In May 2016, when working as a director in a European Jewish NGO, I was invited by the Peace Research Foundation to participate in the “Indispensable peace between Israel and Palestine” seminar. It was a high-level 2-day cycle of debate where representatives of both parties (Israel-Palestine) would converse with a mediator. The event was bastardly born from the beginning, the Israeli Embassy in Spain had to ask us if we could send any of our members to replace the diplomatic staff, after the Peace Research Foundation decided to invite Israeli diplomats on Friday and Saturday, during Shabbat. An invitation outrightly rejected due to the Foundation’s refusal to change the event’s date and the obscenity of expecting Jews to desecrate the holiest day of the week. One of our members decided to take matters into his own hands and act as the Israeli spokesperson, and I decided to support him.
After handshakes and smiles, the event began immediately with the managers of the Foundation warning the hundreds of spectators, that they had no idea why the Israeli side had refused to participate in a debate for peace. The two days of deliberation from the “Palestinian diplomatic” side were loaded with historical inversions and lies such as “apartheid”, “ethnic cleansing”, “murder of children”, “torture of women”, “human caging” and even delusions such as that Jews consider Gentiles as pigs and apes. All this always with the infamous false map of the “before and after” supposed appropriation of Palestinian lands by the hand of Jews as background. A huge amount of garbage narrative that the public consumed and accepted as the most absolute of truths.
Echoes of all that antisemitic incoherence reverberate to this day. Day on which the Jewish people have suffered the most abominable slaughter since the Holocaust, simply for the fact of being Jews. And for no other reason. No matter how much antisemites say otherwise. Girls raped in front of their parents, grandparents murdered in front of their grandchildren, babies decapitated, families burned alive.
Despite the clear responsibility of the Palestinian leadership in this war, today we witness demonstrations around the world supporting Hamas. Even claiming falsehoods as twisted as accusing Israel for the destruction of the Hospital in Gaza, when it was immediately proven, was the work of the Islamic Jihad. Likewise, trusting and reproducing any information coming out of Gaza means trusting and reproducing Hamas. Who controls 100% of what enters and leaves Gaza, including images and words.
But none of that matters. Synagogues are being vandalized, Jewish properties targeted, and millions of Jews globally fear for physical violence, or worst.
Antisemitism has once again in history reached a state of affairs that borders on the delusional.
Media dramatically helps to spread, radicalize and normalize falsehoods, reinforcing anti-Jewish stereotypes, also among sectors of the intelligentsia. From viral antisemitism spreading on global social media to institutional antisemitism, these conspiracy theories have the ability to “explain” anything.
Even before Hamas started this war, in July this year, BBC journalist Anjana Gadgil was reprimanded after she claimed in the former Israeli Prime Minister’s face, Naftali Bennett, that Israelis are “delighted to murdering Palestinian children.”
Nothing seems to matter in the face of the antisemitic frenzy. The more than 200,000 dead and almost 9 million displaced by the war between Russia and Ukraine have disappeared from media discussions. Emergency security meetings over Iran’s or North Korea’s aggressions have evaporated. The ethnic cleansing of Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, vanished from international debate.
Global attention feels more comfortable channeling its morbidity by putting the Jews and their only state in a constant Auto de Fe, where they must defend themselves from multiple inquisitorial courts that judge them through the media, institutionally and virally, based on nonsense even classified as antisemitic hate speech by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) itself.
The terrorist attacks of 2004 in Madrid claimed the lives of 193 people, 56 died in the ones of London in 2005. Which led to the subsequent invasion and destruction of Iraq by Spain and England under the pretext of persecution of Al-Qaeda globally. However, Jews apparently must ask permission to prevent from being killed in their own state.
How far are we going to let this planetary obsession with the Jews go?
Academics universally agree on when, how and who were responsible for the beginning and end of World War II. But when it comes to the Jews “The jury is still out.” When, how and who were responsible for the wars of 1948, 1967, 1973, intifadas and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not matter at all.
Facts and history are irrelevant. Antisemites, whether right-wing, left-wing, or Islamist, hate Jews religiously, regardless of whether they are or not.
Harvard scholar Ruth Wisse argues that Antisemitism is more than the sum of its parts, but rather an organizing principle that has served the communist, fascist, pan-Arab and progressive agendas. I will add that Antisemitism is a circular and metaphysical ideological ontology, which has an explanation for everything. That persuades due to its hyper-simplification of history, seduces beyond pleasure by producing equality in pleasing the oppressed, and generates a series of fixed ideas which manages social paranoia. All of this authorizes hatred, disinhibits aggression and opens the door to the Freudian death drive and appetite for destruction.
Until not long ago, we Jews let facts and actions speak for ourselves. This was a tremendous miscalculation.
An assertive Jewish response to this new iteration of this age-old anti-Jewish obsession would be, together with our most faithful allies, politically, legally, economically and reputationally persecute each and every single one of these antisemitic agents, relentlessly. Even those who hide behind a curtain of naivety. Making it clear that antisemitism is an expensive endeavor.
At the same time, take control of what we say and what it is said about ourselves. And follow up Theodor Herzl’s steps in continuing to create a proactive, inclusive and comprehensive narrative of the Jewish nation.