January 27, 2020

Don’t Give Anti-Semites What They Seek

Members of the Chabad of Midtown pray during a service for members of the Poway San Diego Chabad Synagogue, in New York, U.S., April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

When you look at a rabbi with a white beard wearing a black hat, a long black coat and a gartl, what do you see? Anti-Semites see a refugee from the ghettos of Europe, a secret emissary of a global power intent on ruling from within. But what do you see?

When you look at an Israeli living in Sderot, what do you see? Anti-Semites see an emissary of Israeli intolerance, a thumb in the face of Palestinians, a hypnotizer of the world. But what do you see?

When you look at a 60-year-old Jewish woman living near San Diego, what do you see? Anti-Semites see a recipient of privilege, an inherent victimizer in the hierarchical power structure. But what do you see?

Anti-Semites see the Jews as part of a pattern. Each Jew is a data point in that pattern; every Jew can be pigeonholed as a member of a broader conspiracy. Right-wing white supremacist anti-Semites see the Jews as an eternal threat, a racially “mongrelizing” threat to white purity, a religious blot, a nefarious group of schemers threatening their race-based civilization. Radical Islamist anti-Semites see the Jews as the sons of pigs and monkeys, religious threats who must be exterminated. Left-wing anti-Semites see the Jews as defenders of brutal hierarchies, purveyors of exploitation.

Each of these types of anti-Semitism carries its own level of threat. White supremacist anti-Semitism, in the United States, is the type most likely to end with dead bodies: White supremacists have been responsible for an ever-increasing number of terrorist attacks, as more and more young men are radicalized through online forums. Radical Islamic anti-Semitism is the type most likely to end with dead Jews worldwide, in anti-Semitic attacks throughout Europe, as well as terrorist attacks against Jews in Israel. Left-wing anti-Semitism is the type most likely to be mainstreamed — just view The New York Times’ decision to print a virulently anti-Semitic cartoon that could have come from the pages of Der Sturmer. The fact that the Times’ editors didn’t even notice the anti-Semitism shows how easily anti-Zionism has merged, for the mainstream left, into outright anti-Semitic propagandizing.

If you don’t oppose all types of
anti-Semitism, you don’t oppose

Members of the media, unfortunately, wish to distinguish the three types of anti-Semitism. Because the media lean to the left, they wish to downplay left-wing anti-Semitism, even as they engage in it — and thus media members come out of the woodwork to defend both Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who has engaged in anti-Semitism openly and repeatedly, and the Democratic Party that rushed to cover for her. Because the media generally dislike Israel and see it as an imperialist power, they have sympathy, too, for the claims for the radical Islamist brand of anti-Semitism — they simply dismiss the murderous anti-Semitism of radical Muslims as a form of anti-Zionism. They’re more than happy to point out white supremacist anti-Semitism, however, because they believe they can blame that type of anti-Semitism on President Donald Trump.

Here’s the truth: If you don’t oppose all types of anti-Semitism, you don’t oppose anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, many Jews are just as political as media members when it comes to anti-Semitism. We find excuses to let purported allies off the hook by disassociating with our co-religionists. Thus, I ask: What do you see when you see a fellow Jew? Do you see an “other” — a person with no relationship to you, who can be safely excised? Do you see a tool, to be used for political purposes? Or do you see that fellow Jew as a brother or a sister — a person who, if attacked for their Jewishness, must be defended? Do you see the rabbi in Poway as a Trump supporter who supports gun ownership — or as a Jew shot for his identity? Do you see Almog Peretz as an Israeli citizen, and thus as a victim of anti-Zionism — or as a Jew shot for his identity? Would you feel the same way if a rocket had hit his home in Sderot? Do you see Lori Gilbert-Kaye as a woman of intersectional privilege — or as a Jew shot for her identity?

The anti-Semites are evil. But they are right in one respect only: Jews are members of a family. If we fail to see one another as members of the same family — a family wherein an attack on one is an attack on all — then we will be giving anti-Semites that which they have so long sought: an end to the Jewish people.

Ben Shapiro is a best-selling author, editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire and host of the conservative podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show.”