Antisemitism is hate and hostility towards Jews. It’s racism. It’s been around for thousands of years, (because Jews have been around for thousands of years) but based on current events, antisemitism is growing in the US and in Europe, which is scary AF because less than 100 years ago, Hitler and the Nazis killed six million innocent Jewish men, women and children. So yeah, we’ve been here before.
They believe whatever contradictions are necessary for them to hate Jews. The “facts” come second. Dig into antisemitism and you’ll hear that Jews are shadowy, well-connected, capitalistic money-grubbing overlords, fragmenting civilization from above. Maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll throw in something about killing Christ. But on the other hand, if you ask Louis Farrakhan, Jews are termites and lowlife scum. Do you see this nonsense? Could the haters at least make up their minds? Are Jews all powerful and running the world or are they termites? Seems hard to be both (but idiocy is like that).In the past century, a lot of the fixation from antisemites is focused on identity. A typical antisemitic trope is to question whether Jews have dual loyalty. This is absurd…like we know plenty of Irish Americans who love Ireland. Plenty of Egyptian Americans who love Egypt. And yes, there are plenty of Jewish Americans who love Israel. By the way, this accusing Jews of dual loyalty has been around before the foundation of Israel. The particulars don’t matter; they’ll throw in anything to justify their prejudice.
Ironically, the stereotype of Jews and money is rooted in historical oppression. Jews weren’t allowed to own land, and, in some countries, were forced to be tax collectors. The stereotype of Jews being smarter than other people has similar origins; Jews weren’t allowed to own land, so manual labor was phased out for more literacy-dependent occupations. So, that’s where the Jewish doctors, lawyers and accountants come in.
There are some who feel like Jews being the Chosen People is a reason to hate them. Like, they feel like they are better than everyone else. Sometimes as recipients of all of that antisemitism, it’s easy to wonder what we were chosen for, if you even believe that. Feels like we were chosen to take a lot of ridicule and hate.
Now, don’t forget, you are reading this information on JewBelong and clearly, we are not hiding our Judaism. But we do want to add a little bit of light into this very depressing subject, and that is that Jews really are quite amazing. We are not the only people who are amazing, but we are fabulous. We constitute less than .02% of the entire people in the world, yet for such a small people, our contributions are enormous. We do indeed punch far above our weight and are an important group of people who have overcome insanely difficult odds to make the achievements we do, both to the Jewish community and to every community in which we live.
If you’re Jewish, you need to know what is going on around you. People have died because of antisemitism; not just in the decades and centuries past but today, measured in weeks and months. You need to know about it to be prepared and capable; ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power. Sadly, all you need to do is read your news feed and you will see something about antisemitism. It is crucial that people talk about antisemitism and call it out every chance they get. There are hundreds of books written about the Holocaust and it is easy to wonder how people living in France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Greece…all civilized societies, could stand by, or worse, help round up their neighbors and watch as they were taken away and killed. Do we think it could happen again? Yes.
The stereotypes of Jews having particular social convictions is more often than not backwards-engineered; there are enough different Jews to cherry-pick a consensus of “what Jews think.” That’s absurd; we can’t even decide on what to get for dinner. Interestingly enough, there is an outcry about Jews liking Trump. The truth is, most Jews in the US are progressive and about 70% vote Democratic. But overall, Jews are just people, like anyone else. There are Jewish doctors and janitors, felons and heroes.
So, intersectionality, a word that most of us never heard before a couple of years ago, has come on the scene in a big way as a buzzword in a multitude of progressive conversations. The definition, literally from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism and classism) combine, overlap or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.” So yeah, if someone is feeling discriminated against because they are Latino, it might be the same crappy feeling that someone feels when they are discriminated against because they are gay. And if these types of small marginalized groups work together, then they are stronger. All of this is logical until you start to cherry pick which marginalized groups you don’t like, then you’re being just as bigoted as the people you claim are oppressing you. So, Jews, who have been marginalized and oppressed for literally centuries have actually found a modicum of success and acceptance (this acceptance has been going on since the end of WWII) and are now being marginalized for their a) whiteness, b) success, c) support for Israel. It is completely fucked up that Jews, who have been champions of social justice and equal rights, (think Jewish freedom fighters and Martin Luther King) are being discriminated against, but unfortunately, that is the world we live in.
