A Jewish college student recently visited a local food court with some fellow students whom he believed were his friends. He had previously confided his grandmother’s history as a prisoner in Auschwitz to one of the other boys. He also had indicated his support for Israel. While the group was seated at the table with their food, one of the boys suddenly decided to advise his Jewish “friend” to “go bake in a gas chamber.” Immediately, the others began to spew antisemitic epithets while throwing food and other objects at their Jewish companion. There were many witnesses, but the people in the mall confined themselves to videotaping the spectacle. No one intervened on behalf of the Jewish student. Thus, the Jewish boy experienced the sudden and surprise transformation of his companions from so-called friends to undisguised enemies in the presence of an amused audience. In the end, he responded by pouring a carton of juice over the head of the perceived ringleader for which the Jewish student received an immediate suspension from his college.
The attack on him and the swift punishment from the school constituted a painful wakeup call. He had been the victim of a calculated and well-coordinated ambush.
If he could have anticipated it far in advance, would he have been more circumspect about his Jewish identity? Would he have kept quiet about his Holocaust survivor grandmother? Would he have hidden his support for Israel? In short, would he have sought a way to avoid the pain, the humiliation, the rejection before any of it could have occurred? After the fact, was he weakened in his Jewish identity, or did he become more determined to uphold it? It would be understandable if he had decided to jump ship and join the majority. In this case, he did not.
But, if he had, he would not have been alone. Jewish history is replete with accounts of Jews who chose to join forces with their oppressors in the vain hope that they, as individuals, would be spared our common destiny.
Today, if a Jew declares his opposition to Israel and everything it stands for—namely, the Jewish people, he will be rewarded by Jew-haters with acceptance, friendship, good grades, and upward mobility because, regrettably, they, the Jew-haters, belong to an increasing majority. Clearly, the promise of false comfort, phony acceptance, and provisional safety awaits him in the arms of Israel’s many accusers. Their kind are as old as time. They have pursued us throughout history and shown no mercy.
From the Biblical Exodus to the Greek and Roman conquests, the Crusades, the various Inquisitions, to every pogrom and expulsion, to the Holocaust and to the never-ending Arab war against Israel, we have had little respite. Our enemies are in no short supply, do not conceal their objectives, and, in every generation, appear to be on the winning team.
Clearly, Jewish life presents an insoluble existential dilemma for every Jew. Moreover, it offers only three choices: should we keep our head down to avoid attention, do we stand firm in our identity, or do we jump ship and join forces with those who seek to destroy us? Those are the options. None affords the promise of freedom from persecution, ostracism, and all the other more lethal torments that are the logical and desired outcome of antisemitism.
What does all of this say about the reliability of relationships? This young man thought that the other boys were his friends. Indeed, they must have liked him initially. Unfortunately, the Jewish aspect of his identity was the deal-breaker.
The treatment of this young man is not unique. Though the harassment takes many forms, it is widespread on college and high school campuses, to say nothing about what happens out in the general public, as well as in the professional and virtual worlds. When one expresses support for Israel, one’s ostracism at the hands of one’s peers, teachers, professors, and co-workers is increasingly assured.
Thus, in an era of rising and pervasive antisemitism, Jews today are learning the bitter lessons endured by our forefathers. They are learning how it feels to be the object of scorn. They are learning that to be a Jew is to know that one’s place in society is tenuous and insecure, impermanent, and subject to the whims of a capricious mob, easily manipulated with false tales of Jewish perfidy, supposedly endemic to our very nature.
Antisemites sense our insecurity. In the words of former President, Richard Nixon, “What it is, it’s the insecurity. It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”
However malevolent his intentions, Nixon was right about that. Whether we sense it deep in our heart or experience it first-hand under unfortunate circumstances, as did the student described above, our insecurity is real. We all know it, or at least we should. But, what is it that we must prove? It’s simple. We must prove that we are not evil. However, the presumption of Jewish evil is far bigger than the individual. We must also worry about collective guilt. The supposed guilt of one Jew is generally imputed to the rest of us because it is our intrinsic nature—whatever that may be–that is condemned over and above any act committed, real or imaginary.
