For years, we who have either been student activists or have worked with them have been frustrated by the inability of the public to stand with us against the hatred and intimidation that Jewish and pro-Israel students suffer daily on college campuses all over the United States. “It’s not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel,” they told us. “Making this into a bigger issue only empowers the anti-Israel movement and limits our ability to combat ‘real’ anti-Semitism,” they warned us. “Be mindful of not offending people lest people accuse us of intolerance,” they lectured us.
I’m used to hearing this from the left wing. But now… Now I have to hear the same garbage from people on the right?
Oh, because it was “only” a few hundred people heiling Trump in Washington, I shouldn’t be concerned? Oh, because they’re not EXPLCITLY calling for violence against Jews it’s not a major issue? Oh, we should just give them a chance because “it’s not like Nazi Germany?”
Just STOP it already.
Aren’t we, as Jews concerned with our own self-determination, supposed to combat this wherever and however it appears? Aren’t we, as human beings living in a post-Holocaust world, supposed to end this BEFORE it becomes mainstream? Or are we supposed to just sit back and wait until we start seeing “major” neo-Nazi rallies before we take action? Maybe you’ll let us call it anti-Semitism then?
If history has taught us anything, it’s that by the time it’s obvious, it’s too late.
Maybe someone needs to print up a guide that explains to all of us when we are and aren’t allowed to talk about anti-Semitism. Maybe this guide should include a handy list of examples of what IS qualified as anti-Semitism and what isn’t.
Here’s the problem though, who decides what’s in the guide? Jeremy Ben Ami? Or David Horowitz? Or maybe Bill Kristol? How about Alan Dershowitz? SOMEONE please tell me when I’m allowed to be offended already, because I just can’t make heads or tails of this anymore!
What other group does this to itself? When the NAACP comes out against the confederate flag being flown at a government building, do legions of Black intellectuals debate about whether it’s actually “as bad” as slavery? When the Council on American-Islamic Relations puts out a statement accusing someone of Islamophobia, do scores of Muslims come out to yell at them to try and see the other side?
Seriously, who does this?
The fact that we are at this point represents a massive failure in leadership. With all the different Jewish and pro-Israel organizations that sprung up during and after the 2nd intifada, along with the growing political divide between millennial Jews and their parents, the community has so splintered that forming a consensus on nearly any issue – be it settlements, campus anti-Semitism, Steve Bannon or something as basic as whether a group of neo-Nazis seig-heiling in Washington is a big deal – has become IMPOSSIBLE.
You want to know why we’re losing the narrative on Israel and Judaism? THIS is why. You want to know why your children are growing up to hide in “safe spaces” or crying over a lost election or rejecting their own Jewish heritage or opting out of contributing to the overall community? THIS IS WHY.
Everywhere they turn, no matter what the issue of the day is, their “leaders” are telling them that what they’re complaining about is not a big deal. That these people were always around. That the media is just creating hype. That their feelings aren’t real. That they need to just learn how the real world works.
Well I for one, have had it with this already. I’ve learned to expect this from progressive organizations, but now I have to deal with it from right wing Jews as well? Who is looking out for us at this point?
We just went through an election where we learned what happens when you ignore a segment of the population and belittle their concerns. How much longer do you expect us to sit here and be told when, where and how we’re allowed to express our outrage? How much longer are we supposed to wait for someone ELSE to decide what is and isn’t anti-Semitism?
Because I for one, have had it.