By Amy Zewe—
Over the past eight years or so, I have reported on various statistics, findings, studies, analysis, and the like, and I share information on various public leaders’ social media posts and activists’ propositions and proposals. Actions include BDS activities on college campuses, in the world of arts and economics, and of course, politics.
I will even report on various specific incidents that affect individuals, but sometimes it is difficult for people to understand why some Christians spend so much time and energy concerned about the plight of Jewish people of the modern state of Israel.
Why is it gentiles will ache and have dismay about the antisemitism that bleeds across nations and generations?
An esteemed colleague of mine, Lela Gilbert, published an article in The Jerusalem Post on May 26. She had the privilege of living in Israel for 10 years, something I am quite envious of her for. Her love for the Jewish people is beyond an academic observance or a biblical mandate, it is about the relationships she had with individuals as well as the nation that hosted her. Her connection is with people who endured generations of hate and accusation and constant drum beat of untruths, finger pointing, blame, scapegoating, and ultimately, violence. I encourage you to look up her article to read for yourselves the sincerity and viewpoint of a gentile’s thoughts on antisemitism.
Lela also joined the Board of The JerUSAlem Connection recently—and we are thrilled to have this esteemed woman with us. Please also look up her book Saturday People Sunday People—and then do a bit of research on the phrase, “Saturday people Sunday people”—you might be surprised.
Not only is the gentile or Christian perspective about antisemitism sometimes suspect or simply not understood, it is often cast with some sort of malaise or selfish motivation. But this is not the case. To review the Jerusalem Connection’s outlook on antisemitism and why it is a concern of ours, please read the mission statement “The Jerusalem Connection vs Anti-Semitism.”
In addition, my weekly research on current events surrounding antisemitism and BDS, I read continuous assessments from college students and professors who are on the receiving end of hostility and public shaming simply because of their Jewish identity or their support of Israel, or both. There is no other identity for whom this treatment is tolerated and goes unchecked. I am not saying people of various identities don’t also feel persecution, but other than Christians, no other group is left hanging on its own while the public accepts or turns its back on the hostility. Horrible things happen to many a people: to black people in America (and elsewhere), to Muslims, to women!—but when they do, my social media feeds, from all vantage points—from Jewish, Christian, atheists, liberal, leftist, conservative—the whole spectrum, they cry out in defiance to an injustice! And, the Jewish community is often the first to cry out! All this is GREAT!
But, why not when the Jews are the subject of an injustice? A systemic or institutional attack? Or a personal attack? We see college campuses organize an entire week of “Let’s bash Israel and malign Jews worldwide”—Organized by BDS and JJP organizations. All in the name of “apartheid week”: Academics see no harm, and even encourage it. Antisemitism and Antizionism go hand in hand and are embraced and encouraged as the only publicly sanctioned form of hate acceptable in the public realm. Moreover and ironically, these attitudes are all based on lies, misconceptions, a lack of historical accuracy or context and bold faced propaganda by people who do not even attempt to hide their intentions— only a lightly vailed claim of “we are protesting Israel’s policies” to offer as cover. The rhetoric so obviously calls for the annihilation only Jewish state in the land (and on the planet) that is quite literally attempting a decolonization as the Jewish presence and history and inhabitancy of the land was constant.
And the violence against individuals—The Rabbi in Brooklyn attacked when a hateful person through a brick at his head—he succumbed to his injuries…a few posts on Facebook by the crowd in my echo chamber, and that is it. Jewish cemeteries all over Europe, Canada, and the US are desecrated by vandals. The synagogue shootings—quickly forgotten after a few virtue-signal posts immediately after (often more about gun control than the plight of Jewish communities).
I read testaments of Camera ON Campus and other college Jewish groups members and leaders dealing with harassment, discrimination, and open hostility and violent threats…but nobody picks it up. Because these students are smart, outspoken, and don’t cast themselves the “victim” in their circumstance, their suffering is not worthy of the sympathetic repost and demand for social justice?
Adding to the fuel is our US Congress has two blatantly antisemitic members who are embraced and celebrated and never called out on their propensities by the mainstream press or their colleagues. Perhaps they get a pass because are women and they are Muslims (and often referred to as women of color)—they have an identity in need of protection and bumper guards as to not offend. The creep of antisemitism into the mainstream is happening by the normalization of being able to not criticize but actually bash Israel and Jews with no real debate or discourse on facts, fact checking, and analysis. The normalization is just hurling accusations and buzz words like genocide, profit-motive, apartheid, and conspiracy. The COVID crisis has simply added fuel to this journey. Recent reports noted that 1 in 5 Brits surveyed in the UK would not deny or dismiss the posited notion that Jews or Israel is beyond the Covid19 crisis!
Injustices are happening all around the world, all the time. And we should be calling them out, shedding light, and demanding change. I don’t’ disagree with outrage and social media discussions of events such as the deaths of young black men or false accusations made against them. I did not like the shunning American Chinese received after COVID-19 emerged. Remember, you can be FOR justice in all forms! Please do not ignore a victim because the victim seems to be successful by getting up and moving forwards and contributing to the world. The standards applied to what many are outraged about are legitimate—just keep your outrage consistent. What is unjust for one man over here is also unjust for the other man over there—even if they are not the same color or religion or in the same starting circumstance. Applying a separate set of standards is not just hypocrisy, it is a direct application of the definition of antisemitism:
Shavua Tov, have a great week.