So who’s more dangerous for the Jews right now, the far-left or the far-right?
After the violence at Charlottesville over the neo-Nazi rally, widespread fury was directed at President Donald Trump who was thought to have said the two were equivalent (which in fact he didn’t do).
I certainly don’t believe they are equivalent. The left is currently much more dangerous, not only to Jews but to the west in general.
You may need to lie down after reading that. For the prevalent Jewish view is that only far-right whites pose a serious danger.
Since all neo-Nazis and white supremacists are potentially lethal Jew-haters, many Jews think that all potentially lethal Jew-haters are neo-Nazis or white supremacists.
This is ludicrous, just as it is equally absurd to think Nazi slogans or symbols are only deployed by far-right whites. Last weekend, a man who threw a glass bottle at Jewish girls in Stamford Hill while shouting “Hitler is a good man; good he killed the Jews” was described by the police as a “light-skinned black male”.
More to the point, left-wing antisemitism is running at epidemic level. The Labour Party is convulsed by it.
Demonisation of Israel based on serial lies, double standards and a near-supernatural attribution of cosmic malevolence is the default position on the left.
Many Jews, though, believe Donald Trump is a neo-Nazi or at least a tacit supporter of white supremacism. The proof is supposed to be that, after Charlottesville, Trump was slow specifically to denounce white supremacists.
Well, maybe that was because he resented having to prove he didn’t support them — a requirement which tacitly assumed his racist guilt.
Ah, say Trump’s detractors, but the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke supports him. So guilty as charged!
Eh? Neo-Nazis and their ilk spout deranged, paranoid lies. Since when did anyone take what they say so seriously?
If, however, people are going to treat them as rational and damn anyone they say they support, then they must equally damn people on the left.
For David Duke has heaped praise on Jeremy Corbyn for battling the “Zionists”. According to the Elder of Zyon blog, the neo-Nazi Stormfront website has quoted the obsessively Israel-hating Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada sites more than 100 times each; it has quoted Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada more than 35 times, and Mondoweiss writer Max Blumenthal more than 80 times.
Both Blumenthal and Abunimah have written for the Guardian. Both demonise Israel in language almost indistinguishable from the rantings against Israel by David Duke.
By the left’s own lights, that makes Corbyn and the Guardian complicit with neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Unlike the left’s tactic of character assassination, however, this is not a wildly unfair smear by association.
For the left and far-right are bound by their mutual and fundamentally anti-Jewish pathological loathing of Israel. Cast your eyes over Duke’s vicious screed “Jewish Supremacy in Action”, and you could be reading a Guardian column by one of its regular Israel-bashing commentators.
This is surely why the left is going to such lengths to big up white supremacists. It is desperately inflating the threat posed by such people in order to deflect attention from its own dirty little secret: that, on this, it is hand-in-glove with the far right.
For the left’s Israel-hatred and Jew-baiting prejudices are on display virtually every day through the media, the arts, the universities, the trade unions, the churches and other institutions.
Of course neo-Nazis and their ilk pose a danger to Jews and other minorities, but their numbers are tiny. The immeasurably greater danger to everyone comes from the far-left and the Islamists — and from the broad left who ignore or sanitise what they do.
Unlike the far-right, the left controls the culture. It uses that power to deny its own Jew-hatred as well as Muslim antisemitism and religious aggression, and to defame and destroy those who call these out.
Ask the former Labour front-bencher Sarah Champion, who drew attention to the cultural identity of the overwhelmingly Pakistani Muslim child pimping gangs, or the Muslim Labour councillor Amina Lone who stuck up for her — both now punished by sacking and de-selection respectively. But hey, it’s the neo-Nazis who are the main threat to the Jews and to civilisation; right?
Melanie Phillips is a Times columnist