A creed has taken hold in many progressive circles in recent years; that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. We’re just criticising Israel, they tell us, we have nothing against Jews.
These last few weeks have proven anything but.
In London, an entourage of cars waving Palestinian flags drove through a main thoroughfare while shouting through a speaker “F**k the Jews”, “f**k their mothers”, “rape their daughters”, “free Palestine”. In Argentina, a Jewish communal building was vandalised with graffiti reading “Jewish rats” and “we are going to kill you”. In New York’s Times Square, a Jewish man was thrown to the ground, punched, kicked, pepper sprayed and beaten with crutches while antisemitic comments were hurled at him. In Spain, a Magen David with “f**king Israel” written over it was found at the gate of a Jewish cemetery. Celebrities took to Twitter to claim that you cannot support “racial equality, LGBT & women’s rights… and other injustices” if you also support Israel. In the first ten days of the Israel-Gaza conflict, British Jewry witnessed a 438 percent increase in antisemitic incidents.
Forgive me if my memory betrays me, but I don’t recall being taught that cornering a visibly Jewish nurse in a hospital lift and accusing her of killing Palestinian children (this happened in London) falls under the banner of “criticising Israel”.
Antisemitism has long been described as the “world’s oldest hatred”, and rightly so. The reason it has prospered for so long is that it takes on various forms, often portraying the Jew as any given society’s greatest evil. 2,000 years ago, we convinced planet earth’s most powerful empire to kill a man who was exposing our corruption. In the fourteenth century, we caused a plague that killed between 75 to 200 million people. 80 years ago, we were behind the suffering of the great German nation.
And today? The Jewish state is the only country on planet earth that needs to be dismantled. Why, didn’t you hear? Israel is the final remnant of colonialism, a country fundamentally racist and irredeemable. And if Israel is the representative of Jewish people worldwide, that makes Jews – irrespective of their political beliefs – racists.
And we all know what should happen to racists.
Why else are Jews the only people attacked worldwide for the actions of their nation state? We saw the storm coming. We warned that the unrelenting demonisation of the Jewish state would unleash a fury unlike any other. But enlightened progressives – who ostensibly fight for justice and equality – knew better.
So don’t be fooled, this has nothing to do with criticism of Israeli policy. In fact, I criticise Israeli policy more often than not. Balanced, informed criticism of Israel is needed. What’s not needed is to label Israel “the enemy of humanity”, as protesters in Venezuela did last month.
So next time someone tells you they’re “anti-Zionist”, know that they’re just another link in the millennia-old chain of Jew hatred.