How do we respond to the presumptions ingrained in the countless majorities who believe that we are inherently evil? The presumption of Jewish evil is deeply rooted in both Christian and Islamic theology, and firmly implanted in the hearts and minds of all-too-many Christians and Muslims the world over. They believe that we are Christ killers and slayers of prophets. What could be more indicative of evil than that? And what could be more daunting than the realization that no amount of Jewish philanthropy, kindness and generosity has succeeded in overcoming these utterly false characterizations?
The lower-case version of the word, judas, is a synonym for a one-way peephole in a door. It obviously connotes, as well as denotes, the supreme and treacherous backstabber of all time, essential to Christian theology, and emblematic in the minds and hearts of Christians worldwide. The designation of Judas as the synonym for evil should inform every Jew exactly where we stand, as a collective, in Christian hearts and minds. Let us pray that the merciful among them someday realize that there is a theological problem with a religion that posits its authenticity on the demonization of an entire people, past, present and future.
To his credit, Nixon referred to Jews as people. Islam, on the other hand, does not even see us as human. It declares that we are the descendants of apes and pigs. Indeed, such designations are commonplace, emanating from renowned Muslim pulpits worldwide.
“…in a weekly sermon in April 2002, Al-Azhar Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the highest-ranking cleric in the Sunni Muslim world, called the Jews ‘the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs.
“In one of his sermons, Saudi sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam and preacher at the Al-Haraam mosque—the most important mosque in Mecca—beseeched Allah to annihilate the Jews. He also urged the Arabs to give up peace initiatives with them because they are ‘the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.’
“’Read history,’ called Al-Sudayyis in another sermon, ‘and you will understand that the Jew [sic] of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jew of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [others’] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers…the scum of the human race ‘whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs…’ These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption…’”
Thus, reminiscent of Nazism, we are seen as unfit for common interaction with humanity—of which, accordingly, we are not considered a part.
A typical anti-Jewish bromide, indicating Jewish evil at its heart, was enunciated by Albert Faleski, an internet personality known as AnOmaly. Contributing to the rising star of the antisemitic podcaster, by consenting to an interview, was no less of a luminary than presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy. Perhaps Ramaswamy was unaware of the podcaster’s prior statements, such as the following:
“As someone who has zero ethnic hate in my heart for others—it’s easy for me to identify this truth & say it aloud. That’s the entire scheme. A group of people who statistically own almost everything convincing the world they are the #1 victim & punching down on other races.”
Those who own everything, yet punch down on other races, while claiming victimhood for themselves, sound like greedy, power hungry, manipulative, racist, deceitful, and treacherous people. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Faleski means to say that this “group” is evil. Is there any doubt that he is referring to the Jews?
The State of Israel is the stand-in for the Jew at the international level. On July 18, 1994, a suicide attack was perpetrated on the Argentinian Jewish Mutual Agency in Buenos Aires (AMHIA) that killed 85 people and maimed 157. Reporters and politicians typically described the non-Jewish victims as innocent without bestowing the presumption of innocence on the Jews who were maimed and killed: “‘Many Jews and innocent victims had died’ in the bombing, it was said—by television personality Marcelo Tonelli and others—as if the Jews had been guilty of something. There has been a tendency to identify Argentinian Jews so closely with Israel as to put into question their status as Argentinians. In the week after the AMHIA bombing, many newspaper and magazine reports used ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jewish’ interchangeably. The government news agency Telem referred to the AMHIA building as ‘the seat of the Israelite Mutual Association,’ omitting the word ‘Argentinian’ and making it sound like a foreign entity. President [Carlos] Menem contributed to the confusion when he expressed his condolences for the casualties to [then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin—as if the victims were citizens of Israel, not Argentina. As a prominent professor of philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, Ezekiel de Olasa, noted at the time, ‘When a father loses a son, he does not send condolences…. he receives them. The fact that Menem hurried to give his condolences is a serious symptom. It’s a way of saying, these dead people are not ours.” https://momentmag.com/scapegoats-to-pariahs/
Jews living in Europe, America or anywhere outside Israel are far too often blamed for the alleged misdeeds of the Israeli government. The punishment can range from mild harassment and insults to murder. It can take place in the city streets, in one’s home, in the marketplace, in the restaurant, or in the classroom.
Palestinian Authority dictator and president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is also a celebrated Holocaust denier, was recently recorded saying that Hitler fought the Jews for “their usury and money dealings.” In other words, the Jews had it coming because they were…bankers!
