Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, when asked to describe his test for pornography, famously responded: “I know it when I see it.” (Jacobellis v. Ohio, 1964). Antisemitism, likewise, is a matter of perception. Yet, Jews and other philo-semites are accused of seeing antisemitism where it doesn’t exist or where it is couched as an anti-Israel or anti-Zionism position. So, how do we know that the pervasive anti-Israel/Zionism screeds are antisemitism? Here’s how:
- Approximately 15,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed in the recent battles between a Saudi-led coalition and Houti rebels in Yemen. Press reports indicate that this coalition targeted civilians. Where are the protestors condemning that?
- 230,224 civilians were reported killed in the Syrian civil war at the hands of Assad and his Iranian/Hezbollah/Russian backers. Where was the opprobrium of these murderers during this murderous campaign?
- Between 5,000 and 10,000 civilians (with some estimates of up to 40,000 souls) reportedly were killed when Mosul was liberated from ISIS. Where were the cautions to U.S.-allied forces to have pauses and ceasefires during this battle? Who scolded these forces that (as per U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on 11/10/23): “Far too many [Iraqis- substituting for the word Palestinians] have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks”?
- Over a 1,000,000 Uyghurs are reportedly interred in China. Why hasn’t the Oakland California School Board passed a resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party?
You will note that the foregoing four examples involve the death or internment of Muslims; other campaigns against non-Muslim could also have been included (Russian targeting of civilians in Ukraine, etc.). Are Gazans so different that their lives matter more? I am not looking to minimize the terrible toll taken on the Gazan citizenry. I am making the point that the only reason Israel is the target of so much condemnation is because Israel is the Jewish state, and antisemites will look for any excuse to denigrate this democratic country.
Is this not enough? Okay. How about the fact that supporters of Hamas from the Progressive Left ignore the fact that women in Hamas society have few rights. Or, that LBGTQ rights are not only not tolerated, but also harshly suppressed. So, when the Left goes out of its way to condemn Israel and support Hamas, how could that be anything but antisemitism.
Or, how about the pro-Palestinian protestors chanting “Free Palestine From the River to the Sea” or “Glory to our Martyrs” or “By Any Means Necessary” or “Martyrs, Resistance, Return” or “Resistance Until Liberation and Return”? These chants are a glorification of death: either the death of Jews or the celebration of the death of those try to kill Jews. In particular, their phrase: “Free Palestine From the River to the Sea,” is a call for the genocide of Jews. Geographically speaking, the territory included in this slogan encompasses the entire land of Israel, whether pre- or post-1967 boundaries and is nothing short of seeking the obliteration of the entire Jewish state. How disingenuous is Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to defend this phrase by calling it “an inspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate,” especially when, just days after she said this, Iranian President Raisi told a summit of Arab and Muslim leaders on Israel’s war with Hamas that the only solution to the conflict is a Palestinian state from the “river to the sea.” At least Raisi has no compunction about openly expressing his antisemitism. Antisemitism? Yes it is.
Or, how about the persistent use by protestors of the word “genocide” when describing Israel’s actions in Gaza. Those who use this word know its resonance in the history of the Jewish people; they use it deliberately to equate what happened to the Jews at the hands of the Nazis with a military action today that is justified as a matter of self-defense and self-preservation, but which, inevitably, tragically results in large numbers of civilian casualties — casualties that arise because Israel is targeting civilians? No, because Hamas uses Gazan civilians as human shields. Again, antisemitism? Yes, I am afraid so.
Finally, what about the persistent calls for a cease-fire? On its face, a cease-fire would prevent further civilian casualties – surely a laudable goal. But what about the resultant cost of a cease-fire? The ability of Hamas to rearm and renew its goal to annihilate Israel? What country would accept a neighboring territory harboring terrorists whose stated goal is to cross the border and kill innocent civilians? NO COUNTRY ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH WOULD ACCEPT THAT. Thinking Israel should be treated differently is patent antisemitism.
Antisemitism is running rampant, and I see it — and the world should, too.