Antisemitism, Critical Race Theory, and the Hamas War

Nov 29, 2023

400 employees from thirty agencies in Biden Administration demand permanent ceasefire in Gaza

Greensboro, North Carolina – Wherever you find real or imagined oppression, critical theories are lurking in the background.  After Israel endured the single greatest terror attack against Jews since the Holocaust on October 7, their response was predictable: eradicate terrorist threats by removing the source. The outcry by many progressives has ignited latent antisemitism on campuses with signs reading “Queers for Palestine.” Multiple progressive groups link themselves to the anti-Israel bandwagon due to their shared ideological underpinnings.

According to Drs. Neil Shenvi and Patrick Sawyer, the connection to critical theory is evident. In their new book, Critical Dilemma: The Rise of Critical Theories and Social Justice Ideologies—Implications for the Church and Society (Harvest House), “Both queer theorists and most feminists believe that gender is socially constructed . . . produced by a patriarchal structure of society.” Men, or even countries, exercise their hegemonic powers to subjugate the powerless. For queer theorists and critical theorists, “issues of race, class, and age are inextricably linked to gender and sexuality,” say Shenvi and Sawyer.

Queer theory aims to destabilize or abolish all boundaries – even those of sovereign nations. As certain members of Congress called for “From the River to the Sea” cleansing of Israel, few onlookers know this means the eradication of Jewish people from their land. Genocide. This is a clearly stated piece of Hamas ideology – not cease fire, not co-existence, not peace.

Critical theory argues that racism (like classism) is normal, permanent, and pervasive. They claim there are interlocking systems of oppression that keep people down. They see the plight of the Palestinian people as part of a similar oppressive system used by Israel. Is it any wonder we are seeing so much Hamas-friendly conversation, to the point of overlooking the complexities of Israel’s position, or giving excuses for the evils perpetrated by Hamas?  According to the authors of Critical Dilemma, the goal is to dismantle power structures, eradicate inequities, and end systemic oppression.

“There are ideological aspects of the progressive response to the Israel-Hamas war,” according to Shenvi and Sawyer. “In fact, we’ve brought this topic up several times with respect to signs that say things like ‘Queers for Palestine’ or ‘Reproductive Justice Is Palestinian Justice.’” Understanding intersectionality and critical theory is crucial for understanding sentiments like these. There are, the authors note, ideological aspects to the Israel-Hamas war that mirror critical social justice and claim inequality is deeply embedded in the fabric of society. “There is no doubt whatsoever,” say the authors, “that the ideas associated with ‘wokeness’ flow out of the critical tradition.”


Don Otis | (719) 275-7775


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