Our rule of thumb on antisemitism and the State of Israel goes as follows: If somebody’s opposition to specific Israeli laws or government policies is based on moral concern and political specifics, and if they are passionately interested in the human well-being of all concerned, then they are in the clear. Afterall, most Israelis have some beef with their government’s policies just like most Americans do with many American policies. But if someone is upset with living conditions for a Palestinian in an Arab village in the West Bank, but they don’t bother to educate themselves about the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are living (and being killed) in far worse conditions in Syria and Iran, then, yup…that sounds like an absurd double standard placed on Israel, which seems antisemitic to us.
So…here it is in a nutshell. Since the early 1900’s in the US, the far-right wing antisemites have not tried to hide their feelings. Hell, just the other day they marched through Charlottesville screaming “Jews will not replace us!” at the top of their lungs. They hate the Jews. They shave their heads and paint swastikas and well, they make life really miserable for themselves and a lot of other people. By the way, they also hate black people, brown people, everyone else who doesn’t look like them. (This begs the question as to why all minorities don’t work together to beat out the far-right haters.) Bottom line, the hate from the far right is loud and clear.
The hate from the left, however, is different. Because this group identifies as progressive, they deny being antisemitic, even though they have many convoluted reasons as to why Israel is bad. Usually antisemitism on the left takes shots at Israel or, it makes the claim that most Jews are white and rich, and therefore, can’t understand the pain of being a minority. By the way, although most Jews in the US are indeed white (not rich, but white), half of the Jews in Israel are Mizrahi and come from Arab countries, and they are not white. This fact doesn’t jive with the left view of the rich white Jews, so they ignore it.
Remember as a kid, there’d always be smug weirdos doing shit like holding their hands righhhhhht in front of your face, and saying “what, I’m not touchhhhhhing you!” when you complained?
Anyway, Holocaust denial follows that framework. They weasel in with some “I’m just asking quesssssssstions!” half-assery, over and over, until they slip in past some exasperated person. Don’t be fooled. The Holocaust denier doesn’t deny the Holocaust, just like Flat Earthers don’t deny the earth is round. Both groups want an entry point to spin a wild, vast conspiracy to encourage a fringe paranoia. The only difference is Holocaust denial is fundamentally evil.
A good illustration to remember is that the Holocaust denier never denies that he likes the Holocaust; his more likely stance is that “The Holocaust never happened, but if it did, it was good, and I hope it happens again, but it didn’t.”
Sure; you can argue with a pile of dog-shit, but it’ll stay there. Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher, wrote in Anti-Semite and Jew, that “the antisemite has chosen hate because hate is a faith.” And, like in any faith, its zealots and practitioners cannot be moved by logic, facts, or good-faith argument.
The antisemite, therefore, cannot be argued with as an individual. You will never win over a committed antisemite, because they have chosen their conviction: to betray it would be to betray themselves. They have chosen a lonely, hateful conspiracy in which nothing else is to be trusted. This does not mean the antisemite cannot go unchallenged. They should be given no quarter in any arena, and, furthermore, no respect. They are not serious people, intellectually or emotionally.
There are probably more answers, (please contact us to let us know yours) but here are the ones we live and practice.
1.Call it out. When you sense that someone is being antisemitic, they probably are. Call it the fuck out. Do not let people get away with it. Yes, this is scary, but it’s important. I mean, obviously pick your battles and don’t get hurt, but don’t pretend you didn’t hear something antisemitic and let people get away with terrible stuff.
2.Educate yourself. The facts never help antisemites. So, it’s always a good idea to read history, as well as the current news, and understand. That way, whether you are ever called upon to educate someone else or you simply want to know more yourself, you will be ready.
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