned with J-
Street and that she then elevated someone like Danielle Gilbert to
conduct outreach to the people they no doubt fondly think of as
If you want to understand why Obama thought he could treat Jews with
such contempt, you have to remember that he thought Debbie Wasserman-
Schultz was a normative figure and Schultz thought that Gilbert was a
normative figure. In that echo chamber, a radical group like J-Street
seems mainstream and Gilbert’s behavior seems equally mainstream.
Gilbert’s politics and contempt for the Jewish people make her
completely unsuitable to act as any kind of liaison to the Jewish
community. And yet Danielle Gilbert is not extraordinary. There are
plenty of Jewish boys and girls in D.C. with the same privileged
background, the same formal trips to Israel giving way uglier
detours, foreign policy fellowships and eventually a place in a left-
wing think tank or as congressional staffers. These are the people
who show up to listen to J Street panels, break bread with members of
the Muslim Brotherhood and denounce Israel. They are as banal as they
In the last four years the Democratic Party has hardly bothered
hiding its contempt for ordinary Americans. The same is true for the
Jewish left which is hardly masking its contempt for the Jewish
people anymore. This is not a new phenomenon, it dates back to the
late 19th century, and the venom with which the Jewish left assailed
the Jewish people eventually ended in the Gulags. Those who survived
earned the privilege of participating in the Soviet Union’s campaign
to smear Israel.
The post-Jewish left mirrors the Post-American left in its radical
and destructive identity. Its promotion of a counter-Jewish identity
based on ridiculing Jewishness and hostility to Israel is once again
splitting the Jewish community into two camps. By elevating Schultz,
Gilbert and J-Street, the left is asserting its power to define a
destructive form of Jewish identity. The backlash to them is a
reminder that the left does not have the power that it thinks it does.
Jewish Anti-Semitism is a very real phenomenon, but it’s not self-
hatred, no more so than Bill Ayers’ desire to destroy America is self-
hatred. The essence of the left is the rejection of the past in a
perpetual war for a better future. The very nature of Jewish identity
is built on a continuity of tradition and the nature of the left is
to fly its progressive colors by showing contempt for tradition.
There can be no balance between the two because to choose the one is
to reject the other.
The more the Democratic Party moves in tune with the left, the more
it mirrors the bigotry of European leftist parties toward Jews and
Israel. This is an inescapable process and the further left the party
goes, the more anti-Semitic it will become.
To join the left is to fragment your existing identity, whether it is
Jewish or Christian, American or Australian, and adopt a new form of
identity. The further the extreme, the greater the fragmentation
becomes. Push harder and you go from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to
Peter Beinart to Gilad Atzmon. It’s a slippery slope greased with
lies and self-deceptions that ends at the bottom of a charnel pit, a
gulag, a death camp or a terrorist training camp. (Copyright © 2012
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