Alan Kaufman

It’s Back: Antisemitism Is The New Normal

What once seemed unthinkable – the possibility of a second Holocaust —has now become thinkable. At this moment the Jewish people are experiencing the worst onslaught of antisemitic hatred and directed violence since the Second World War.

From Hamas to Hezbollah, Isis to Iran, the extreme Left and Right in Europe, Putin’s Russia, the Islamicised African and Asian states and of course the nations of the Middle East, the growing forces arrayed against Israel and Jewry are determined to eradicate them for good.

They are aided and abetted by the Progressives of the West whose unremitting vilification of all things Israeli has become the denigration of all things Jewish too. Antisemitism is now respectable. Among the culturati, the measure of moral depth is the degree of ones open enmity to Israel. Those who dare express the ugliest slander are the most esteemed.

In fact, it is no longer improbable to imagine that as with the Western world in the time of the Nazis, the attacks on today’s Jews by Jihadists and fascists are in part the result of what the militants perceive as the subliminal desire of the world to see Israel and the Jews destroyed for once and all.

In other words, the Gaza Hamasnik or Greek Golden Dawn brawler is really enacting, he believes, the truest wishes of the Israel-bashing pundits and protestors in London and Paris, Berlin and Rome, San Francisco and New York City: kill the Jews! Each time a Desmond Tutu or Jimmy Carter or Barak Obama slams Israel the Islamic killers feel yet even more empowered to attack.

In America and Europe, campus youth are lead by the pied pipers of the progressive camps to embrace the shabbiest lies. Distortions and half-truths are presented as facts and filtered down from Tehran and Gaza City to Oxford and Harvard , UC Berkeley and the Sorbonne by terrorists who have been elevated in the mind of academia to liberation heroes.

Those who call for the boycott of all things Israeli in fact mean of all things Jewish. In Britain, where some supermarkets shelves have been stripped bare of Israeli goods, first by BDS fanatics, then by management itself, not only Israeli items but anything marked Kosher was removed.

European explosions of violence against Jews and their institutions have become a daily occurrence, the new norm, and it is metastasizing to America as well. The slaughter in Toulouse. The killings in Brussels. The murders in Kansas City. The storming of synagogues in Paris. Assaults on Jews in France, Germany, Morocco, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands: all comprise an irreversable force-gathering tsunami of hate. And even if miraculously it should somehow disperse in our media-distracted Age, it is unlikely that Jews will ever forget the hatred shown to them by their fellows in these past months alone—sometimes by their very own friends, neighbors and colleagues.

In Germany, where “Gas the Jews!” has become a common chant heard at anti-Israel demonstrations, Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews, told reporters: “Never in our lives did we believe it possible that antitisemitism of the most primitive kind would be heard on the streets of Germany. “

In France, which has the world’s third largest Jewish population (after the United States and Israel), no less than eight French synagogues were targeted by violence in a single week. In Toulouse, Jewish children were coldly executed. Today, throughout France, Jews are assaulted in the streets, beaten just for wearing a yarmulka in public

There had been early warning signs as early as 2006 when in Paris, Ilan Halemi, a Jewish 17 year old boy, was abducted by French Arabs, held hostage and over weeks slowly tortured to death. Though the entire neighborhood knew of his torments, not a single citizen alerted the authorities.. The enmity is not directed simply at Israel. According to Roger Cuikerman, head of the French Jewish political group CRIF: “They are not screaming ‘death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris. They are screaming ‘death to the Jews.'”

In print and televised media a very few have sought to expose the lies about Israel that now pass for truths at places like the New York Times or CNN. But the larger field of indie journalism and blogs spans thousands of unmonitored websites that for the most part oppose Israel – and make no effort to conceal the naked bias driving their presentation of “news”.

Even Washington, once our staunchest ally, has turned coat, lead by an increasingly hostile president who despite his frequent protestations of friendship has shown, time and again, that he regards Israel as expendable.

In this darkness there is no one upon whom Jewry can count as a future ally. For how can a generation of young Americans and Europeans fend off prejudice when all along they have been schooled in it?

Western education has fed students a multicultural rainbow narrative that makes space for Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Queers, Women, Arabs, Native Americans and other challenged groups but has kept no slot open for Jews, who somehow got lumped in with “Dead White Males” and colonial oppression.

How often have we heard presumably enlightened university professors lambast “The Old Testament God”—in other words, the Jewish God— as hierarchical, punishing, a tyrannical misogynist? For how long now has anti-Zionism and condemnation of anything Israeli served as a staple of high school and university curriculum? How can a generation bred on pedagogically-enforced prejudice resist the temptations of antisemitism when it appears to spring from the very sources of intellectual authority that showed the way to social justice as a trade of one form of prejudice for another?

In the opinion of many who regard themselves as moral Israel has lost not only the right of self-defense but the very right to exist. A growing number of people now call for the dismantling of this modern democratic Jewish nation and society.

Yet, which of these consider the extent to which the Jewish State came about, in no small part, due to the unremitting persecution of Jews by non-Jews, their churches, societies, cultures, religions and governments actively hounding Jews in every land where they resided as a minority?

In pre-Israel days, a Jewish fate was to endure every imaginable form of descrimination, including legal ostracitization, slander, beatings, torture, rape, lynchings and death. Whether in Paris, London, Fez, Damascus, Tehran, Cairo, Amsterdam, Berlin, Moscow, Zurich or in thousands upon thousands of towns and hamlets stretching from Mississippi to Illinois, Holland to Russia, the Jew was an unprotected pariah abandoned to the cruel whims of the world.

Treatment of the Jew by the non-Jew throughout the Ages is a civilizational crime that has never been adjudicated in any court of international law. Perhaps it is time. For after the Holocaust, we Jews had sincerely come to believe that nothing like it could ever happen again. We swore: “NEVER AGAIN!”

Well, guess what?

Antisemitism is back. The very Ebola virus from among all racisms is once more poisoning the wellsprings of civilization.

The global infection is spreading from the leadership of nations to the commonest citizen in the street. And it’s intended endgame, as we Jews know all too well, is not merely diivestment but our complete annihilation.

About the Author
Alan Kaufman is an American-Israeli novelist and memoirist. His latest novel, The Berlin Woman, has just been published by Mandel Vilar Press. His other books include the novels Matches (Little Brown) the memoirs Jew Boy (Cornell University Press) and Drunken Angel (Viva Editions).