Anti-Semitism is a disgusting disease that has existed for thousands of years. This hatred against the Jewish people is entirely irrational and yet it rears its ugly head every century in a different form. And every single time, it has lead to expulsions, massacres, dispossession, and even genocide. One would think that 73 years after the Holocaust, the world would have learned its lessons but humans are stubborn and some of our most “liberal” and “compassionate” leaders proudly engage in anti-Semitism while claiming that they have Jewish friends who absolutely adore them.
Erm, these same people say that having a Black friend doesn’t automatically absolve you from racism…. Well, how is it they don’t follow their own advice?
Oh, right, they are anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. Never mind that Zionism simply means that Jews deserve a homeland (a safe space!) of their own after facing bigotry, pogroms, and the largest systematic genocide in modern history that happened in living memory. Perhaps, it is because Jew hatred is an acceptable form of hatred. After all, rationalization is everything and if they can get away with it while gaining valuable virtue signaling points by simply pressing the retweet button on Twitter, why not!
Don’t believe me? Take a look at these tweets from some of the wokest people alive.
I could go on and on. But it is so exhausting to do this. And while Tamika Mallory and her associates like Linda Sarsour try very hard to say they are against Israel as opposed to Jews, I don’t buy it. Farrakhan repeatedly uses words like satanic to describe Jews (not Israelis) and Tamika Mallory justifies it by saying something about having the same enemies as Jesus, invoking age-old blood libels that demonized Jews as killers of Christ. People like Trevor Noah straight up use the word ‘Jew’ in their vitriolic tweets and absolutely no one bats an eyelid.
Forgive me if I have trouble believing that the well-intentioned anti-Zionism of these people is anything but poorly-veiled hatefulness.
Secondly, Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. It was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War in which 6 million Jews were murdered in concentration camps. Throughout the years of the war, the world was divided into places where the Jews couldn’t stay and where they couldn’t go. Israel as we know it was partitioned out of Mandate Palestine for the surviving Jewish refugees because no one wanted them and no one knew what to do with them.
Of course, there is more to the story. The struggle for a safe haven dates back to the late 1800s and the Jewish connection to the Holy Land is thousands of years old but this article is not about that. The State of Israel was created in accordance with international law and that is a legal, undeniable fact.
To be explicitly clear, anti-Zionism is opposition to the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Criticism of Israel, pro-Palestine advocacy, and support for Palestinian human rights are not anti-Zionism. In fact, all these values are compatible with Zionism. In other words, anti-Zionism is the ideology that does not believe in Israel’s right to exist or one that calls for its destruction/dissolution.
A number of Zionists (including me) are advocating for an end to the blockade on Gaza, the demilitarization of Hamas, free and fair elections, and a negotiated two-state solution– with compensations and support for nation-building efforts and return of refugees to the newly formed Palestinian state. I and my fellow Zionists are also against many Israeli policies like settlement construction and detention of minors for offenses like rock throwing. Disagreement with these policies and advocating for reform is not problematic… unless one believes that the only solution to these issues is dismantling and erasing the Jewish state which was founded in 1948.
Fast forward 70 years, the world has moved on. But anti-Semitism is alive and well. While it was once largely a right-wing problem, today it has visibly infected the progressive movement and its feminist appendage, Intersectionality. If you’re reading this blog, you are probably a leftist too. Right-wingers don’t read this blog because it is run by a Queer, Brown, Immigrant Woman Snowflake.
This particular blogpost is not about Zionism but generally, even though not all anti-Zionists are anti-Semites, most anti-Zionism crosses over into Anti-Semitic territory. You may think you’re a wonderful, enlightened peace activist who loves justice but you are unfortunately an anti-Semite if–
- You think Jews “talk too much” about the Holocaust, that it was a long time ago, and that playing the “Holocaust Card” (Whatever that means ?!?) is somehow “below the belt.”
- You think the Holocaust didn’t happen or that its numbers were exaggerated.
- You think you (as a non-Jewish person) have the right to define what Judaism is or isn’t for Jewish people.
- You think you have the right to hold an opinion about what the Jewish people should have done during or in the aftermath of the Holocaust instead of going to what is today the State of Israel. (This is important because a “progressive” anti-Zionist feminist once said to me that European Jews should have accepted the Madagascar plan of the Nazis. Like seriously?)
- You think it is okay to compare Israel with Nazi Germany. I cannot emphasize this point enough. If you think the State of Israel is anything like Nazi Germany, you’re either an ignorant twit who never opened a history book or a proud bigot who knows s/he can get away with anti-Semitism because the likes of Sarsour and Mallory do.
- You think you can ever start a sentence by saying “Jews, of all people, should know better….” especially when referring to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
- You think Jewish people have too much influence and/or they control the banks, media, tech etc.
- You believe the Rothschild family is the source of all evil in the world and that American Jews in NYC were told to stay home on 9/11 (A teacher in college actually said this based on a “story” by Al Jazeera).
- You think it is okay to randomly ask a Jewish person about what they think of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
- You think “PEP (Progressive Except Palestine)” is actually a thing.
- You think anti-Semitism is somehow not as bad as other hateful ideologies and that you can define it better than the Jews even though you otherwise believe oppressed groups should be allowed to speak for themselves. For instance, only People of Color should get to define racism and only Muslims should get to define Islamophobia.
- You believe the only correct/valid Jewish viewpoints come from organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, and the Neturei Karta. Everyone else is a colonizer, Uncle Tom, thief, murderer, baby killer etc. etc.
- You think you (as a non-Israeli, non-Jew, and/or non-Palestinian) have the right to dictate what kind of solution should be implemented in the Middle East. While it is okay for you to analyze the situation as an outsider and have an opinion on it, the solution ultimately has to come from the Israelis and the Palestinians because it is their shared land and they have to live in it as brothers or as neighbors. You can support peace in the region only by encouraging the two sides to come to the negotiating table and talk. Furthermore, abusing diaspora Jews– most of whom are Zionists– for supporting Israel is not going to help your cause. So if you can’t have a discussion with them without accusing them of mass infanticide by association, just don’t open your mouth at all. Speech is often silver but bigoted speech is always rust and rot.
There you have it– The Leftist’s Guide to Anti-Semitism. Use it wisely. Don’t be a prick.
Disclaimer: The author of this blog is a poor freelance journalist who is NOT on the payroll of any Zionist cabal. She does not own a Hasbara handbook because she has no more space on her bookshelf or her Kindle. She is also not Jewish and is not dating a Jew (or anyone else for that matter!). If you’re not an anti-Semite (or any other kind of bigot), feel free to ask her out for coffee or lunch or even a picnic. She likes dogs, Star Trek, and hummus. She also cooks.
This blogpost is intended for gentiles who want to be better allies to Jewish people in their fight against anti-Semitism. The meaning and nature of Zionism is a debated issue within the Jewish community as well but this article is not about that internal dialogue and discussion. This piece simply addresses how well meaning but uninformed gentile activists can get sucked into anti-Semitism just because certain elements on the left have normalized it in the garb of anti-Zionism.
Additionally, if you really want to get involved with concrete and productive discussion about the Israel-Palestine conflict, look into organizations like T’ruah, Rabbis For Human Rights, J Street, New Israel Fund, and Magen David Adom. There are a number of other such organizations that are working to end the conflict in a non-violent, peaceful way through dialogue and civil society initiatives. Many of these organizations are campaigning for a negotiated two-state solution which would lead to stability and prosperity for both Israel and Palestine. It is easy to find these groups through a simple Google search.