The assumption that the Jews had it coming mitigates the responsibility of the perpetrator. How else can we explain the suspension of the Jewish student while his attackers went unpunished? Germany and France stand among countries that advise their Jewish citizens to conceal their Jewish identity in public so as not to encourage, by their mere physical presence alone, retribution for all the crimes–that they did not commit!
The following quote from Sha’i ben Tekoa’s amazing book, Phantom Nation, Inventing the “Palestinians” as the Obstacle to Peace, says it all:
“Generation in and generation out, the massacre of Jews has always been a righteous act in the eyes of their murderers, and Arab, Muslim and other terrorists in our time are no different.
“Rarely in history have Jews been massacred for ‘no good reason.’ They have always been seen in the eyes of their tormentors as guilty of some enormous evil that justified slaughtering them.”
Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the Six Day War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 were each initiated by Israel’s Arab neighbors, in all out, but failed attempts, to destroy her in one fell swoop. These humiliating debacles for Israel’s enemies caused them to realize that her crushing demise could never be achieved in a decisive military adventure. Therefore, her enemies have resorted to a strategy best characterized as “death by a thousand cuts.” Each “cut” is an attack on Israel’s basic legitimacy as a nation and is deliberately targeted to undermine her in all spheres of activity: politically, diplomatically, economically, militarily, and culturally. These attacks over many years have been so calculated, so deliberate, and so strategic that Israel’s diplomatic, political, legal, and economic isolation in the so-called “international community” is not only the desired outcome, but practically a foregone conclusion that parallels the increasing insecurity of Jewish life outside of Israel.
The challenge to Israel’s legitimacy is based on the same presumption of evil that has justified the persecution of the Jewish people for the last 2,000 years by Christians and Muslims. Moreover, Israel is seen as the manifestation of Jewish evil for which every Jew worldwide must pay the ultimate price. This is not hyperbole.
The United Nations is in the process of criminalizing support for Israel worldwide. This includes support on the part of states, political bodies, corporations, nonprofits, and individuals. The United Nations has falsely declared that Israel is an apartheid nation that has displaced the “indigenous Palestinian people” who toil under a brutal military occupation that is guilty of extermination, thus denying Jewish historical claims to the land of Israel. In short, the so-called international community has slated Israel for destruction and has created a legal process to bring it about.
It is understandable that Israel’s enemies resort to any means, no matter how ruthless, murderous, mendacious, and defamatory to achieve their goal of Israel’s ultimate destruction. What is less understandable is the participation of many Jews in the pursuit of Israel’s “death by a thousand cuts.” Israel’s Jewish detractors come in many stripes. However, they all mistake false and defamatory accusations against Israel for legitimate criticism. The biggest lie is the acceptance of the myth of “Palestinian” peoplehood, coincidentally originating from the very place the Jews claim as their ancient Biblical homeland.
For 400 years until 1917, the Ottoman Empire ruled over a vast region of North Africa and the Middle East that also included contemporary Israel, Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. The Turks never, ever mentioned a “Palestine,” nor a “Palestinian people” in any official or non-official documents. If “Palestinians” had been there, no Turk had ever heard of them. Ancient “Palestine” existed only in the imagination of historians who knew that the Romans had invented that term to humiliate the vanquished Jews 2,000 years ago. “Palestine” was a reference, by the Romans, to the extinct Philistines mentioned in the Hebrew Bible to add insult to injury after what the Romans believed was the final destruction of the Jewish people. When the British took control of the Jewish Biblical heartland in 1917, due to their victory in World War I, people of at least 50 different nationalities resided there—none of whom were listed as “Palestinians.” The British renamed the region The Palestine Mandate as a reference to the ancient Roman conquest–again, no relationship to the current so-called “Palestinians.”
In short, the word “Palestinian” has nothing to do with the Arabs living in Israel today. There was never, at any time in history, a “Palestinian” polity, language, culture, nor king. The “Palestinians” speak Arabic, the language that emerged from the Arabian Peninsula, because they are Arabs. They did not and do not speak “Palestinian.” Moreover, the overwhelming majority of “Palestinians” living in Israel, Gaza, Judea, and Samaria are descendants of Arabs who immigrated from surrounding areas in the 1930’s and 1940’s when the British opened the floodgates to Arabs and closed them to Jews, thereby condemning the latter to certain death in Europe. As for the “brutal occupation,” the majority of the so-called “Palestinians” live under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority dictatorship whose brutality is renowned. Israel does not “occupy” them.
