Acceptable Hatred: The Acceptance of Anti-Semitism

Congregation Beth Israel in the Fairfax district of LA, May 30, 2020, which was defaced during George Floyd protests. (Lisa Daftari/Twitter via JTA)

It is often said that Jews are like the canary in the coal mine: that the hatred they suffer is a warning for others, and a call to arms to combat its spread. Perhaps that was once true. Presently, it seems that the bigotry suffered by Jews is once more returning to an elevated and unchallenged status. The last time such hatred and racism against Jews went unchallenged, the ‘Final Solution’ devised and implemented by the Nazis massacred over 6 million of the Jewish people. Should we fail to heed the lessons and abdications of duty of the past, the evils of the past will be once more be repeated. Unfortunately, the gospel of anti-Semitism and the creed of the blood libel are once more gaining traction. The Jewish people once more are dogged in their footsteps by whispers of Rockefellers and Rothschilds, are blamed for slavery and decried as child-killers, and are routinely likened to their would-be annihilators. The insinuation, if not the outright pronouncement, is that Jews are in some way if not completely responsible for and deserving of the racism and hatred levelled at them.

This may seem a paradoxical statement in a world where we are blessed with a Jewish state, and Western societies flush with Jews who are proud of their faith, of their culture, of their heritage. Rather in the same fashion as the Nazis in Germany, and the Tsars in Russia, anti-Semitism has been slowly and covertly reintroduced into society and at the right time let loose overtly before retreating again to allow for deniability. In the era of historical revisionism and heightened political correctness, the hatred which many seem to have a high tolerance for if not acceptance of is that oldest of hatreds – anti-Semitism. As put by Mark Steyn, “the ‘oldest hatred’ didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt.”

Let me pose a question to you – who is worse, an anti-Semite or a racist? The answer is that the question is built upon a pseudo-binary, that anti-Semitism is distinct from racism. However, a child untainted by either, would think from examining the disparate treatment of anti-Semitism compared to racism that the former is less egregious than the latter. Anti-Semitism is not a related concept to racism. It is racism, and is rather a term to accentuate that racism that targets Jews, much like Islamophobia denotes anti-Muslim racism. Are the Nazis less racist because they particularly hated Jews, whereas the KKK hated blacks, Jews and Catholics? If we do not begin having a universal standard of how all racism is opposed and dealt with, then these are the offensive and laughable questions we will find ourselves facing.

We have anti-Semites in Hollywood, in Sports and in Congress – with wide followings, and negligible. To proffer but a few examples.

Mel Gibson continues to make movies and has received plaudits for Hacksaw Ridge. Andrew Garfield saw no issue at all with making a movie with a man with Gibson’s record. Now I ask you, if Mel Gibson had gone on a racist rant about how black people were the source of evil in the world, or asserted they deserved the slavery they were subjected to, would Garfield have been so quick to look past his bigotry?

Ice Cube has posted Satanic symbols embossed with a Star of David, and posted the very same mural Jeremy Corbyn loves which is textbook, dictionary-definition anti-Semitism. When Jake Tapper (a Jewish CNN reporter) reported on it, Ice Cube told him to “watch himself.” His rap music has several anti-Semitic references. He himself has a fetish for Farrakhan’s bigotry. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar heroically called out anti-Semitism in the African American community, Ice Cube accused him of taking the 30 pieces of silver. In other words, Mr Jabbar betrayed his race and took the Jewish money. Yet this man continues to receive love and birthday wishes from family movie favourites like Shaquille O’Neal. What is it about flagrant Jew hatred that it can be so easily ignored?

DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles opted for Adolf Hitler as the best source to express his alleged “grievances” with the Jews. A false quote attributed to Hitler stated “because the white Jews knows [sic] that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas [sic] secret the Jews will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were…” Also contained with the post was the statement that “Hitler was right.” He later apologised for his statements – but this simply is not good enough, how did he think in any realm it was acceptable to quote Adolf Hitler, particularly with regards to Jews… Does the lack of repercussion for his actions, condone the intention of his statements?

Louis Farrakhan is still allowed to incite hatred and even violence against Jews across social media platforms. This is a man who has called Jews satanic, likened them to termites, called for their extermination, who has called Judaism a gutter religion, and called Adolf Hitler a great man whom the Nation of Islam should take inspiration from. A reasonable person may think that this man is far beyond the pale, and whose supporters are drawn from fringe racist groups. That person would be wrong. He has quite a following, with his speeches shared by many prominent figures such as Madonna, Chelsea Handler, and Ice Cube, whose speeches have been liked by the likes of Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Saunders and who has met with several household names including Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton. He has also been embraced by notorious Israel haters, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory. It is somehow acceptable for public figures to embrace or be associated with this man, and not suffer any consequences. His continued prominence, and the negligible opposition to his teachings in Hollywood and society is of grave concern for Jews. If his rhetoric is acceptable, will the violence they inspire be also?

The above examples fail to make up even a tip of the iceberg. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have shown such a propensity for race-baiting against Jews, and libelling of the Jewish people, that David Duke would be proud of. Jeremy Corbyn came close on several occasions to being British Prime Minister despite a majority of British Jews saying they would have no other choice but to leave the country should he be elected. Maxine Peake insinuated that Israel was at least partially responsible for the murder of George Floyd. Wiley has incited violence against Jews, and had to be removed from Twitter for his incitement. Roger Waters has stated Israel was directly responsible for the murder of George Floyd, called Jewish businessman Sheldon Adelson a “puppet master”, likened Israel to Nazi Germany, and released pig balloons with a Star of David painted on them at his concerts. Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó’Snodaigh stated that Nazi propagandist Goebells would have been proud of the Jewish TD Alan Shatter and Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony for their defence of Israel. Fellow Sinn Féin TD Réada Cronin likened Israelis to monkeys, and that Hitler was a pawn of Jewish banks. Jews in New York are facing record levels of anti-Semitism and violence with a Mayor who refuses to help in any way shape or form. The BDS movement is gaining ground in mainstreaming the boycott and harassment of the Jewish state and its people. Numerous terrorist groups and rogue states pledge to destroy Israel, and slaughter her people. Jews across Europe are witnessing surges anti-Semitism not seen since a much darker chapter in Europe’s past. This list could go on, and indeed does go on, with a long way to go before amounting to the tip of the iceberg of anti-Semitism. The rot of anti-Semitism is back, and well and truly set in.

Anti-Semitism is inexplicably acceptable. Whereas alleged transphobia, or actual anti-Black racism brings quite a cost to it – anti-Semitism is treated as simply “blowing off steam” or coming from the right place, but not being articulated correctly. There are many who have bravely stood up to support the Jewish people, and whom we will always owe thanks to for being by our side. Yet, what of wider society? What of those who justify the hatred, and who whitewash bigotry? The deafening silence Jews have become accustomed to has returned, whereby their cries for support and solidarity fall on deaf – if not hostile – ears. Our friends are many, but are outnumbered by the bystanders. The corollary of this is – why have these voices capably of being heard, not spoken out against that oldest of hatreds? The Jewish people have borne the brunt of bystanders’ inaction too many times before – if calls for support go unanswered once more, the message is resoundingly clear: anti-Semitism has returned to its previous status as an unchallenged and acceptable hatred.

About the Author
Government Relations & Public Affairs Professional | Former Political Advisor in the Irish Parliament, and to both local and national election campaigns in the Republic of Ireland, and United Kingdom | Former CAMERA Fellow (2018/2019)
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