Fight antisemitism at home, not at your neighbor’s

Photo taken in Tel Aviv. It reminds me of the ugliness of antisemitism.
Photo taken in Tel Aviv. It reminds me of the ugliness of antisemitism.

These days, it is fashionable on the right to denounce the antisemitism of the left, and it is fashionable on the left to denounce the antisemitism of the right. They are perhaps emulating the Arab world where it has been common for a long time to blame the Arabs’ own antisemitism on Europe. European antisemites, however, do it the old fashioned way, they blame antisemitism on the Jews.

Everywhere you look, antisemitism is someone else’s problem. Everyone should instead look in the mirror, not only because they have antisemitism festering in their own home, but also because only they can effectively address the antisemitism at home.

This type of finger-pointing has become increasingly common in the United States. Republicans accuse Democrats of letting antisemites in by allowing anti-Israel candidates to run for them and get elected. Democrats accuse Republicans of turning a blind eye to some unsavory antisemites because they vote for President Donald Trump and are attracted to his anti-immigrant language. Republicans and Democrats are both right, but the accusations fall on deaf ears because they are motivated by partisanship.

Antisemitism inside the Democratic Party will not be reduced by Republican criticism of Democrats. In fact, such partisan criticism increases the profile of antisemitic candidates and makes them more popular in their own party. Conversely for antisemitism inside the Republican Party. Yet both forms of antisemitism must be fought. People within each party must step up and do it.

It is as if antisemitism is no longer taken seriously as a social ill. It has become a convenient accusation with which to hit the opponent on the head. The sad reality, however, is that antisemitism is still very much alive and should be taken as seriously today as it should have been taken in 1930’s Europe.

The left is being taken over by antisemites in the name of some “pro-Palestinian cause” (do not ask what the cause means because no one knows), and in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, the infection has reached the very top. On the right, openly antisemitic neo-Nazism is growing again in popularity, particularly in Europe with parties such as the National Democratic Party of Germany and Golden Dawn in Greece.

Left-wing antisemitism is typically anti-Israel, while right-wing antisemitism usually concentrates on hatred of Jews at home, but the two sometimes intermingle happily. For example, in 2009, the German National Democratic Party held a “Holocaust” vigil for Gaza, in support of Palestinian terrorists.

There is no sign that antisemitism will decline anytime soon, so there is every reason to increase our efforts in fighting it. And for each of us, that means attacking it at home, not at the neighbor’s home.

As an Arab, my main concern is Arab antisemitism. Other Arabs must also denounce Arab antisemitism. We have to clean our own home before telling others to clean theirs.

If you are a Democrat, take responsibility for antisemitism in the Democratic Party. If you are a Republican, take responsibility for antisemitism in the Republican Party. Regardless of whether you are Jewish or not. If you do not do that then you are not taking antisemitism seriously.

The fight against antisemitism is too important to be treated as the political football that it has too often become. It is time to reassess our list of priorities and to lower the place of political partisanship on that list.

Photo taken in Tel Aviv. It reminds me of the ugliness of antisemitism.
About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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