Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Is antisemitism a form of racism?

Are Jews a race, religion, or nation, and does that matter to supremacists?

I will try to answer the question using principles and definitions, not set dogma or prejudice. It’s complex and rich but it doesn’t need to confuse.

In the US, certainly, Jews and Blacks are set up against each other. Jews are then portrayed as rich, academic, ethnocentric, chosen, against intermarriage, the ultimate oppressors. And Blacks are shown as being poor, rejected for integration by others, offspring of slaves, the ultimate oppressed. This dichotomy is full of stereotypes and falsehoods. Some Jews campaign that Black activists are dangerous, and Blacks that Jews are.

For starters, most Jews came to the US dead-poor, work for a living, and are not intellectuals. And Jews having more education or money is often the direct result of them (or their parents) having worked harder than anyone else, not privilege. While many Jews in the US have an Ashkenazi background, and coming from certain countries, therefore, looking a certain way (short, hairy, pink skin), there are many exceptions, just like non-Caucasians also come in many skin colors. Furthermore, denying that non-Caucasian Jews are truly Jewish is a very painful form of racism.

Most US Ashkenazi Jews have rejected racism and are rather fierily anti-racist. This shows in many ways. Anti-racism plays a prominent role in their determination to vote left-wing. Many are also anti-racism activists. (This esteemed Times of Israel also clearly shows this in its valued reporting.) In their personal lives, White Jews do their utmost, not to discriminated non-Whites. And, Judaism is totally against racism. And for marriage, when they are traditional and would only consider other Jews, most Caucasian Jews will not exclude Jews from non-Caucasian backgrounds. This latter point so much so, that in Israel, demographers can no longer distinguish between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews because of this ‘intermarriage.’

Jews’ determination not to intermarry Gentiles stems from a wish to not let the tiny Jewish People disappear via assimilation. Jews are the only People not rooted just in a joint history, language, geographic area, or culture. Jews are founded on a Mission. The essence of being Jewish is a Divine Commandment to better themselves, their relationship to G^d, and so, to facilitate, inspire, and teach a betterment of all Peoples and people.

And those Jews who stress the superiority of Jews have often been the most oppressed by antisemitism. Rather than being racist, they show resistance against disdain and bigotry. Nevertheless, we need to call out and stop supremacy, also when it comes from Jews, Africans, Asians.

Don’t call Jews from Arab countries racist for hating Gentile Arabs and not wanting to be called Jewish Arabs or Arab Jews. We understand German Jews who refuse the label German. Double nationality wouldn’t happen in Poland/Russia, where Jews were seen as a foreign nation. One was either Polish/Russian or Jewish. No hyphened existence like Afro-American.

US racism is obsessed with skin color. Yet, in essence, it has nothing to do with it. Non-Caucasians who look rather pink are still oppressed, much like straight-passing Gays and Atheist or closeted Jews are too. Just, when you look the stereotype, you may get the brunt of the most blatant aggression. But when your different cultural background shows, the oppression still will kick in. And the oppression that makes you be in hiding or hidden may often be more subtle but ever so much more painful. Ask any LGBTQ after coming out about the positive difference that made.

Now, the most infamous form of antisemitism was the Holocaust. Nazi Law made biology the backbone of their racism. So much so, that the criterion for accepting Jews for citizenship into the Jewish haven, the Jewish State, Israel, is based on those racist laws: one Jewish grandparent suffices. That still doesn’t mean that the essence of antisemitism lies in lineage. Jews-hatred from Muslim countries has often nothing to do with heritage. As soon as a Jew becomes Muslim or their father is Muslim, one is 100% Muslim. While the Nazis tried to kill also all the baptized Jews.

And the genocide in progress on Muslims in Communist China is from Chinese on Chinese. Also there, the essence is to stamp out anything that sets these Chinese apart, including by brainwashing, enslaving them to death, sterilizing them, and raping them: a mixture of killing, watering down, and erasing them as a nation, culture. Muslims often point out that antipathy against them in the West is racist. Not the Nazi-biological-eugenic-racist but rather cultural, like antisemitism in Muslim countries.

A tiny complication is that racism is relative to the surrounding society. A Chinese in the US faces racism; the same Chinese in China does not. A Palestinian Arab in Jordan faces judicial-political racism; in Israel he faces racism that is against the law. On a national scale, ‘Third World’ countries still face racism, colonialism, and exploitation from the unhappy few rich Western countries, while Israel faces massive international antisemitism. The racist media bias shows itself in largely ignoring them and their needs. The anti-Jewish media bias shows itself in obsessive coverage, drenched with lies and prejudices against Jews, and massive disrespect for Jews.

Conclusion: Racial supremacy, clearly, in essence, has nothing to do with skin color, looks, or heritage. The bottom line in supremacy is cultural. One culture, way of life, or mentality, supposedly superior to all other ones. So, clearly, antisemitism is racial supremacy. But not because Jews are a race, but rather, because racism is based on ethnicity and cultural genocide.

Then, in a way, sexism is racism too. An assault on women’s ways. And so is classism, seeing the working-class and its ways as inferior, although upward mobility pretends one can escape this oppression (not really). Some other oppressed groups more resemble racism’s obsession with non-Caucasian features. Some have fixed ‘abnormalities’ that are noticeable (wheelchair-bound, blind, etc.,), others have hidden ones (diabetics, Gay, Transgender, etc.). This can all be called racism, but there is one caveat …

We began this analysis by saying how historically, US Jews and Blacks were set up against each other, to divide and conquer the public. Now we said that Caucasian Jews, Gays, women, and blue-collar workers, etc. can be seen as fellow ethnic groups, each targeted by some form of racism too. However, that still permits none of them to deny any White privilege they do/did get, or refuse to endeavor against racism, or run from bystander guilt for systemic White racism to comfort. Being oppressed is no excuse to go soft on others’ victimhood. Just like Gay men must shed their sexism still, even those ‘degraded’ and oppressed for being ‘too effeminate.’

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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