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 problem.
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 the “Jewbags.”
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