The Significance of the #Hashtag

I’d like to thank the first people who tagged their tweets with “#Hitlerwasright”. And those who formed “#GastheJews”. And the ever-creative ones who decided upon using “#LOLocaust”.

I’d also like to thank the throwers of molotov cocktails at the Jewish community center in France, as well as the cafe owner in Belgium who posted a sign that read: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not under any circumstances”. I’m also choosing to express my utmost gratitude to the spray painters of the Swastikas of an Argentine synagogue and all over Rome’s Jewish quarter, and the vandals who desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Greece. And I surely cannot leave out thanking the stone throwers of the Chief Rabbi of Holland’s house, as well as those who threw stones through the windows of a synagogue in Ireland, or those who drove through a Jewish neighborhood in Great Britain shouting and swearing at the Jewish pedestrians with slogans that included “Heil Hitler” while throwing eggs and cans.

My thankfulness does not stem because I am a self-hating Jew (G-d forbid). However, it is warranted because it displays something necessary to be acknowledged within the context of all anti-Israel rhetoric: all of those spectacles target things and people that are inherently Jewish, not Zionistic. Sure, the participants claim to be protesting politics, but all their attacks have been on the religion, and violently so. The attacks call for the genocide of an entire race. A genocide that had been attempted many a time, and most recently stopped only seventy-one years prior in the region that ironically carries the most rampant display of the current anti-semitism.

Honestly, I guess the American in me never really expected us Jews to be hated so explicitly and openly. I figured that such bright, bigoted and unwarranted displays of hatred were in the past. Seventy-one years seems like an awfully long time. Almost an entire lifetime.

But that lifetime has given a chance for a new generation to seize the seemingly quelled memories of the hatred and to rise it up anew, maybe even stronger this time, albeit more trackable and evident, from their constant disturbing display on social media. And when things seem to go under in the Middle-East, people jump at the opportunity to surface those memories.

To proclaim such bigotry to the world, as immediately as the thought enters their minds, without hesitance or shame is what indeed scares me the most about my generation. Even Hitler had at least masked his hatred towards Jews, using them as a scapegoat to Germany’s economic crisis. If the modern-day anti-Semites choose to seek one, which isn’t often, anti-Zionism is their cover, but they don’t cover it well. It plays more like their excuse to display their Jew hatred for all.

Yes, I know at least we Jews have a country to run to now when things get too out of hand, as is currently happening in France. A country to save us. A country I’ve been advocating for Jews to live in practically my whole life, for fear that the world was bound to go sour on us again. That’s why Israel was indeed created. But did anyone think we’d be forced to use its comfort and purpose so widely, so soon?

“#AntiZionism=AntiSemitism”. I wish that could be formed into the next trending #hashtag. But, honestly, the 140 characters limit just won’t do it its due justice.

About the Author
Melanie Goldberg is a current student at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She also serves as the research assistant for Versa: The Israeli Supreme Court English Language Repository, and founded a chapter of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights on her campus. Most recently, she was one of the recipients of The Jewish Week's "36 under 36" award.
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