The Coalition of the Erased
An unparalleled opportunity to turn the tables on antisemitism and illiberalism
This paper summarizes Reut’s suggested approach to address the current rise of illiberalism in the US. This approach is focused on forming alliances with disempowered minority groups, based on the large similarity and overlap between the bias and prejudice they are suffering from, and the rise of antisemitism and Jewish erasure. This approach emphasizes the unparalleled opportunity to leverage the Abraham Accords in order to form new partnerships with Muslim communities
A strategy to overcome the Red-Green Alliance threat, developed by the Reut Group, an Israeli non-profit policy think-and-do tank (for the full document, click here).
A “Red-Green Alliance” has emerged between American Islamists and radical progressive groups, threatening both American Jews and Muslims with erasure.
This Alliance pretends to fight for justice on behalf of disempowered minority groups, but instead promotes illiberalism by shoehorning entire populations into a Manichaean binary of “oppressor” and “oppressed”.
Progressives who frame American Jews as white, privileged oppressors erase Jewish identity and struggles, trivializing antisemitism and making them poor allies amid skyrocketing incidents of antisemitic hate.
American Jews face antisemitism from across the political spectrum, but Jews on the Left are frequently forced to choose between their identity and their politics.
American Muslims attempt to avoid association with radical Islamist organizations that represent a minority but pretend to speak for their entire community.
The Abraham Accords provide a unique opportunity to mobilize American Jews, Muslims, and other minority groups from the Arab world in a centrist coalition that prioritizes shared values over historical enmity and empowers its members to define themselves and their own struggles.
Making the case that illiberalism is a threat to everyone, regardless of faith or political affiliation, and that forming diverse and nontraditional coalitions is an effective tool to combat polarization.
Following is a summary of Reut’s latest report: Strategies to Counter the Red-Green Alliance in the US
(for the full document, click here).
Reductionist identity politics has not been kind to Jews. Social justice organizations that exist to advocate for the rights of minority groups tend to view Jews as white and privileged – on the wrong side of the “oppressor/oppressed” binary, and therefore undeserving of protection. That categorization erases the unique Jewish identity and culture, robbing Jews of the right to define not only themselves but also antisemitism.
For a population that makes up around two percent of America but is the target of more than 60 percent of its religiously motivated hate crimes, that’s a problem.
American Jews, while frequently critical of Israeli policy, feel broadly supportive of, and connected to, the Jewish State. While Jews tend to be liberal, their position on Israel can alienate them from other progressives as they attempt to redefine Israel as a European colonial enterprise that engages in racial apartheid.
This extreme perspective has gained representation in Congress, and although it has yet to penetrate mainstream politics, that is its goal. While right-wing antisemitism is usually overt, left-wing antisemitism can come cloaked in the language of equity. Its subtlety makes it no less threatening, however; while most people would object to a swastika, fewer understand how dangerous efforts to delegitimize Israel and Jewish identity are.
In pushing that agenda, many progressive groups have found common cause with Islamist organizations, forming a coalition referred to as the Red-Green Alliance. A concept imported from Europe, the Red is associated with Socialist parties while the Green refers to Islamists. While this Islamist-Progressive axis may seem strange given the two groups’ vastly differing views on other issues, it provides an example of how even seemingly opposed entities can unite around the right goal.
The recently signed Abraham Accords demonstrate such unity at an international level. As part of the decades-long process of normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the US helped negotiate peace among Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Morocco, and Israel. Aside from facilitating security and economic cooperation, they were a public declaration that the decades-old enmity between Arab states and Israel is worth setting aside in favor of shared prosperity and security.
We see an opportunity to leverage the Accords to build coalitions in America around the same values. Jews are not the only victims of the Red-Green Alliance’s campaign of erasure; the large majority of American Muslims who are not Islamists and who reject the progressives’ oppression binary have found themselves underrepresented in the public discourse, too often defined by the most extreme Muslim organizations. This presents an opportunity for both communities to overcome their traditionally strained relationship and unite for the right to define themselves and their struggles. While the Red-Green Alliance is united by opposition to Israel, the Coalition of the Erased can come together around common values: liberalism, pluralism, and a commitment to the right to define oneself.
COALITION OF THE ERASED
The Abraham Accords present an opportunity to generate new partnerships and a new form of grassroots activism. American Jews and Muslims must stand together to reject the reductive classifications that label people as either victims or villains, and promote nuanced, good-faith conversations of identity and politics.
This will involve turning a grand-scale diplomatic achievement into people-to-people connections. The Coalition will look for opportunities to foster productive dialogue among communities, including on campuses and social media platforms.
Ultimately, forming the Coalition of the Erased requires us to elevate moderate voices and refuse to let fringe groups dominate the conversation. It requires engaging members of each tradition who have historically been excluded, including ethnic and national minorities. Most of all, it requires a willingness to prioritize security and prosperity over historical grievance – just as displayed by the parties to the Abraham Accords.
Reut is an Israeli think and do tank that works to ensure the prosperity and resilience of Israel and the Jewish world. We believe that existing at the focal point of both Jewish/Muslim conflict and cooperation gives us a unique and practical perspective on how to resolve such conflicts and promote cooperation elsewhere. To examine this issue in greater depth, please see our latest report: Strategies to Counter the Red-Green Alliance in the US.
First Quarterly Report - mapping the Jewish Peoplehood field in Israel
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