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Antisemitism: Back in Vogue?

Antisemitism must not be permitted to become so commonplace and unchecked in this country that politicians can spew hatred and falsehood with no repercussions or accountability.
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June 2, 2022
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As a student journalist and a voting American, I like to start my day by perusing various news outlets. Lately, my morning readings have begun to weigh heavily on me. Tragedy and hate populate my inbox. Our country is on the precipice of a recession; 21 lives were devastatingly snuffed out in Uvalde, Texas; and antisemitism has become all too fashionable, especially among the educated elites. On Thursday, my morning began with a profile on Greg Raths, a Republican who has thrown his hat into the ring to represent California’s 40th Congressional District.

Trotting our age-old antisemitic tropes about Jews buying political influence, Raths declared that the “The Jewish community is very well organized in the United States and they control a lot of politicians.” To emphasize his distance from the Jews, he assured listeners at the Orange County Islamic Foundation candidate forum that “the Jewish community has never given me one dime, so I’m not beholden to them at all.”

Raths is not only in favor of slashing aid to Israel. He has also vocally advocated for arming the Palestinian Authority (PA) with funding — funding that it uses to make payments to imprisoned terrorists and the surviving families of suicide bombers. The PA allocates approximately 300 million dollars annually to the endeavor. Because that’s exactly what a free democratic republic founded on toleration should champion: funneling money to so-called martyrs for senseless acts of murder. The PA not only provides monetary rewards for acts of unspeakable violence but also employs members of Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, among its highest ranks, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Thankfully, when confronted by the Journal, Raths issued an apology.

Having just witnessed a surge in public anti-Israel sentiments at Princeton with the recent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) aligned referendum, I am overwhelmed by how commonplace and acceptable antisemitism has become in this country, particularly among the well-educated. 

Nevertheless, as an American and a Jew, I am appalled, but unfortunately not too surprised, by Raths’ rhetoric, which is just a continuation of the anti-Israel sentiment that has become so fashionable in today’s political climate. Having just witnessed a surge in public anti-Israel sentiments at Princeton with the recent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) aligned referendum, I am overwhelmed by how commonplace and acceptable antisemitism has become in this country, particularly among the well-educated. 

Reporting for the Princeton Tory, the university’s journal for conservative thought, I attended an event thrown in support of the referendum by the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP), a pro-Palestinian student group whose President authored the BDS-aligned referendum. At the event, an invited guest speaker declared “From the River to the Sea,” an explicit call for the erasure of the Jewish State of Israel and a slogan routinely used by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. In addition, groundless assertions like “Zionism is Racism” and blood libels against Israel charging it with carrying out “ethnic cleansing” were casually bandied about without the slightest regard for the truth.

Just weeks before that, PCP protested an Israel internship fair outside of the University’s Center for Jewish Life. And this is far from the first time that PCP has been embroiled in antisemitic controversy. In 2019, the group sponsored an event featuring Norman Finkelstein, a known antisemite who has referred to Israel as a “satanic state,” at which Finkelstein called a Jewish Princeton student a “concentration camp guard” for his service in the Israeli Defense Forces. In 2021, PCP brought yet another antisemitic voice into Princeton’s hallowed halls: Lamis Deek. Deek has expressed support for Hamas terrorists and drawn comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.

As Americans and Jews, we cannot passively stand for this, whether out of fear for personal safety or potential “erasure” by self-anointed arbiters of the Web; events of the last century have taught us what the lethal consequences of complacency are. 

As Americans and Jews, we cannot passively stand for this, whether out of fear for personal safety or potential “erasure” by self-anointed arbiters of the Web; events of the last century have taught us what the lethal consequences of complacency are. Antisemitism must not be permitted to become so commonplace and unchecked in this country that politicians can spew hatred and falsehood with no repercussions or accountability. When a nation becomes unlivable for some, it will eventually become intolerable for all.


Alexandra Orbuch is a Freshman at Princeton University from Los Angeles, California hoping to study Politics. On campus, she writes for The Princeton Tory, the university’s journal for conservative thought, and the Princeton Legal Journal, the university’s undergraduate law review.

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