In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, falsely declaring that “Zionism is Racism.” Thus, Resolution 3379 denied the Jewish state its raison d’etre. In a scathing reaction, then US ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated that “The United Nations is about to make antisemitism international law…A great evil has been loosed upon the world.”
The United Nations defamed the Jewish people in its entirety as evil racists while favoring Zionist imposters who falsely call themselves “Palestinians” and whose aims, tactics and strategies are not only racist, but genocidal. The following is from the Jerusalem Post:
“Calling someone a Zionist is an epithet for a Jew. In the Middle East, a Jew is a shorthand for Israeli. Israelis and supporters of Israel are Zionists. Zionism is Apartheid, and to be a Zionist means you are racist. Just visit any American college campus during the annual Jew-hating apartheid week in the spring semester. As American historian Gil Troy explained ‘The Zionist settler in Palestine was transferred into an analogue of white settlers in Africa…Palestinian propagandists were resurrecting parts of Nazi ideology…negating Jewish nationalism and peoplehood.’ In other words, Zionism is racism—which means antisemitism.”
A “Palestinian” who sells land to a Jew in the Jewish heartland can pay for the transaction with his life under Palestinian Authority law. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority pays out life- time pensions for anyone who kills a Jew. If this is not racism, what is?
United Nations Resolution 3379 was revoked by the General Assembly in 1991. Nevertheless, the word Zionism, meaning the national movement for a Jewish state in the Biblical homeland of the Jewish people, is now charted for ignominy in the university. Thus, the relentless determination to smear Israel and Jews is accelerating and achieving a whole new level of defamatory propaganda described as follows:
“It seems like each day brings a new wrinkle in the oldest hatred. The antisemites are innovating, finding novel ways to fuel enmity against Israel and the Jewish people. The latest is a rehabilitation of the Soviet anti-Zionist playbook in the form of ‘Critical Zionist Studies.’
“The newly created Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism ‘aims to support the delinking of the study of Zionism from Jewish Studies, and to reclaim academia and public discourse for the study of Zionism as a political, ideological and racial and gendered knowledge project, intersecting with Palestine and decolonial studies, critical terrorism studies, settler colonial studies, and related scholarship and activism.”
This witches’ brew of intersectionality flows from the same foundational lie of Israel’s “original sin” in displacing the “Palestinian people.” Jews must confront the lie and redirect the guilt onto the lie’s unscrupulous purveyors lest we become the final victims of it.
But, in the words of someone who “has zero ethnic hate,” podcaster, Albert Faleski, Zionism’s victim is America:
“Everyone is entitled to a world view. But, in America the Republican Party is serving Zionism over America, the Constitution & the constituents. They’re passing speech laws in America & no right wing media will report it because they serve Zionism over America.”
So, Faleski believes that Zionism is the invisible power undermining America and all for which it stands. Faleski is a minor figure in the grand scheme of things, at least, for now, but his anti-Jewish sentiments reflect a knee-jerk, almost instinctual habit of reaching for spiritual sustenance from the same filthy swamp as the most notorious and powerful of antisemites. He wrote:
“Have you ever read the State Department’s ‘Defining Anti-Semitism’ page? They say it’s hate speech to say Jews killed Jesus, have more loyalty to Israel than other countries & saying they control large sectors of society.”
Over the millennia, false and lethal accusations against the Jewish people at the hands of Christians and Muslims have resulted in an unrelenting stream of unjust condemnations followed by punishment engineered to isolate us, dispossess us, expel us, forcibly convert us, torture, maim and massacre us. Alleged Jewish evil is always the justification for these crimes. Miraculously, despite the unimaginable hardship, and the drastic reduction in our numbers, generation after generation of Jews somehow managed to survive into each succeeding century.
So, we are here today thanks to the heroism, courage, sacrifice and relentless determination of our ancestors. However, the insecurity persists and justifiably so.
Every Jew has a vested self-interest in not being massacred as the supposed emissary of evil, and, thus, the repository of irremediable guilt in the world. Though, frankly, it is exhausting and terrible to live with this burden. Can we, nonetheless, reject unwarranted guilt, fortify ourselves in the truth of history, and determine to survive into the next generation as Jews secure in our identity despite our permanent, eternal, and existential insecurity in the non-Jewish world?