The Woke-Hamas Alliance is Real — And Seeks Our Elimination

Tens of thousands of people rally in Melbourne, Australia, in solidarity with the Palestinian people amid war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, Oct. 15, 2023. Credit: Matt Hrkac from Mel via Wikimedia Commons.

by Jarrod Tanny

(JNS) — We’ve all read enough. We’re exhausted. Yet the war against the Jews is only getting worse. So it needs to be said outright: The woke-Hamas alliance in the academy and in social justice circles is real. I will illustrate this through three examples from recent weeks and then briefly explain how this is possible and how such a vision of social justice in the United States can lead to a war against “global Jewish supremacy.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words then I give you a Tweet that’s worth a million, issued from Black Lives Matter Chicago.

For BLM Chicago “Free Palestine” means supporting Hamas’s murder of 1,200 Jews, including the decapitation and butchering of women and babies, a goal espoused in their 1988 Islamist genocidal charter. BLM Chicago’s endorsement of Jewish genocide is made abundantly clear with their image of the Hamas paraglider, the method by which many of the terrorists crossed into Israeli territory on Oct. 7.

One Cornell professor seems to concur. Dr. Russell Rickford, who specializes in African-American political culture after World War II, the Black Radical Tradition and transnational social movements declared at a pro-Palestinian rally on Oct. 15 that:

“Hamas has challenged the monopoly of violence. And in those first few hours, even as horrific acts were being carried out, many of which we would not learn about until later, there are many Gazans of good will, many Palestinians of conscience, who abhor violence, as do you, as do I. Who abhor the targeting of civilians, as do you, as do I… Who were able to breathe, they were able to breathe for the first time in years. It was exhilarating. It was energizing. And if they weren’t exhilarated by this challenge to the monopoly of violence, by this shifting of the balance of power, then they would not be human. I was exhilarated.”

Dear Professor Rickford, if you were exhilarated by the butchering of children then you do not abhor violence. You seem to enjoy it. Against Jews at least.

Both BLM Chicago and Rickford later apologized, but only because of massive pushback.

In a similar gesture of violence toward Jews, a tweet from UC Davis American Studies Professor Jemma Decristo blatantly invites violence toward “Zionist” (Jewish) journalists and their families.

Decristo does not merely endorse Hamas. She wants to bring their terrorism to American soil. She is enjoining her followers to hunt down “Zionist journalists” (I suppose that includes me as I am a Zionist exposing antisemitism in the press) and their kids in their schools. That she ends her tweet with a knife, an ax and blood emojis leaves little doubt she is calling for the mass murder of Jewish children.

Remarkably, she is still employed, but under investigation. I fail to understand why her threats of violence have not put her in jail.

Decristo’s academic work focuses on music, race and gender, particularly regarding black musical traditions and artists, which hardly makes her an expert on Middle Eastern affairs and Jewish history.

Why are BLM activists and professors of African-American studies apparently supporting Hamas? Why do they consider Israel so evil that it allows them to prioritize the murder of Jews?

The answer lies in intersectionalist social justice, what I will call the theology of wokeness, because it is far more an infallible fundamentalist religion than a model of scholarly analysis. They found the Truth, and the Truth has engendered the woke-Hamas alliance in the academy and in the public sphere.

Intersectionalist social justice today posits that all oppressions are linked. If you are for the liberation of one victimized people, be it African Americans or Latino/a immigrants, then you must support the liberation of all peoples wherever they may be. However, if you are a Zionist, then you must support Palestinian oppression and, it follows, you cannot support justice for African Americans. If this sounds simplistic to you then you are paying attention, because they have constructed a simplistic theology based, like many theologies, on a binary, and which involves an eschatological battle between good and evil.

Writing in the Jewish Journal, Monica Osborne tracks the evolution of intersectionality from a useful and legitimate lens for theorizing the multiple layers of oppression to a crude political cudgel that is now weaponized to target groups deemed excessively and unjustifiably powerful, regardless of the historical and cultural context.

Osborne maintains that “intersectionality suddenly became a weapon to be used against anyone who has a connection to Israel or is sympathetic with its existence — and that meant Jews, all of them, even the ones who are highly critical of Israeli policies because, in the intersectionality war, identity trumps ethical intention.”

