The monster we must all fight

We all see it.

Its tentacles that many thought had been cut off have grown stronger, and more vile, and more deadly. It used to live in the shadows, spoken about in hushed tones, in low voices, in darkened corners of deserted corridors.

It used to belong to the domain of the deprived, the forsaken, the disgruntled.

Like monsters from childhood stories, it was always there, hiding, waiting, readying itself to launch its attack. A monster fuelled by ancient hatred, a sickened soul, and a dark depravity.

But it is no longer standing in the shadows, shunned by society, or cowering in the corner. It’s in our streets, shouting smugly and unashamedly with a pride that borders on insanity.

The  monster that many in the world believes doesn’t exist is everywhere now – in our universities, in our societies, in our media, in our governments, in our world bodies.

But rather that being fought, it’s being fed. Rather than being hounded, it’s being honoured. Rather than it being repulsed, it is being rewarded.

That monster is anti-Semitism and it doesn’t need to hide anymore, for it is not just surviving, it’s thriving. It has been welcomed into society and celebrated in a way that every Jew on this earth should be concerned.

Over the last few days we have seen it in its infamy, where Jews were singled out at a gay parade in Chicago and forced to leave.

We see it at UNESCO where in the next few days, they will hold another vote on denying Jewish history in Jerusalem.

We see it in Paris where French authorities are being accused of covering up the death of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish pensioner who was thrown out her apartment window by her Muslim neighbour.

We see it in Lebanon, Algeria and Tunisia who refuse to show a movie called Wonder Woman, because the lead actress is Israeli.

We see it in FBI reports which lists Jews as the highest victims of hate crimes in the United States.

We see it everywhere, surrounding us like a creeping shadow that is desperate to devour us in its darkness.

And there are those – including too many among ourselves – who try to deny it, and try to excuse it, and try to somehow say it’s not anti-Semitism, but anti-Zionism. It’s not the Jews they’re against, but the State of Israel. These Jews even proclaim their anti-Zionism as a badge of honour, rather than a mark of shame.

But here’s the thing – Israel is part of the Jewish people. And you cannot embrace Jews while you deny Israel’s right to exist. You cannot say that Jews have the right to live, but the State of Israel doesn’t. You cannot say Jews are welcome to demonstrate, but kick out those displaying ancient Jewish symbols.

I don’t believe we can ultimately defeat anti-Semitism, because it’s a movement not motivated by any specific circumstance, but rather deep seated ingrained hatred. It’s not just political because it emanates from the left of the political spectrum and the right. It’s not just religious, because it flourishes whether Jews are observant or not. It’s not economical because it exists against rich Jews and poor Jews. And it wasn’t created as a consequence of the establishment of Israel, because it existed long before that.

Israel is simply used as a cover and an excuse to disguise it, and should Israel ever cease to exist, it would return to the open manifestation displayed in the past. Even today, among many, it has already regressed to that state.

Although there are many people and organisations that fight this hatred, it is not their responsibility to fight it, but ours. We should welcome their support in standing besides us, but never in front of us, for fighting against anti-Semitism is not something that we can outsource.

And you don’t fight antisemitism by accommodating those who hate us.

You don’t fight anti-Semitism by teaming up with those who hate Israel – like Linda Sarsour or Black Lives Matter whose open anti-Israel support should cause any self-respecting Jew to keep their distance.

You don’t fight anti-Semitism by excusing the actions taken by movements like Dyke March Chicago that single out Jews.

You don’t fight anti-Semitism by selling your soul in a desperate attempt to fit into groups who shout about freedom and diversity, but whose very agendas are laced with poison and their diversity and freedom do not extend to you.

You don’t fight anti-Semitism with soft words and meek responses.

You fight it by standing tall.

You fight it by standing proud.

You fight it by remembering who you are and where you came from.

You fight it by not simply dismissing it, but fighting back against all the lies and libels hurled against us. For every anti-Semitic action taken by countries and organisations that attempt to remove our past and deny our history, there should be a consequence.

You don’t get to work towards our destruction, yet demand our energy resources.

You don’t get to commit blood libels, yet expect us to meekly comply to your demands.

We are not the punching bags of days gone by. Jewish blood is not cheap.

This monster may wound us and hurt us and cause us great pain, but it cannot defeat us. We are not a powerless people. We are a proud people with a long history and a small country of which we have every right to call our own.

We should remember that.

About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
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