Mairav Zonszein is an Israeli-American journalist who has covered Israeli politics for nearly a decade. A contributing editor for +972 Magazine, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. (March 2018)
As troubling in Trump’s statement as any echo of the old charge of dual loyalty was its implication that any Jew who doesn’t subscribe to his politics—to both the policies of his Republican Party and of the current Israeli government—is traitorous: if you are Jewish and vote Democratic, then you are triply disloyal—to Trump, Israel, and America. Making right-wing pro-Israel sentiment a litmus test of Jewishness, and anti-Israel sentiment the measure of anti-Semitism, misrecognizes the long history of Western anti-Semitism. The most dangerous long-term effect of the false accusations of anti-Semitism is that they will obscure and pervert people’s understanding of what actual anti-Semitism is and undermine the battle to combat it.
Like many in the ruling coalition, the Culture Minister Miri Regev is openly against the establishment of a Palestinian state and has proposed annexing parts of the West Bank. She curries favor well with voters, in part because she fuses her political agenda with her promise to upend the monopoly that Israel’s Ashkenazi elite has had on the country’s cultural establishment. While Regev’s tenure may not represent a permanent, more coercive and censorious change in how the arts are funded in Israel, she embodies the sea-change in Israeli society, from a country that downplayed its inequities and declining democratic norms, to one that flaunts them.