But the logic of intersectionalist social justice goes far beyond the conflation of Jews with Israel. Global Jewry is stereotyped as privileged, and undeservedly privileged at that. Jews are by definition oppressors in the West as well and, accordingly, the left has woven them into their theology of social justice.

As David Bernstein writes in “Woke Antisemitism,” “Woke ideology insists that Jews not only benefit from white domination but also are complicit in it. It demands that we declare ourselves white because the power structure — the ideology tells us — thinks of us that way: we took advantage of the privileges and opportunity whiteness afforded us, so now we must acknowledge and disavow those attendant privileges. By accepting the notion that Jews are white, we not only downplay antisemitism (‘white people cannot really be victims’), we allow others to define us and impose upon us a pseudo-consciousness, and we denigrate and erase the unique qualities endowed by our heritage and the Jewish condition through the ages.”

All premises stemming from this model are inherently flawed. And these flaws have fueled a resurgence of antisemitism in the United States today, justifying the celebration of violent “Palestine liberation” on campuses coupled with a witch hunt for the proponents of Jewish supremacy. This is how the “powerless” shall be freed. This explains why BLM Chicago can celebrate decapitating babies; this explains why a Cornell professor can find terrorism against Jews exhilarating; this explains why a professor of African-American music and art wants her followers to hunt and kill Jewish children in America.

I fully support the idea that black lives matter as a principle and an objective insofar as its agenda is to create a more secure, prosperous future for black Americans after centuries of slavery, segregation and white supremacist terror. That I even need to state this in writing is absurd. But I do need to state it, lest I be branded a “racist,” a “fascist,” a “Jewish supremacist” who is “targeting people of color.”

People can vilify me however they see fit, but I remain firm in my convictions: When Jewish security is threatened by a domestic allegedly social justice movement, then I stand with my people and will not remain silent. Nobody has the right to target me, my family and my friends because we are “Zionists,” because their ideology — their religion — posits that the liberation of Palestine and the attendant murder of Jews is necessary for their own liberation on American soil.

It should go without saying that there are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both with layers of complexity. But the woke have simplified this conflict into a simple binary; they see only colonizers (Jews) and victims (Palestinians). The former commit genocide, and the latter have had no historical agency in shaping their current predicament. And, according to this equation, because the Palestinians have been historically oppressed, they cannot be held accountable for their terrorism: It cannot be their fault.

Understanding an ethno-national conflict is beyond the intellectual horizon of intersectional social justice warriors. They refuse to see past an ahistorical, American-centered, oppressor-victim binary. I have no interest in arguing whether or not their framework is useful for understanding the history of race in America since it is not my academic field. But I will state with certainty that it has no applicability when it comes to understanding Jews, Israelis or Palestinians. Labeling Israelis (and all Jews in many cases) “white oppressors” and Palestinians “brown victims” needs to be outed for what it is: garbage couched in academic jargon.

If such garbage is being taught in the classroom, then the professors in question are brainwashing our children. They are teaching students to hate Jews because their methodological framework paints the Jew as a global threat and Israel as the embodiment of this genocidal supremacist agenda.

Jewish lives matter, at least they do to me. But it has become abundantly clear that they no longer matter in the academy. I cannot imagine this happening to any other minority community that simply wishes to live with dignity and to support its ancestral homeland as an independent state, recognized by the United Nations since 1948.

And yet again, the discipline of Jewish Studies has largely either remained silent or indulged these activists by stating that “terrorism is evil, however… genocide and Jewish supremacy.” The harassment of Jews on college campuses does not seem to trouble most faculty in Jewish Studies programs. Perhaps this is why we have seen very little condemnation of Hamas atrocities or celebrations. Jewish Studies faculty are compelled to go along with the logic of social justice, even if it means the demise of their people.

Perhaps this is why a recent statement claiming to speak on behalf of Jewish Studies faculty insists that “Many of us have spent our academic careers fearful of the consequences we may face for criticizing the Israeli state and Zionism. The bloodshed over the 18 days — all entirely preventable — is a direct consequence of our silence.” In their own words, Jewish Studies scholars claim responsibility for Israeli “genocide.” In other words, the massacre of innocent Israeli men, women, children and babies is the fault of Jews. Perhaps this is why professor Jemma Decristo believes that calling for our murder is justifiable.

The woke-Hamas alliance is real. And it seeks our elimination.

Originally published by The Jewish Journal. Jarrod Tanny is a Canadian American professor of history and Charles and Hannah Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.