There is an old saw, with some truth in it, that in the days of enforced legal segregation Northeastern liberals accepted black social equality in theory while avoiding in practice most social interactions with African Americans, while Southern segregationists sometimes had friendly relationships with individual African Americans but bitterly rejected the idea of categorical black equality. In other words, Northeastern liberals accepted African Americans as a group but rejected them on an individual basis, while Southern segregationists took (at times) roughly the opposite approach.
That surely runs the risk of overstating the liberality of Southern social norms at the time. Some of that one-on-one amicability was no doubt conditioned on general white supremacy. But there is something to the observation. In 1960, nearly 21 percent of the population in the South was black, while the black population of Vermont was 0.1 percent. More than 40 percent of the residents of Mississippi in 1960 were black: You could be a bigot there, but it was hard to avoid social interactions with African Americans, which was not so in Minnesota, where less than 2 percent of the population was black.
I sometimes think of that distinction when people who justify anti-Israeli barbarism protest that they are not anti-Jew but anti-Zionist. I am sure that Rep. Rashida Tlaib would be happy to tell you that some of her best friends are Jews, and that may even be true. Anti-Zionists don’t hate Jews on a one-by-one basis—they hate them on a corporate basis—not as neighbors but as a nation.
I am not sure that is the high moral ground that the anti-Zionists think it is.