Joe Biden’s ‘antisemitism’ farce

Protesters rally for a ceasefire in Gaza outside a UAW union hall during a visit by President Joe Biden in Warren, Michigan, on Feb. 1.

Joe Biden has engaged in some pretty abhorrent politics over the years. 

At Strom Thurmond’s 90th birthday party in 1993, Joe Biden spoke, heaping praise on the segregationist stooge. Biden’s glowing remarks reached a height when he compared Thurmond to another segregationist stooge, Robert E. Lee. 

Ole Genocide Joe did not mean this as a criticism, nor was he drawing a thoughtful parallel between the neo-Klan movement and the Confederacy. This comment was genuinely meant as a compliment. 

Thurmond had led the “Dixiecrat” charge against the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, famously filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for 24 hours. The man certainly had a dogged commitment to the most pernicious racism and fascism. 

If you don’t remember that particular saga, you may remember Biden’s championing of racist mass incarceration legislation, or his glib threats of genocide against Serbia … or, last one, his insistence that “poor kids are just as bright as white kids.” Woof. 

That said, Genocide Joe Biden may have outdone himself May 7 with a right-wing tirade on national television that the Democratic Party had the nerve to frame as a “speech against antisemitism.” 

Genocide Joe began this “speech against antisemitism” with recognition of some alleged friends of the Jewish community and allies in the fight against antisemitism. In particular, Biden named Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and former Anti-Defamation League (ADL) spokesperson Abe Foxman. 

Let’s start with the esteemed speaker, Mr. Mike Johnson. Johnson is an open Christian Zionist and a proud Trump right winger. Christian Zionists support the colonization of Palestine by U.S.-backed Jewish Zionists because they believe that the full “return” of Judaism to Palestine will usher in the end of the world, where all non-Christians will be destroyed. Does this seem like a real friend to the Jewish people? 

Moving on to Hakeem Jeffries. The Democratic minority leader in the House has voted for every piece of legislation to arm Ukraine, despite neo-Nazis playing a prominent role in the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian society being deeply engulfed in fascism since the 2014 Maidan coup. As if that wasn’t enough, Jeffries has said that the U.S. should consider sending troops to Ukraine to protect those fascists. 

Last but not least, we get to Abe Foxman, a fervent Zionist spokesperson and lobbyist who formerly ran the Anti-Defamation League. Foxman is a huge supporter of the “birthright” program, which grants young Jews free trips to Palestine in order to indoctrinate them into the Zionist colonial project. Many of these young Jews from the United States are brainwashed on these trips into literal or figurative soldiers for the Zionist entity.

In 2016, Foxman attacked anti-Zionist Jew and IfNotNow founder Simone Zimmerman, taking particular aim at her new position in Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign. Foxman’s attack actually led to Zimmerman being suspended from her position just two days after she started. 

Foxman has a strange way of showing support for young Jews. The cherry on top is Foxman’s vitriolic stance against collegiate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. 

These men may be friends of Zionism, but they are certainly not friends to the Jewish community. 

Distorting history

After these insidious introductions, Biden launched into a lecture on Jewish history, and who better to speak on Judaism than an old white Catholic guy from Scranton? 

In his speech, Biden preached many inaccuracies and twisted versions of history. However, one rang out as particularly bold in its evil. 

About a third of the way through, Biden made a parallel between two events. He declared that the events of Oct. 7, 2023, were equal to the Shoah (or Holocaust) in their horror, hatred, and violence against the Jewish community. 

The events of last Oct. 7 were not an attack on Judaism. They were an attack against violent Zionist settlers who stole Palestinian land and waged a terror campaign against the Palestinian community, who the colonists themselves forced into Gaza and the West Bank. 

Many Jews live by a saying: Tikkun Olam. It is Hebrew for “heal the world.” My old rabbi opened every Friday evening or Saturday morning service with a discussion of Tikkun Olam. As a community, we asked ourselves, “How will we heal the world?” 

So it needs to be asked, how is the violent seizure of land from an Indigenous people healing the world? How are the armed Zionist settler militias that commit pogroms against the Palestinian community healing the world? How are the Zionist bombs that rain all over Gaza healing the world? 

The Jews who are staying true to the values of their community and the legacy of their ancestors’ struggles against fascism are the ones who now struggle against Zionist fascism. Those Jews are trying to heal the world. They are trying to heal the infected wound that is the state of “Israel.” 

So for Joe Biden to assert that resistance against vicious settlers, settlers who have really replaced their Judaism with a form of fascism, is not only an insult to living Jews but to all our ancestors who struggled against monarchism and fascism in Europe. 

Lucky for us, Genocide Joe did not stop there. He took it all one step further. When discussing the recent pro-Palestine protests and encampments at colleges across the United States, Biden again drew a comparison to the Shoah. 

Apparently, 19-year-olds protesting against apartheid are as serious a threat to the Jewish community as the policies of Hitler. This is a pretty wild comparison considering that 97% of pro-Palestine encampments did not even cause “serious damage,” according to a study by Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a nonprofit. 

The study analyzed 553 campus demonstrations between April 18 and May 3 of this year. It found that fewer than 20 resulted in any serious interpersonal violence or property damage. So, we are supposed to believe that several hundred relatively tame protests against apartheid are equivalent to the systematic industrialized murder of millions of Jews, Roma people, communists, LGBTQIA+ people, Slavs, and others? Really? 

Comparing the two is at best a trivialization of the Holocaust, and at worst – outright denial. 

Joe Biden’s speech didn’t have anything to do with antisemitism. It was just another despicable chapter in the propaganda war against the Palestinian liberation struggle disguised as an overture to the Jewish community. The spectacle was evil beyond evil, and not a word of it should be believed by Jews or anyone else. 

Free Palestine!

Lev Koufax is an anti-Zionist Jewish activist in Baltimore.

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