Congress took a sudden and bipartisan step toward preventing the Chinese Communist Party from collecting the personal information of millions of unsuspecting Americans. The House passed a bill directing the CCP-linked owner of TikTok to divest itself of the brand. An activist and former Democratic congressional nominee, repeating talking points bubbling up online, had two strange reactions to this news. One, it’s bad; two, it’s the Jews’ fault. And she was not even the most prominent voice raising this conspiracy theory.

Welcome to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for the social media age.

“Wow! I am f***ing SHOCKED that Dems are voting to ban Tik Tok,” exclaimed Florida’s Pamela Keith. “This is AIPAC at work.”

AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying firm, was not involved in any way. But when you’ve got “Jews on the brain,” there is no issue or event that doesn’t somehow have Jewish money behind it.

Yet Keith is an amateur at this compared to Briahna Joy Gray. The national press secretary for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign and cohost of The Hill’s video-news show has been one of the more successful figures of the left at pivoting to pro-Hamas propaganda full-time since Oct. 7. Whether she calls for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East out of a desire for online engagement or because she simply believes in the healing power of genocide is irrelevant to her audience, which laps it up. The same is true for her “rape trutherism” dismissing the widely documented sexual assault perpetrated by Palestinians on Oct. 7.

And it is also the case for her latest flash bomb of medieval delirium. “A foreign government is influencing the 2024 election,” Gray posted yesterday. “I’m not talking about China, but Israel. In a leaked recording, ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt admitted that Israel had a ‘TikTok problem.’ Suddenly, a divided congress agrees on one thing: A social media ban.”

We’ll come back to her misrepresentation of what Greenblatt said, because that’s also an important part of this story. Greenblatt is not Israeli, he is an American Jew—a fact that makes him automatically disloyal in Gray’s eyes.

The socialist magazine Jacobin took a slightly different approach, choosing instead to list Jews who object to TikTok’s prioritizing of authoritarian propaganda in its algorithm. To Jacobin, that this all is a Jewish conspiracy is obvious—just look at the Cohens and the Goldblooms and the Greenblatts who don’t like TikTok.

When supporters of the bill, like Rep. Dan Crenshaw, post their defenses of the bill online, the comments light up with accusations that even though Crenshaw didn’t mention Israel, he’s doing this for the Israelis. Some of those high-follower, high-reach accounts specifically mention the Greenblatt comments.

So what did Greenblatt say? In truth, this is a bit of a diversion, because the dual-loyalty implication from Gray and others would be every bit as anti-Semitic if she had relayed them accurately. But in the larger quote, Greenblatt actually makes an important point, so it’s worth highlighting. The part of the phone call these comments refer to are the following: “The number of young people who think that Hamas’s, you know, massacre was justified is shockingly and terrifyingly high. And so we really have a ‘TikTok problem,’ a ‘Gen Z problem,’ that our community needs to put the same brains that gave us Taglit, the same brains that gave us all these other amazing innovations, need to put our energy toward this fast… We’ve been chasing this left-right divide—it’s the wrong game. The real game is the next generation.”

The quote is very obviously making a point about a generational divide. Taglit is Birthright Israel, the popular program now a quarter-century old, founded by philanthropists Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman, centered on a free 10-day trip to Israel focused on strengthening Jewish identity among college-age Jews. It was not a strategy call about censorship; it was about finding ways to compete for the hearts and minds of that demographic.

The Jews are not trying to control you. They’re trying to have a conversation with you, or at the very least are just trying to go about their lives. China, a massively powerful counterweight to the democratic alliance, censors and manipulates speech in many ways, TikTok being one such tool of its authoritarian power projection.

Which leads us to an important conclusion. The people stirring the pot of incitement against Israel are doing so in China’s defense. The haters of the West and of the American-led world order also hate Israel, and vice versa. It helps to know where people stand.

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