We see it all too often nowadays: blatantly anti-semitic rhetoric, actions, and attacks that are simply labeled as “anti-Israel”, not anti-semitic.
We have seen it in Germany where two people who set a Synagauge on fire weren’t prosecuted for a hate crime because apparently, they were just demonstrating their displeasure with the policies of the human-rights-abusing Israeli government; we have seen it in America, where sitting members of the House of Representatives can suggest that the only reason Congresspeople are pro-Israel is because of Jewish money in the name of civil rights for Palestinians; and we have seen it on college campuses, where this week anti-Israel activists partaking in “Israeli Apartheid Week” posted mock eviction notices on the doors of students — including those with Mezuzas — in order to send the message that Palestinians are being oppressed.
Of course, all three of these incidences are demonstrating anti-semitism to a different degree, but the question we must ask ourselves is all the same: Why have the people “standing up for human rights” suddenly forget about Jews?
To understand the answer to this question, we need to realize that in modern America if you are working on behalf of oppressed peoples, you are working on behalf of black people, Native people, gay people, transgender people, Muslim people, and women. Who are you not working on behalf, however? Jews.
Because the perception of Jews in America suggests they are successful, powerful, and influential, it leads those standing up for the oppressed to actually see Jews as one of the perpetrators of that oppression. This is also true of the state of Israel; the perception of the Israeli-Arab conflict is that Israel is a strong, well-off country that is using its position of power in order to keep the Palestinian population down. Both of these assessments are completely baseless, but the products of them are what we are dealing with today.
In America, it is completely accurate to say that Jews are successful. To end the story there, however, and say this fact alone tells us everything we need to know would be to be disingenuous.
Anti-jewish sentiment was the cause of over 1,000 hate crimes in 2017. There were more anti-Jewish attacks than anti-gay attacks, anti-lesbian attacks, and anti-Hispanic attacks. Not to mention there were three times more anti-Jewish attacks than anti-Muslim attacks and ten times more than attacks based on gender identity.
None of this is to say America at large is anti-semitic — it’s not. Nor is this to say other minority groups do not face hardships — of course they do. The point is that targeting Jews at large as being part of the problem while dismissing their experiences actually makes you a part of the problem.
Further, when you use a microscope to look at what some call the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it may be reasonable to come to the conclusion that Israel is the issue. When you look at the conflict from a 30,000-foot view, however, it is clear that Israel is a tiny Jewish country in an incredibly hostile region of the world. Every single one of Israel’s neighbors wants it to cease to exist, and as a result, Israel has to be aggressive in defending itself.
Whether it be the perception of Amerian Jews or that of Israel, the picture that some paint is objectively incomplete. That incomplete picture frame is then filled in with the assertion that Israel is an “apartheid state”, that American Jews have “dual loyalty”, and that Jews in America are just another group of white people that are oppressing other communities.
To ignore the rest of the story is dangerous, and until those pushing the narrative of “standing up for human rights” at the expense of Jews, I won’t take their movement seriously.