Melanie Holly Pasch
For the first time today, I saw someone I know personally actively propagating antisemitism and contributing to the rise in antisemitism in America and attacks on Jews globally. She posted a cartoon of a hook-nosed Jew with an Israeli flag armband looking in the mirror and seeing his reflection as a Nazi soldier.
To many of you, this may seem like a political cartoon that’s just political commentary. But it isn’t.
It’s spreading an extremely dangerous *false* notion that Israelis today have become Nazi-like. It’s dangerous not only because it’s false and insulting to people like me whose families were literally burned alive, gassed, raped, and shot into mass graves and ovens by the *actual* Nazis in the Holocaust. It’s dangerous because it adds to the rise in antisemitic attacks and mass campaign of disinformation about Jews and Israel fueling those attacks.
I’m in disbelief that it has become so common, so easy, and so casual to post such hate speech on social media. The woman who posted it probably isn’t a passionate anti-Semite or an anti-Israel activist. She’s just a dangerously uninformed bystander, who has no skin in this game, posting something she saw posted by someone else and decided to spread the hate tacitly.
She wasn’t thinking about my family and friends in Israel who are running to bomb shelters in the middle of the night, having to explain to their children why they must do so. She wasn’t thinking about me having to explain to my son one day why people hate us for just being born who we are. She wasn’t thinking about the next Jew who will be stabbed or lynched in Paris, Brussels, New York or Lod. She wasn’t thinking of their children and she certainly wasn’t thinking of the Palestinian children suffering at the hands of Hamas, the genocidal terrorist organization ruling over Gaza using children as human shields.
Stop the disinformation. Stop the tacit misinformation. Stop spreading hate. Think before you share something.
Israel has a right to defend its men, women, and children from these genocidal terrorists (Hamas). The fact that we even have to have this conversation to defend their targeted attacks against these terrorists just shows how deeply antisemitism has seeped into global society and how profoundly we need a strong Jewish state in our ancestral homeland of Israel.
If a terrorist organization were firing rockets into heavily dense civilian cities like New York, London, or Tokyo, would the world be debating whether or not they could target and eliminate where they’re firing these rockets from?
How Did We Get Here?
Antisemitism is the oldest form of ethno-religious hatred. It has been prevalent in societies across the globe for millennia, culminating in the world’s most sophisticated genocide. In today’s woke world of anti-racists and racists, somehow antisemitism remains not only outside of the definition of racism in practice by most, but some of those who claim to be anti-racist have taken a starring role in its propagation. “Zionist” is a dogwhistle for “Jew.” This is not new. But what is new, at least for mainstream American society, is that anti-zionism is a socially acceptable form or antisemitism.
The woman who posted the above cartoon later messaged my privately. She apologized and took down the post. She was pretty horrified to think of herself as racist, as she clearly prides herself on being anti-racist. I am truly impressed by this acquaintance for admitting she was wrong and removing her post and also for engaging in a private dialogue with me on the matter. I have incredible respect for her.
However, the way these events unfolded are still alarming to me. Here’s why.
She took the post down and was horrified at the thought of being a racist – aka because of the depiction of a hook-nosed Jew which she herself admitted was “messed up.” She then refuted her right to criticize the State of Israel without being antisemitic. That is true, one can in fact criticize the Israeli government and the Israeli military without being antisemitic. But it is a dangerous game for the uninformed. One must take into consideration the consequences of this criticism.
You can criticize a particular action or a policy without being anti-Zionist. You can support Palestinian self-determination without being anti-Zionist. Zionism is the belief that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination aka a right to a sovereign nation in their ancestral homeland. That is it. It doesn’t mean that Palestinians cannot have their own state or pretty much anything else. It just means that the Jews have a right to their country, Israel, just like the French have a right to France.
But why are people so obsessed with criticizing and defending their right to criticize Israel? Why don’t they criticize Iran or North Korea? Could it be the millennia old obsessive Jew hatred? Or maybe it’s truly because of Palestinian suffering? I don’t want to delegitimize all pleas for bettering the lives of Palestinians, because many are really suffering. Ending suffering and bettering Palestinian lives is a noble mission, one that the vast majority of Israelis supports, but supporting Hamas is not supporting an end to Palestinian suffering – it’s only propping up their true oppressors in Gaza. Where is the outrage over the suffering of the Iranian or North Korea people?
The American left has framed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the literal black and white, oppressor / oppressed binary. Ironically, they themselves have become the self-centered colonial overlords who must explain to the world what is happening and has been happening for centuries in the Middle East.
In this binary, the Jews are the white colonial oppressors and the Palestinians are oppressed people of color. Guess what, Jews and Palestinians look exactly the same and were both colonized (literally) by Great Britain under the Mandate. Casting Jews in the white oppressor role is *gasp* racist. Jews come in all shapes and sizes and came to Israel from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, France, Libya, Argentina, the United States, Great Britain, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Egypt, South Africa, China, Uruguay, Canada, Lebanon, Syria, India, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Czechia, Uzbekistan, and the list goes on and on. And some Jews, despite the exiles and persecution, have always been in Israel. All of these Israelis are now Israelis, regardless of where they came from and when and they cannot just go back.
The fact of the matter is, both Jews, Arab Israelis, and Palestinians are in this tiny piece of land and all of them deserve to live in peace. And the vast majority of all of these groups want to live in peace.
Sadly, the genocidal terrorist organization, Hamas, would rather launch rockets at Israeli civilians than attempt to improve the lives of the Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas is not just using donated money for rockets over vaccines, they are using Palestinian people as human shields and time and time again choose to build terror tunnels into Israel rather than invest in improving infrastructure, education, or medicine.
Now, let’s get back to the American context. The same people who claimed anyone’s support for the Republican party in the 2020 American Presidential election made them white supremacist NAZIS have become activists for a genocidal racist terrorist organization (Hamas). And that is somehow not just okay, but some sort of moral imperative of theirs. If that isn’t a double standard, I just don’t know what is. And using the Nazis, the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the genocide against the Jewish people (among other groups like gays and Roma) just belittles the actual Holocaust and its atrocities.
Yes, Hamas is racist because any Jew who steps foot in Gaza would be murdered or tortured and held as a bargaining chip purely for being Jewish. Please read Hamas’s charter manifesto for yourself. Here are some quotes:
“The time(16) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
“I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammed! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill (told by Bukhari and Muslim(44)).”
Their expressed goal is to eradicate every single Jew from the land. That is the definition of ethnic cleansing. For those who might not know, approximately 20% of Israel’s population is Israeli Arab citizens. From Israeli’s Proclamation of Independence:
“We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”
I’m not saying that Israeli society is perfect, because no society is, but that’s one hell of a juxtaposition.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is profoundly complex. I have two degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But neither do the random American celebrities sharing antisemitic, pro-Hamas posts on social media. It is a disservice to people living with the consequences of this horrible conflict on all sides to feel the need to weigh in your opinion from the comfort of your American backyard.
Shame on you, Americans who support Hamas as it fires rockets at Israeli civilians and fight for its mission of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Shame on you, American celebrities who propagate antisemitic hate to your massive following.
Shame on you, Hamas for continuing to choose violence over bettering the lives of Palestinians in Gaza.
Shame on you again, Hamas, for trying to kill my people, again, and again, and again.
And finally, shame on me for staying silent for too long.