Recent alarming statistics report that 2021 was the most antisemitic year in over a decade and with sham reports such as the one issued by Amnesty International this week, it’s about to get worse.
By Rolene Marks
There are some things that we can be absolutely certain of -death, taxes and if there is any kind of international upheaval, Jews will be blamed. It is not a new phenomenon; it has been a fact throughout the ages. Jews have been blamed for the plague, financial crashes, stealing the blood or organs of non-Jews, running the world, poisoning the wells and so many more ugly catastrophes throughout history.
If we were running the world, we are doing a pretty shoddy job of it – especially in the media department.
It comes as no surprise that a recent report conducted by the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) as well as the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) have found that 2021 was the most antisemitic year in over a decade.
There is hardly a day that goes by without reports of the latest antisemitic assault – verbal or physical. In the report published by the WZO and JAFI it was noted that at least 10 incidents happen per day. These are incidents that we know about – what about those that aren’t reported or fail to make the headlines?
It has come as no surprise that Jews are routinely scapegoated. In the last two years as the global pandemic raged around the world, this latest iteration of antisemitism has seen Jews blamed for the invention of Covid-19 in order to create the vaccines and ultimately profit from them. The internet is filled with conspiracy theories involving Jews and flyers espousing these very tropes have surfaced in Florida, Illinois, California and other states. Routine comparisons between green passports, vaccine mandates and lockdowns to the Holocaust are an everyday occurrence and have even surfaced in the upper echelons of various governments. Germany has instituted a crack-down on any protests that involve wearing yellow stars that resemble those that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust so that they could be identified. No, the requirement to Netflix and chill is NOT comparable to Anne Frank’s experience of having to hide in a cramped attic away from the Gestapo! Lifesaving vaccines are NOT the equivalent to Mengele’s experiments and a green pass is not the equivalent to having to wear a yellow star! Let’s all say this as one – the Holocaust is only comparable to the Holocaust and nothing else!
In May 2021, Israel engaged in Operation Guardians of the Wall, an 11-day defensive military campaign to protect citizens against an onslaught of rockets and projectiles fired from terror entities in the Gaza Strip. Every time there is a flare up between Israel and Hamas-led terror entities, the conflict is imported around the world and Diaspora communities become targets. This is not the first time this has happened but the language was much more extreme. There were more recorded violent attacks and threats of violence including calls to “Fuck the Jews, rape their women” in London and hardly a community was left unscathed.
The tsunami of hatred has not abated – it has only become more mainstream.
Israel’s decades long and complex conflict with her Palestinian neighbours is increasingly seen through the lens of race-driven identity politics. The dangerously myopic lens where Israelis are seen as white Jews versus Palestinians, who are people of colour, and on the spectrum of so called white privilege, Jews are seen to be at the pinnacle.
Identity politics can be extremely dangerous and this past week we have seen this manifest in two destructive incidents.
Amnesty International, the once venerated human rights organization demonstrated yet again their obsessive hatred of Israel by releasing a report that condemns Israel since its inception as practicing apartheid both internally by “successive administrations” and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They go as far as to reinvent the definition of apartheid and abdicate Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of any and all responsibility in the conflict. By their definition, Israel as the nation state of the Jews should be dismantled and by their call for a ban on arms sales, left (almost) unable to defend ourselves. The US Department of State and Jewish organisations across the spectrum including JStreet, the ADL and others roundly reject this dangerous report.
This obsession with painting Israel as a pariah state is not new for Amnesty International. In fact, it was one of the main protagonists at the UN Durban Conference against Racism in 2001, which saw the NGO advocate for the campaign to paint Israel as a pariah state, guilty of the crimes of Apartheid and to be excluded from the family of nations.
It is not just in the NGO forum but in the mainstream media as well.
Remember when actress Whoopi Goldberg (she of the culturally appropriated last name) was famous for her iconic roles in the movies Ghost, Sister Act and others? No? Neither do I. Instead this once beloved thespian is now more famous for being one of the panel of highly opinionated women on the ABC network show, The View. The show is famous for its format of co-hosts screaming at each other about the topic of the day but it was the show on Monday that really took the cake.
During their “Hot Topics” sessions the ladies decided to discuss the famous Holocaust-based graphic novel, Maus, been removed from the school curriculum in Tennessee for “sexual content and strong language”. A discussion about the Holocaust ensued. “Let’s be truthful about it,” she said. “The Holocaust isn’t about race… It’s about man’s inhumanity to man, that’s what it’s about.” When another panelist suggested that it was “about white supremacy”, Goldberg – who is not Jewish, and whose birthname is Johnson – forcefully responded: “These are two white groups of people… Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s how people treat each other. It’s a problem.”
Oof! Goldberg apologized after a conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL and to date ABC has suspended her and Yad Vashem has invited her to visit for educational purposes.
But the lingering damage is dangerous. In today’s world where identity politics is rife and Jewish identity diluted because of perceptions about privilege and race, the combination of this and the propensity to scapegoat Jews and their nation state for the ills of the world, is a damning indictment on society with very, very worrying consequences.
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