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Diane Gensler
Hadassah Educators Council

Don’t let the lies fly! Antisemitism is antisemitism!

Artwork courtesy of the author.

The article, “Food Supply Lies Aim to Radicalize: Conspiracy Theories on Global Shortages Linked to Kremlin” in the September 23, 2022 issue of the Baltimore Sun really got me thinking. I don’t think this important article got the attention it deserved. Thank you to Jeremy W. Peters of the New York Times for writing it, and the Baltimore Sun for reprinting it. Both publications have a paywall but for those of you who are subscribers, it’s quite a read!

Please read beyond the first two paragraphs. This article is NOT about farmers, climate change, environmental concerns, nor food shortages. This article is about the spread of propaganda and disinformation. Propaganda and disinformation are both false information that is spread for political purposes to gain control of people. Propaganda causes division and unrest in any country and between countries, and it’s been that way for centuries. It can be used to topple governments, incite war, and more. One of the best-known spreaders of propaganda was Hitler and the Nazi Regime. The spread of propaganda and disinformation is happening today, both in other countries and right here in the United States!

The message/falsehood/conspiracy theory/fabricated lie being spread presently is that “Western nations are trying to impose mass hunger and induce submission by restricting and hoarding the world’s food supply.” And who is being blamed? Environmentalists, the elite (a.k.a. those with money), and the Jews. Where does this disinformation really come from? Professionals can trace it right back to the Kremlin.

The very last line of the article reads, “The intent of the Russians…is to pit Western nations against each other.” If that isn’t a political maneuver, I don’t know what is. It’s the psychological manipulation used by tyrants, bullies, psychopaths, and evil doers.

A Hadassah policy statement from July 2019 on de-politicizing antisemitism reads, “Consistent with historical narratives, modern-day antisemitism continues to hide behind stereotypes, prejudice, false accusations of blood libels or dual loyalty, and baseless hatred. Politicians’ use of antisemitic tropes and symbols have too often been met by attempts to discredit opponents instead of a commitment to addressing the root causes. It should be strongly emphasized that combating hatred toward Jews and showing solidarity with Israel must never be used to score political points or as part of a smear campaign against individuals with opposing views.”

Meanwhile, because of this “aim to radicalize” or attempt to stir up trouble and garner followers, it causes internal strife (that is, within the United States.) Once again, there is the possibility of an uptick in hate crimes, antisemitic rhetoric, and even violence. The article tells us that while war in Ukraine rages on, food and energy insecurities can only worsen. I can see that, as a result, certain groups are going to be scapegoated and targeted while the real cause of the problem has transferred the blame. And as Americans “tighten their belts,” kindness sometimes seems “to fall by the wayside.”

We must all do our part to stop the lies and the spread of hate. First, don’t believe it! If you hear it, speak up against it. Don’t let the lies fly!

About the Author
Diane Gensler is a Life Member of Hadassah Baltimore, a member of the Hadassah Educators Council and the Hadassah Writers' Circle, and a lay leader in her synagogue. She is the author of Forgive Us Our Trespasses: A Memoir of a Jewish Teacher in a Catholic School (Apprentice House Press, 2020) and occasionally writes articles for organizations of which she is a member, such as the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland. She is a certified English and special education teacher. In addition to teaching in public and private schools, she developed educational software, tutored online and wrote and managed online curriculum. She is a Maryland Writing Project Teacher Consultant and a mentor. A native Baltimorean and mother of three, she leads the Baltimore Jewish Writers Guild and holds volunteer positions in her children’s schools and activities.
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