February 22, 2024

Antisemitism: The oldest hatred

Antisemitism is often regarded as the oldest form of hatred. For as long as there has been Judaism, there have been those who seek the destruction of its people. This malfeasance tends to simmer and boil over every few generations, never truly going away. A scapegoat is always needed, and who is better than a disproportionately successful group?

It cannot be that Jews culturally promote educational and professional achievement; rather, a deep underlying cabal is rigging the deck. After the Holocaust, the international community collectively determined this ancient hatred must be weeded out of society, but now we are seeing it return with a vengeance. The rise we are witnessing in antisemitism, while rapid, has been growing for decades. A worldview that might is wrong and paints people into categories of oppressed and oppressor, has taken the place of critical thinking.

Enemies of Israel, to justify their actions, have moved Jews into the oppressor faction. A nine-year-old hostage of Hamas cannot be a victim under this paradigm, for a victim within the oppressor class would compromise the logic they rely on. The legitimization of antisemitism comes through this guise. Israel’s continuous victories in fights for survival have provided cover to Western academics and leaders to adopt the talking points of Middle Eastern powers that failed to drive Israel into the sea.

Novels such as Peace Not Apartheid by former US president Jimmy Carter delivered a public relations achievement that hostile states could have only dreamed of in the West in their crusade against the Jewish state. By illustrating the only democracy in the region as the barrier to peace, president Carter allowed nations void of human rights to claim oppression. How can countries such as Syria, Iran, Lebanon, or Iraq be at fault when they keep losing wars to Israel? Who started these wars became an afterthought in the characterization provided by president Carter.

Universities pick a side in the Israel-Hamas war

OUR INSTITUTIONS of learning echo this logic and allow students to act with near impunity as long as they swear to represent the oppressed. At my alma mater, Arizona State University, students were forced to be escorted to safety by university police as rocks flew at the meeting room windows after the undergraduate student government told masked protesters that they did not have the authority to support boycott, divestment, and sanctions demands. While ASU condemned the actions and promised to investigate, no actors have been punished or arrested.

Similar events are occurring at incredible rates, leaving Jewish students doubting their safety regardless of the setting. At Cornell University in New York, numerous professors have hailed the actions of Hamas terrorists. Even the supposed pinnacles of Ivy League education host a narrative lacking moral clarity. Those cheering the assault, murder, and kidnapping of Israelis should be ostracized, not platformed as a reasonable point of contention. Calls for a global intifada paired with chants of “ceasefire now” mean nothing more than wanting Jews not to fight back.

We are all in for a reckoning if this widespread behavior is not stormed back to the fringes of public discourse. The legitimization of antisemitism will not end with the Jews; you will see more groups targeted using the same societal justice framing. Pro-“Palestine” actors are invading government buildings and political party headquarters in their war of “decolonization.” In the eyes of the assailants, everyone who understands the scope of their antisemitism is the enemy.

All of us must band together to understand what we knew 80 years ago: the original evil of antisemitism has no home. There is no justification for violence against innocent men, women, and children whose sole crime is being Jewish. We must also make clear that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, for the Jewish state will never be separate from the Jewish people. The Jewish people will never cease to stand up for themselves; the legitimization of those who crave our demise does not deter our quest for a world without antisemitism.

The writer was awarded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Activist of the Year Award in 2020 & 2021. He is an Arizona State University-Watts College of Public Service master of public policy graduate.