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A Republican congresswoman from Florida representing one of America’s largest Jewish communities on Thursday claimed that all socialists are “anti-Jew,” even though there’s a long history of Jewish socialism within the US and beyond.
The comments, from Miami Beach-area representative Maria Elvira Salazar, came on Thursday, during a discussion on Fox News with host Ben Domenech.
The pair were discussing a recent article from Zack Beauchamp, a Vox writer and Jewish man himself, spotlighting the complex factors driving recent antisemitic attacks, with the headline “Violent antisemitism spiked in America during the Israel-Hamas war. And we don’t know why.”
“Vox may not know what it is but I have the answer — the answer is socialism,” Ms Salazar said, adding, “We have an immense problem in this country with this democratic socialism that some people within the Democratic Party are peddling to our youth. When you say socialism, you are talking about antisemitism in the same phrase, even though it might not be mentioned.”
According to experts, while there have been troubling recent incidents of antisemitic street violence in the US and elsewhere, data on the issue is incomplete and recent claims of huge “uptick” are more likely a reflection of increased public and media attention to the issue, rather than a genuine surge.
The representative continued: “You see it in Cuba, in Iran, in Venezuela, you see North Korea — everybody that is a socialist or a communist is anti-Jew.”
In fact, historically speaking, it’s quite the opposite. Jewish immigrants, especially in industrialised urban areas like New York City in the early 1900s, were extremely involved in labour organising and socialist politics, and plenty of Jewish people have remained active in progressive left-wing social movements since, forming a key bloc of support during the Civil Rights movement as well.
During the recent 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, international opinion took a marked turn against the Israeli state compared to previous conflicts, following the disproportionate toll the fighting took on Palestinian civilians.
Republican defenders of Israel frequently insist that criticisms of the Israeli state are synonymous with antisemitism more broadly, even though Israel is just one part of the political and geographically diverse global Jewish community.