This weekend, prominent Jewish artist and activist Eli Valley became the latest person to be named the “Antisemite of the Week” by Stop Antisemitism.
Stop Antisemitism describes itself as part of a nonprofit foundation that’s committed to exposing anti-Semitism and “holding anti-Semites accountable.”
Critics say it’s actually an astroturfed organization that’s part of a loosely affiliated network of right-wing Jews who give cover to conservatives’ alliances with the racist far-right. They believe that its attempts to discredit people like Valley, who criticize Israeli policy, are part of a war of ideas that has pitted the minority of Jews who are conservative—one in six, according to a Gallup poll—and who have attained outsize influence during the Trump era against the overwhelming majority who are not.
In response to emailed questions yesterday afternoon, Liora Rez of Stop Antisemitism asked for the Daily Dot’s web address. Rez did not respond further after a reporter provided the URL.
Mazal Tov to our Antisemite of the Week- @elivalley!
Often praised by David Duke, Valley is known for his sickening cartoons that often target women and fellow Jews.
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) December 15, 2019
Valley scoffs at the accusation of anti-Semitism. He’s been labeled such before, most memorably by Meghan McCain. Being trolled comes with the territory of being an artist who creates provocative satirical cartoons, and an activist whose work includes being arrested earlier this year protesting the Trump administration’s concentration camps at the border.
“It’s more preposterous in the current era, when we’re dealing with an administration that refuses to fire Stephen Miller after a report comes out that he’s basically a Nazi,” Valley told the Daily Dot.
In the photo Stop Antisemitism included in its post, which photographer Gili Getz says is his copyrighted work that it didn’t have permission to use, Valley is being arrested while protesting Republicans’ failure to denounce white supremacy in the wake of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting.
Personally I think it's excellent these Nazi-allied scum are using a photo of my 2018 arrest at the Met GOP Club after the Pittsburgh Pogrom. Evidence of my hatred of Jews = protesting Nazis in the aftermath of a Nazi's antisemitic massacre.https://t.co/HsEY4OHT0A
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) December 15, 2019
The idea of a Jewish person being accused of anti-Semitism, particularly an activist like Valley, may seem counterintuitive. But many believe the episode is emblematic of a conflict playing out where conservative Jews increasingly accuse liberal Jews of anti-Semitism and otherwise attempt to silence their criticisms of Israel, extremist Jewish Zionists and Trump Republicans. Stop Antisemitism has named a handful of Jewish people its “Antisemite of the Week.”
“They demonize Jews and Muslims who have the audacity to oppose both what Israel is doing and what Trump is doing,” Valley said.
Excited to be presenting my work at George Washington University on Thursday! Thank you to these despicable dipshits casting anti-fascist Jewish art as “antisemitism” for publicizing it: https://t.co/JTMItqg0Sz
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) December 2, 2019
A representative from Jewish Worker, who asked not to be named for their protection, told the Daily Dot that far-right extremist Jews have been making common cause with “softer edge white supremacists” for years. Valley separately said they’ve been “carrying water for real anti-Semites that are shooting up synagogues.”
More recently, they say, this has increasingly included falsely equating criticisms of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism, based on the belief that anything Israel does is sacrosanct and beyond reproach. Some believe this explains why Jews like Ben Shapiro, Laura Loomer, and Stephen Miller are willing to align themselves with a Republican party that today seems content to count avowed white supremacists among its base.
“Nobody in mainstream political discourse has paid attention to this…” the representative from Jewish Worker said. “[They’re] trying to delegitimize American Jews who oppose their positions by turning us all into anti-Semites.”
Yesterday, Stop Antisemitism published a 120-page paper on the subject, “The New Anti-Semites.” Endorsed by roughly two dozen organizations, the paper, which Stop Antisemitism coauthored, argues that online anti-Semitism and “Israel-based online anti-Semitism” are so closely linked as to essentially be synonymous forms of hate speech, and seems to state the case for censoring both.
“Under the guise of legitimate concern for Palestinian human rights, leaders of the delegitimization campaign have found fertile ground on social media, college campuses, among social justice groups and in the most influential international bodies to promote their anti-Israel agenda,” it states. “As a result, individuals, albeit sometimes unknowingly, are used as pawns to promote hate and to lend legitimacy to what is, in fact, a radical anti-Semitic movement.”
The report claims that the intention of the speaker who criticizes Israel may be irrelevant, and that if others commit reprehensible acts against Jews based on their statements, the speaker may be to blame.
Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, tweeted that this argument is intended to justify curtailing free speech.
As I have been saying over & over now for the past 3 years: pay attention to what these people are saying.
They are telling you their plans.
They mean it.
And when they come for your free speech, don’t say you weren’t warned.
— Lara Friedman🔥 (@LaraFriedmanDC) December 16, 2019
In the much-read thread, Friedman noted the report’s “remarkable” timing, “days after Trump’s [Executive Order]” making Title VI of the Civil Rights Act apply to anti-Semitic acts, which free speech advocates worry will have a chilling effect on criticisms of Israeli policy on college campuses.
Taken in the context of Valley’s many cartoons critical of Zionists like McCain and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Stop Antisemitism’s effort to potentially silence or deplatform him makes sense.
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) May 21, 2019
As Friedman and others point out, the Merona Foundation backs many of the report’s endorsers. Merona Foundation president Gila Milstein is married to Adam Milstein, who’s spent millions “to stifle pro-Palestinian sentiment and attack critics of Israeli policy,” according to the Intercept. Valley is among those who’ve claimed that there’s a link between Adam Milstein and Stop Antisemitism.
Adam Milstein has accused Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) of being a “terrorist” and questioned her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Mich.) loyalty to the United States in a tweet falsely accusing them of being representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both congresswomen have also been named Antisemite of the Week by Stop Antisemitism. So have undeniable racists David Duke, Nicholas Fuentes, and Richard Spencer.
The Muslim Brotherhood is now part of Congress. New Reps. like @IlhanMN @RashidaTlaib are known as #AntiSemitic and Anti #Israel. Moreover, they both are representatives of #CAIR and #MuslimBrotherhood and their values clash with American values https://t.co/WsDcMie4z1 pic.twitter.com/M8MbOEAuob
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) March 18, 2019
In 2017, Milstein suggested that it was time to “go on the offense” to defeat Palestinian sympathizers like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that criticizes Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands, illegal settlements, and denial of Palestinian refugee rights. “We should teach them that anyone that attacks us, there is a price, there is accountability. We need to go on the attack,” he said
This, it seems, is precisely the playbook that Stop Antisemitism used when it named a satirical Jewish cartoonist its Antisemite of the Week.
“Any support for Palestinian rights equates to genocidal hatred for Jews,” Valley said. “…Their end-goal is to criminalize pro-Palestinian sentiment in America.”