A Jew is a Jew is a Jew: What rising antisemitism is teaching the diaspora.

Antisemitism oppresses Jews, but it is ultimately a threat to the overall society since antisemitism never ends with the Jews. Antisemitism is the unmistakable sign that a society is in trouble.

PEOPLE WAVE Israeli flags and display a police Trade Union banner reading ‘Solemn vigil for Israel. Don’t accept antisemitism in Berlin or elsewhere’ outside the Chancellery in Berlin earlier this month. (photo credit: MICHELE TANTUSSI/REUTERS)
PEOPLE WAVE Israeli flags and display a police Trade Union banner reading ‘Solemn vigil for Israel. Don’t accept antisemitism in Berlin or elsewhere’ outside the Chancellery in Berlin earlier this month. credit: Michele Tantussi

It has all the makings of a blockbuster disaster film:

1. The confluence of seemingly unrelated events taking place in different parts of the world;

2. The rising temperature that augers widespread destruction;

3.The obliviousness of the vast majority of those who would be most impacted.

No, it’s not an alien invasion nor a climate change disaster film, it’s the synopsis of what is increasingly awaiting Jews throughout the Western world, particularly in the places where they have traditionally felt most comfortable.

One has to be wilfully obtuse to not see the steady unfolding of ominous events, ranging from random attempted lynchings in the streets of Blue cities (not strongholds of white supremacy), to cynically manipulated pronouncements in prominent media, to unhinged rants by celebrities and muscle flexing progressive Democrats in Congress.


Some in England see residual “Corbynism” resurfacing, while in Western Europe, the pretext of supporting Hamas has meant that any and all Jews are fair game.


There are many attempts at trying to explain why it’s all so intense, and why now. Some see this as part of a sustained reaction against all things Trump; to others, the Biden administration’s cozying up to Iran has been read as a license to lash out at all things Israeli.


Ultimately, any and all conceivable explanations fail to capture the maniacal quality of the hatred being unleashed.


All attacks on any groups are heinous; however, anyone with historical antennae understands that attacks on Jews carry an especially ominous portent.


One thing that the recent violence has made clear is that there is no daylight, to lift a term from the Obama years, between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.


Progressives are doing somersaults to try to maintain this distinction while their minions on the streets couldn’t care less. The ugliness of Islamic hatred of Jews is on full display with attacks on kippah wearers or anyone identifying or identified as a Jew.

As Mark Twain famously noted more than 150 years ago, you can tell a lot about the health of a society by the way they treat their Jews.

By this logic, the destruction hinted at in the opening scene of our movie has the potential to spread, intensify and morph into an existential threat to the host society.


Antisemitism oppresses Jews, but it is ultimately a greater threat to the overall society, since antisemitism never ends with the Jews. Antisemitism is the unmistakable sign that a society is in trouble, that it has lost its moral and, very likely, its legal moorings, and is in desperate need of a radical correction.


Another takeaway from the current maelstrom is that, while much of the hateful antipathy is aimed at Israel, Israel itself is hardly affected. Israelis look aghast at the violence being visited on their brethren in the Diaspora; however, the overwhelming response to this is that this is exactly why there needs to be an Israel.


Israelis only feel more resolute when international antisemitism raises its head. We invite our suffering brethren to join us here, and see, more than ever, how essential the place of Israel is to the survival of the Jewish People.


The question that many Israelis ask themselves is what are their fellow Jews doing about all of this in their respective lands? This of course begs the question of awareness, and in the script of the disaster film, the lack of awareness of the severity of the problem is always a looming theme.


I am reminded of the poignant/absurd scene in the now classic film Independence Day, where aliens attack Earth, forcing and forging an atypical global alliance that ultimately, with the key assistance of a Jewish scientist, defeats the invaders.

In the very early stages of the invasion there is a gathering of people on the top of the Empire State Building, preparing to welcome with open arms the “visitors,” who unceremoniously and inhospitably wipe them out while the poor victims are still waving.


That is the image that I unfortunately have of a great many American Jews. They somehow think that the progressive agenda is a great leap forward for equity, justice and racial harmony. What they are missing is that they, Jews of “white privilege,” will be collateral damage in the unfolding dystopia that will be progressive America.


Many, like comedienne Sarah Silverman, will move to Plan B: “we’re Jews and they’re Israelis.” This is the proverbial distinction without a difference, at least as it concerns the street mobs looking to assault Jews.


Ironically, the only way that American Jews are going to be able to hold on to progressive visions of equity and social justice is to confront the progressive reality treating Jews as privileged oppressors and appropriators. Trying to join the chorus in condemning Israel and thus saving themselves will work for an hour or so, and then, as the recent attacks have shown, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.


Only with a full throated opposition and condemnation of violence towards Jews for whatever reason, including the support of Israel, will there be any chance for a happy ending to the movie that right now looks like there isn’t one in sight.



The author DOUGLAS ALTABEF  is the chairman of the Board of Im Tirtzu, Israel’s largest grassroots Zionist organization, and a director of the Israel Independence Fund. He can be reached at dougaltabef@gmail.com


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