Kendall Wigoda

Day 63: We weren’t born yesterday

Europe has always been antisemitic, so when Jews are terrorized and murdered in France it’s only mildly surprising. When Holocaust survivors in the Netherlands receive a municipal tax bill for the years they spent in a concentration camp, it’s terrible but not particularly shocking. North America, on the other hand, always felt different. Sure, there is antisemitism but Jews are not afraid to be outwardly visible on the streets. North America was a more tolerant place. Except it wasn’t.

Sixty-three days ago, on October 7th, everything changed. For the first few days after Hamas’ surprise massacre in Israel, it seemed like most of the civilized world was with us. Then, without notice, everything turned on its head. People, organizations and governments began blaming Israel for the Hamas attacks. Apparently, all those tolerant North Americans were waiting for just the right moment to switch teams. The poor, misunderstood freedom fighters of Hamas moved into the underdog’s driver seat. The flood gates opened and antisemitism exploded from every crevice of society. It’s highly probable that most North American Jews had no idea what hit them.

If you were surprised by the extent of the antisemitism simmering beneath the surface in North America then the events of the last five days were beyond comprehension. This past week at least five high-profile Americans used their privileged platforms to tell their millions of subscribers and viewers the full extent of their hatred of Jews. Gigi Hadid, Susan Sarandon, Claudine Gay, Liz Magill and Sally Kornbluth had everyone’s attention. Kornbluth, in particular, introduced herself to Congress as a Jewish person who abhors antisemitism. That must be as opposed to the Jews who love antisemitism. It was a laughable moment since she was called out the next day by some of her Jewish students who asked her to do something about their safety on campus. Apparently she only abhors antisemitism when it is directed at her.

Back to the point. The first self-important speaker was actress Susan Sarandon. Her story began three weeks ago when she participated in a pro-Palestinian protest in New York City where she stated that Jews were finally getting a taste of what Muslims have been experiencing for years. Ooookay.

Next was model Gigi Hadid. This was definitely not her first rodeo — she has apologized more than once in the past for her antisemitic messages. Two weeks ago she accused Israel of “abduction, rape, humiliation, torture, murder of Palestinians years and years and years before Oct 7 2023.” She posted this false information on Instagram where she has 79 million followers so that saved her some time because she didn’t have to contact all of her hate-speakers one at a time.

And finally there were the three Ivy League university presidents who testified in Congress last week about their schools’ handling of the recent tsunami of antisemitism on the Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and MIT campuses since October 7th. Three intellectual giants, none of whom, could give a clear answer to even the most straightforward question asked by Congresswomen Elise Stephanik. You have to wonder if these three women, with their superiority smirks, actually received their degrees from legit universities. My vote is with the Trump University’s online diploma mill. Sometimes smart people are really stupid.

What do all these people have in common? Within hours of making their vapid comments, they were back on social media saying “I didn’t understand the question”, “I didn’t do my homework”, “I wasn’t focused”, “my phrasing was a terrible mistake” and “I didn’t fact check or deeply think about (what I wrote) prior to posting.” So much for being smart.

All of this mea culpa-ing just begs the question. How stupid do you think we are? Do you realize that we can see right through your tepid apologies? Why didn’t you just blame your dogs for eating your homework?

My best guess is that someone you either respect or fear told you, post public statement, that you had just committed career or status suicide and that you better fix it immediately if you wanted to keep your money and your undeserved status. Money and status speak loudly; morality and common sense, not so much.

The thing about all these women is that they preach tolerance but they are only tolerant of people who think like them. They believe that they are better than other people so the normal rules of think-before-you-speak don’t apply to them. They drank the Kool-aid and lost the need to consider any other points-of-view. They do not seek to understand because they think they already know everything that they need to know. And who benefits? The poor, poor misunderstood freedom fighters, Hamas who are finally showing the rest of the world how much they have suffered throughout the past 75 years. Lucky Hamas has such high-profile people to help them spread their sob story.

About the Author
I spent 15 years as a Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional in Canada before making Aliyah in 2002. Since then I have written freelance articles for Israeli newspapers, written lots of marketing communication pieces and taught a lot of English. Sometimes life here is funny and sometimes it is sad, but mostly there's a lot of weird and wonderful moments.
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