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OPINION

Antisemitism Is Not Going Anywhere

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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As long as there are Jews, there will be antisemitism. All of the current efforts to “fight” antisemitism will not eradicate this scourge because of the deep-seated hatred that underlies it.

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Antisemitism seems to be one thing that is common to widely dissimilar groups. Of course, there is antisemitism on the Right. The Nazis blew up on Kristallnacht the synagogue in the small Franconian town of Forchheim and with it the apartment in which my father and his parents lived. My father and grandmother spent a night in the local jail, while his father was marched off to Dachau and only returned at the end of December 1938. He was released because he had fought for Germany in World War I. Could one forget right-wing militias in the US talking incessantly about ZOG—the Zionist Occupation Government that runs the US? 

But antisemites on the Right are not alone. More and more reports come out about the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments on campus. There is no place more left-leaning in the United States than modern American college campuses. And there, open antisemitic activity and statements are common. The Left moves effortlessly from anti-Israel to anti-Jewish statements. The Left cannot find a fence that separates anti-Zionist expression from all-out antisemitism. In their eyes, all of Israel’s purported crimes are committed by its Jewish population. Dr. Martin Luther King already said in the 1960s that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Yet today, Black Lives Matter had to include an anti-Israel screed in their official platform while Black antisemitism is growing and becoming more public.

Arabs and not just Islamists are also first-tier antisemites. My son and I were blown up by a Palestinian Authority policeman who was sent by several irreligious Fatah/Palestinian Authority officers. Whereas my father recognized his non-Jewish neighbors running up to his half-collapsed apartment to take whatever belongings they could get their hands on, the ones who blew us up and killed three Israelis in the process did not know any of their victims whatsoever. The situation was so macabre that when one of the female accomplices who walked the bomber down King George Street in downtown Jerusalem was reminded that she was found covered in blood immediately after the bombing, she insisted that all of the blood on her person was only from Mohammed Hasheikeh, the bomber. Heaven forfend that she would imagine that some of the blood on her clothing came from the 81 Jews wounded in the blast. You can see her demented and evasive comments in the movie, Brides of Allah.

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So why do people of such diverse backgrounds and views hold antisemitic or more correctly anti-Jewish views? Some will claim that their hatred or antipathy is based on slights, real or imagined. Many will find Judaism offering a competing religious view and hatred will be out of religious competition. For many on the Left, it is simply one more tenet like white men being bad or men being able to give birth. Menachem Begin famously said that the Poles passed along antisemitism in their mother’s milk. The German high command around 1942 became worried that anti-Jewish motivation in the Wehrmacht might suffer as younger German soldiers had never encountered a Jew before. Jew hatred ranges from academic musings in faculty clubs about Jews having too much power to violent actions taken against predominantly Orthodox Jews, the only Jews that are easily identifiable to those who hate us. Henry Ford was so enamored with the false Protocols of Zion that he had copies made and handed out, certain that the Jews wanted to control the world.

So what can be done? The answer depends. People do not have to like Jews. And those same people have the right to free speech. As such, people have the right to express their dislike of Jews even if they couch it in anti-Israel sloganeering. The proof of the underlying antisemitism in the BDS and other supposedly anti-Zionistic movements is in their utter lack of concern for other places with far worse records of conquest, human rights abuses, and violence toward civilians. Have you ever heard of grassroots BDS Russia or BDS China or BDS Turkey or BDS Iran? Me neither. Somehow the one country that has a lot of Jews in it is the only place where bad things happen to the point where they can be motivated to get out of bed and shout anti-somebody slogans in freezing rain. When Assad murdered Syrians by the thousands, did our brave BDS warriors retool their signs and slogans? Of course not. But again, these antisemites have the right to protest and the right not to buy Israeli products or products from companies that do business in Israel. I hope that they can get by without smartphones, computers, and the like. As to universities and companies, there is no reason they have to tolerate antisemitic behavior, especially if it involves threats of violence or harassment of other students and employees. After Harvard was named the most antisemitic campus of 2022, I wrote President Bacow that antisemitism expressed on campus that leaves Jewish and Israeli students feeling personal threatened should lead to the perpetrators being expelled from the university. The same should be true for companies that truly are worried about antisemitism which has been likened to cancer. We don’t know how to prevent cancers but we are always building better ways to isolate and deal with them. Employees who express antisemitic views on company time or via company channels should get the boot. When Kanye or Ye went on his antisemitic rants, he lost sponsors and with them a lot of money. Former president Trump's meeting with him and a fellow antisemite has probably cost him votes, including mine. President Trump has been a great friend of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, but if he wants to hang out with Jew-haters, then I can take my vote somewhere else.

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Antisemitism is not going away. Dealing with it when it goes beyond legally allowed freedom of expression means taking a hard line. If your doctor said that he removed most of cancer but left a bunch of cells behind, you would be terrified and furious. The same is true for antisemitism. It cannot be tolerated and if it means firing hotshot basketball players or dropping A-list actors from future movies, then that will be the price for holding repugnant views and expressing them openly. Too often, society has made do with some half-baked apology or mealy-mouthed statement of “my truth” or “if I hurt someone”. Boycotts can cut both ways. Kyrie Irving wants to dabble in antisemitism: drop your season tickets and don’t buy his merchandise. It’s the only thing he and the NBA understand: money. Students who attend Yale, a school named after a slave owner and seller, want that coveted degree above all else—if they threaten Zionists on campus, give them the boot. They cannot afford financially or personally not to have that diploma nailed to the wall behind their desks. Any antisemitic statements or activities not covered by the first amendment and university/corporate policy should be dealt with swiftly and aggressively. Antisemitism is not going away, but we can make it painful for those who espouse it. And even today, there is still no surgery to remove their anti-Jewish feelings from their hearts.

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