What Is Anti-Semitism: Hint, It’s Not About Israel

It used to be easy to know who an anti-Semite was.

He or she was someone who did not like Jews, wouldn’t hire Jews, wouldn’t socialize with Jews, and, at worst, would inflict physical harm against Jews because they were Jews.

That has all changed. Today an anti-Semite is someone who doesn’t like the State of Israel and sometimes merely someone who disagrees with the policies of the State of Israel.

These people can have friends who are Jews, have Jewish spouses and children and may never have entertained a negative thought about Jews, as Jews, in their lives.

On the other hand, there are people like Glenn Beck who openly dislike Jews, say awful things about Jews but are not deemed anti-Semites because they support the policies of Israel.

A Jewish Holocaust survivor who sailed to Gaza on a Turkish relief ship is an anti-Semite but a rightwing preacher like John Hagee who believes that all Jews must die to bring on a messianic age is not an anti-semite because he likes Israel and/or Netanyahu.

To put it simply, anti-Semitism today seems to mean nothing.

Of course, to real victims of anti-Semitism like those French kids in France who were killed because they are Jewish, it has meaning. To a child in the Midwest who is ridiculed for being Jewish it has meaning. To any Jews, anywhere, who face discrimination or ostracism because they are Jews, anti-Semitism has all too much meaning.

Unfortunately real anti-Semitism is of little interest to the “pro-Israel” organizations which give very little attention to it. They are only interested in what they call “the New Anti-Semitism” by which they mean contempt for the State of Israel.

Meanwhile one of the two major political parties in the United States has been taken over by Christian Rightists who would implement policies that would make us strangers in our own country.

Any Jew who lived 40 or 50 years ago wouldn’t think twice before understanding the threat the Christian Right poses to Jews, nor would they hesitate before understanding exactly who and what the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world are and the threat they pose.

But, hey, Rush and Beck and the others are okay because they “love Israel.” Who are they kidding? Not Jews. Just the Jewish organizations that since 1967 have decided that the well-being of Jews here is of little concern compared to Israel’s freedom to occupy the West Bank and Gaza, and threaten Iran.

They are wrong. Anti-Semitism is about disliking Jews. It is not about Israel. Even at its worst, hating Israel is not anti-Semitic, it is simply wrong and ugly. And it can be dealt with.

Just stop calling it something it isn’t and stop using the charge of anti-Semitism to prevent opposition to Israel”s policies. That is bullshit.

MJ Rosenberg



4 thoughts on “What Is Anti-Semitism: Hint, It’s Not About Israel

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