Modern Day Blood-Libels Make It Clear – The Protests Themselves Are Antisemitic

Why is Israel falsely accused of committing genocide in Gaza when real genocides are ignored?
April 30, 2024
Demonstrators hold a protest outside of Columbia University on April 29, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

A lot of people in the U.S. government and in positions of power at colleges and universities around the U.S. are commenting about the wave of anti-Israel/pro-Hamas protests and encampments we are seeing at many major colleges and universities throughout the US.

One of those people is Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose comments reflect more generally the sentiment of many people to the left of center in American political life. Senator Sander’s statement was that he supports protests against “Israel’s war in Gaza” while stressing the need to “condemn, in every form, antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry.”

Sadly, what many people — clearly including Bernie Sanders — seem to be missing from their understanding is that the protests on many American campuses (and certainly at places like UCLA and Columbia University) are inherently antisemitic.

Chanting that Israel is “settler-colonialism” or that Jews living in the land of Israel (in Judea) is “colonialism” (meaning that it’s the same as Dutch people in South Africa or British people in India) is inherently antisemitic, as well as completely ahistorical.

It’s antisemitic erasure. And given how in the 21st Century there is almost nothing worse than being a “colonialist,” it’s a modern-day blood libel.

It ignores the 3,500-plus years connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel; the fact that the Jewish people are the only extant people in the world whose tribal faith, culture, and language had their ethnogenesis in the land named Canaan/Israel/Judea by its native populations and Peleshet/Palestia/Palaestina/Palestine by colonialist conquerors.

Asserting that Israel is synonymous with “colonialism” and shouting on college campuses that all “resistance” to “colonialism” (including mass-murdering, mass-raping and mass-kidnapping civilians as Hamas did on Oct. 7) is “justified” as college students are shouting in the faces of Jewish kids every day at places like Penn, GWU, and NYU is inherently antisemitic.

It ignores that over the last 2,500-plus years the only independent commonwealths, states or kingdoms that ever existed west of the Jordan River in the Levant were Hebrew/Jewish.

It ignores that following the Roman Empire’s two wars against the Jews in Judea (and after the Romans renamed the region “Syria-Palaestina”) that every polity that controlled the Levant was a colonizing, conquering empire, including the various Arab and Muslim empires that began to conquer and colonize the region starting in the year 635 C.E. (over 2,000 years after the Jewish people had their ethnogenesis in the region).

What people like Sen. Sanders don’t understand is that equating Jews having sovereignty and self-determination in the land of Israel with “colonialism” is antisemitic. That shouting that all forms of “resistance” — including the most vile and violent to this alleged “colonialism” — is “justified,” is a dangerously antisemitic blood libel that leads to people, including these same student protesters, justifying the mass-murder of most Jews.

By the same token, the students loudly screaming on these college campuses that Israel is committing genocide and charging all of the roughly 85% of the Jews in the world who support Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas with “supporting genocide” is not only ahistorical, counterfactual nonsense, grounded in antisemitism — it’s also a modern-day blood libel.

These students might think they are human rights activists; but what they really are is just a regurgitation of the mob of age-old antisemitic conspiracy theorists/haters; people who either willfully or ignorantly shouted medieval blood libels — only in 21st century packaging.

And just like the medieval blood libel — which was the claim that Jews supposedly killed non-Jewish children, because the Jews wanted to use non-Jewish children’s blood in Jewish baked goods (like Passover matzah) — the 21st century blood libels that people like these students traffic in — including that Israel is colonialist and #genocide — are grounded in Jew-hatred, NOT facts.

It’s not like it’s hard to see what actual “genocides” look like.

  • 2,000,000 Armenians in 1914 / 400,000 Armenians in 1917.
  • 16,000,000 Jews worldwide in 1939 / 10,000,000 Jews worldwide in 1945.
  • 700,000 Tutsi in April 1994 / barely 150,000 Tutsi in July 1994.

Those are actual genocides; and of course, the Armenians in 1914, the Jews in 1939, and the Tutsi in 1994 couldn’t do anything to stop their mass-murder; and they also didn’t start a war with the people who were killing them or have leaders who promised to keep murdering the people who were killing them until those people themselves ceased to exist.

What’s not a “genocide”?

A war started by Hamas (which is actually an openly genocidal group).  In a place, Gaza, with a population of 2.2 million, where to date, around 22,000 people have been killed in 6 months (as the “Gaza Health Ministry” recently had to admit it had no identifying information about 1/3 of the casualties it previously claimed in this war) with around half of those casualties being Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists — in a war Hamas could literally end any time by releasing the Israeli hostages and unconditionally surrendering, and where Israel has taken more measures to avoid civilian casualties than any military in the history of modern urban warfare.

If the Gaza War is a “genocide,” then what would these students call the war in Syria (where Assad, with the help of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia, killed over 500,000 non-Alawites and displaced over 12,000,000 non-Alawites?

What would these campus protestors call the civil war in Yemen where over 370,000 people have been killed and over 4 million displaced?

Or even America’s war to wrest ISIS from Mosul and Aleppo, where over 40,000 civilians were killed (in addition to around 12,000 ISIS terrorists)?

Bottom line, the only way Israel is committing “genocide” is if every war ever fought over the last 100 years-plus was a genocide. Meaning, that the accusation ceases to have meaning. Or, if one is the modern-day equivalent to a medieval style Jew-hater or medieval member of a Jew-hating mob.

In medieval times, antisemitic leaders often claimed that Jews, as a collective, were demonic-like monsters who were murdering or inclined to murder non-Jewish children for their blood. And when they did so, it was usually to focus their citizens attention away from their own corruption and abuse of power. Whether intended or not, the use of the blood libel from medieval times through to the Holocaust always led to terrible mobs repeating those claims, as well as riots, harassment, persecution, violence, expulsions, inquisitions and even actual genocides targeting Jews.

In the 21st Century, the use of modern-day blood libels — such as the false accusations of “colonialism” and “genocide” targeting Israel and approximately 85% of Jews worldwide who identify closely with Israel (in addition to completely trivializing those terms) — are part of the latest round of antisemitic libels designed to harass and intimidate Jews from being in the public sphere supporting Israel. They are also part of a plain campaign among the leaders of the anti-Israel movements, led by despotic regimes, such as Iran and its proxies, to ostracize Israel, the Jew among the nations, from being accepted among the community of nations, and from having the same right of self-defense as all other nations.

They are also part of a plain campaign among the leaders of the anti-Israel movements, led by despotic regimes, such as Iran and its proxies, to ostracize Israel — the Jew among the nations — from being accepted among the community of nations, and from having the same right of self-defense as all other nations.

These college students — who people like Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), are lauding — never amass to protest against actual genocide in Sudan, or in the Congo (where 6 million people have been killed since 1998), or against the Chinese government putting millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps, or to demand an end to the war in the Tigray, where 600,000+ civilians have recently been killed.

There is a word for that kind of hyper-focus on the one Jewish state and using modern-day blood libels to try and get people to violently hate the one Jewish state as they ignore actual genocides and the killing of literally millions of people worldwide. Antisemitism.

That’s where U.S. college administrators and politicians like Sen. Sanders who try to separate these protests from the antisemitism that accompanies them are missing the point. They act like these protests sometimes include antisemites and antisemitism. No. It’s the antisemites and their antisemitism, which is causing these protests.

Micha Danzig served in the Israeli Army and is a former police officer with the NYPD. He is currently an attorney and is very active with numerous Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, including Stand With Us and the FIDF, and is a national board member of Herut North America.

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