Major Jewish organization panned for defunding watchdog group exposing leftist antisemitism

The Combat Antisemitism Movement deleted its online video against woke-ism in an effort to woo back former supporters.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The largest Jewish umbrella group in the U.S. was charged last week with “betraying” the Jewish people for defunding an antisemitism watchdog after it released a video stating that the extreme Left promotes Jew hatred in the United States.

“This cowardly act demonstrates just how conflicted Jewish leadership is,” coexistence promoter Americans for Peace and Tolerance wrote in an action call to its members regarding the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) withdrawing support from the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).

“Jews are being defamed and besieged by the radical Left, especially on college campuses and in Congress,” the missive continued. “Yet, a major Jewish leader, representing the interests of an entire continent’s Jews, is trying to stop Jewish activists for speaking the truth about poisonous leftist ideology.”

“The Jewish establishment seems more loyal to progressive ideology than to the safety of Jews. By refusing to confront those growing elements in the Democratic Party that are turning against Israel, they reveal their true agenda and priorities: ‘Support the Left’ comes before ‘Save the Jews,’” the organization continued.

On Monday, the coexistence group’s head, Charles Jacob, blamed the fear of losing funding for the organization’s stance.

“The American Jewish establishment is just trapped,” Jacob told World Israel News. “They chose to be allied with the Democrats who are being overtaken by radical leftist woke ideology that is inherently anti-Jewish. Even a man like Fingerhut, who surely knows that woke antisemitism is very dangerous, decides that he cannot afford to lose his left-leaning donors who are themselves a bit woke.”

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), a national liberal public policy group, also withdrew its support, telling Jewish newspaper the Forward that the video, called “What is Woke Antisemitism?” was “deeply disturbing and concerning.”

Its CEO, Amy Spitalnick, seemed to question CAM’s claim of non-partisanship, saying, “The video didn’t come out of nowhere, and I’d like to understand what CAM will be doing moving forward.”

The clip explained that the basis of woke-ism is that “Successful groups are considered oppressors and less successful groups as oppressed victims. Unfortunately, this labeling has led to unfair vilification of successful groups, including Jews.”

The “binary” nature of its argument “often simplifies complex issues” such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and automatically categorizes Israelis as the oppressors, the video added.

Rejecting its claim that there is a connection between the rise of woke-ism and the increase in antisemitism in the U.S., the Forward’s article also criticized the three-minute video, saying that it was “unusual” to see condemnations of a progressive worldview — including a focus on systemic forms of discrimination in society — as a major cause of antisemitism.”

Many ultra-liberal Jewish organizations have been quick to point a finger at far-right groups that peddle antisemitic tropes, but do not call out the extreme left when it does the same.

Although CAM says it has some 700 partners in its fight against Jew hatred, the group backed down in the face of the two liberal groups’ opposition. It removed the three-minute video from YouTube and CAM head Sacha Roytman Dratwa told JTA that “We are reviewing the content to make something that will appeal to a broader audience.”