Notes By Amy Zewe—
Recently I have come across a few communiques from pro-Israel organizations offering some tangible steps we can keep on hand to combat antisemitism from our very own homes! So I am stealing them to share with you here:
1. Support Social Media Accuracy: This is for social media posts that you view, then analyze carefully—and fully—that are either supportive and correct regarding Israel and Jewish people, or those that are not—and comment and share accordingly. Share and comment on facts that support the article, or counter it, but always do the latter with a reasoned and helpful tone.
2. Act: To further the first step, be sure you are seeking out articles and posts from the news, social media, and even blogs and be sure to share timely information and as you see organizations or individuals who are accurate. Repost those to encourage those and disseminate their valuable information.
3. Pray: I’d say you made this Step 1! Ask God for a blessing and the right spirit and the Spirit in which to make your post and public statement.
(Paraphrased from International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, “How to be an Advocate for Israel” May 2020)
Two journalists in the past few weeks have echoed each other’s sentiments with their original observations about the scapegoating of Jews in general, and currently within the context of the COVID-19 virus:
Ruthie Blum at The Jerusalem Post on May 14, and Samantha Mandeles of Newsweek on May 17, 2020
Ruthie’s article cleverly articulates and illustrates the grim reality of Covid19 being the very latest avenue on which anti-Semitism drives forward and has been accepted in the mainstream. Ms. Blum’s wit and her grasp of the gravity of the situation made me read her article three times, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at her verbiage. Her title, “The pandemic – like others before it – has incubated antisemitism.” She then is consistent with her metaphor of COVID-19 and the age-old pandemic of antisemitism throughout the article.To me, this profound and even snarky theme is just one more attempt to shake the sense into so many people who are dismissing or accepting anti-Semitism in a world hell-bent on the mantra, “We are in this together” in that that a virus running its course is the most dangerous thing on the planet at the moment, but it is not.
The following quote from Ms. Blum:
But while quarantines were being imposed to “flatten the curve,” they simultaneously sparked an outbreak of antisemitic conspiracy theories about the ostensibly Jewish origin and spread of the infectious disease. Lockdowns also led to a burst of creative energy on the part of holed-up cartoonists whose work would have made the Third Reich proud.
Unlike the Nazi propaganda machine, however, today’s caricaturists have the weapon of social media at their disposal – one that has proven immune to vows by Facebook and Twitter to confront with “community standards” algorithms.
Yes, curbing anti-Jewish expression on the Internet by suspending individual posts is about as realistic a proposition as curing corona by donning a surgical mask – especially with the massive amount of web traffic that home isolation has wrought. So this is why we all must do our parts to contribute to the conversations that these anti-Semites insist on starting on social media. (Review those three steps I just mentioned earlier.)
Just one example Ms. Blum shares is a Twitter campaign called #COVID-48. Replacing the year of the emergence of the novel virus with that of the founding of the modern state of Israel. Already, the parallel—the link—is made. A method in this Twitter campaign is a series of cartoons portraying Israel as either the cause of the disease or the embodiment of it. Said tropes are coming from all sides of the antisemitism trifecta—neo-Nazis, radical Islamists and left-wing activists.
The article then cited a profoundly serious study released by Tel Aviv University’s Kantro Center, whose studies I have cited often in my reports.
In the Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide for 2019, released in April “The return of traditional, classic antisemitic stereotypes intensification of anti-Israeli and Islamist antisemitism have contributed to the growing role of the antisemitic discourse that moved from the fringes of society into the mainstream.”
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, revealed that “41% of Jews aged 16-34 have considered emigrating from Europe… over the last five years antisemitism… and perceptions regarding governments’ responses , which are overwhelmingly considered inadequate.” The report also notes the emergence in the US of “increased violent antisemitic manifestations, with shooting sprees and numerous casualties, inspired mainly by right-wing ideologies, as well as by certain groups within the Black Hebrew Israelite and the Nation of Islam. Perpetrators of major antisemitic violent attacks in 2019 were active in disseminating antisemitic propaganda online, through international networks of like-minded activists.
Anti-Zionism expressed in antisemitic terms was rampant among left-wing activists as well, especially in reaction to warm Israeli-American administration relations, depicted as Israeli-Jewish deliberate attempts to dominate and manipulate American policies and leaders.”
Samantha Mendeles’ article in Newsweek caught my attention because of her specific analysis of the past two months and the on goings in social media and specifically within the BDS movement. Samantha outlines the BDS movement is no stranger to appropriating various contemporary issues to insert their brand of anti-Semitism. They did it with the black lives matter movement and with the Women’s march movement. Samantha reveals how they now have done it with the corona virus media surge.
Historically, Jews have been associated with various disease outbreaks and modern history examples include the Nazi claim that Jews are a biological threat and Hamas saying for years Jews use HIV infected women to seduce and infect Arab men, and Iran’s constant analogy that Jews are a cancerous tumor in the world. Today’s latest iteration of it is the coronavirus. PA media outlets are casting Israel as the hand of the virus among its Arab populations while Iran claims their own high mortality rate is somehow the fault of Jews using the virus as a biological weapon.
Keep in mind that in the PA territories, little social distancing is being adhered to and Fridays continue to be mass gathering and regular protest Israel events. The PA media claims the CIA and Mossad have used COVID 19 to infect PA prisoners—but to date there is no confirmed case of Covid19 among the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
The cartoons and tropes that circulate the Arab world and local language media is altered just a bit for Western consumption so that so-called humanitarian efforts in the West can accept them more readily. For instance, PA media claims IDF solders with COVID-19 are spitting on Palestinians’ cars to spread the virus. This made it into English language feeds and finally picked up by a NYC human rights attorney, Lamis Deek, who tweeted, “NO question, Israel sees #coronaoutbreak as an ally and tool for ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians.”
So by the time it gets to Western social media feeds, the assumptions are made and accepted (that Israel engaging in ethnic cleaning and genocide) and that they will use the virus to their advantage. This kind of tweet gets largely no attention from anti-hate and human rights watch dog groups and leads to the normalization of hatred towards Israel and Jews.
Samantha goes on to explain by even establishing the virus analogy to Israel, the attacks then bleed into the condition of the Palestinians –and we can only blame Israel for any condition Palestinians are in. No mention whatsoever about the continued medical supply and help Israel offers to the PA, let alone the lack of social distancing taking place in the PA. After De Blasio blasted a NYC orthodox community for a funeral within its community, the mass gatherings for funerals in the PA for martyrs and terrorists goes unmentioned. The BDS community cannot point out the culpability of the PA authorities and its people for their own misgivings because it will undermine the narrative that the Palestinians are but victims, Israel is the only aggressor, and that all ills and problems must be the fault of the Israelis.
Samantha concludes her piece with the following:
Anti-Zionist ideologues’ top priority is political warfare against Israel—even when castigating or inciting violence against it directly threatens Palestinian lives. Such callousness alone should be enough to repel “human rights” activists; instead, BDS’ symbiosis with Islamist autocracies reveals the BDS campaign’s true illiberal nature.
Please remember our three steps.
1. Identify and support correct posts about Jews and Israel AND counter with reason and facts those that don’t.
2. Post timely information.
Don’t scroll past, ignore, or turn a blind eye when antisemitism creeps across your screen, or newspaper, or TV…..contact the publishing agency. Ms. Blum and Ms. Mandeles and others have been warning us: the normalization of antisemitism is how the virus grows to the point of killing–already succeeding in many instances.