What is the New Anti Semitism

  • 5 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • August 4, 2022


The new antisemitism is using Israeli politics and Anti-Zionism to criticize Jews instead of offering a clearer and direct attack on the community itself. In modern times where direct discrimination against race, ethnicity, religion, and sex is increasingly frowned upon, this method is an incredibly effective way to attack the Jews. Not only do you not look like a bigot, but you also look like a humanitarian who cares about the Palestinian people. Because of that, this idea is getting more mainstream. Across the world, popular elected leaders who discriminate against Israel are getting more and more mainstream attention, even in allied countries that Israel depends on.

Long Version

I’m aware that there is a ton of antisemitism and hate spewed towards Israel that comes from the right. I think it’s fair to say that in terms of hate for Jews, the extreme right has held the torch quite high in the past century, and there’s been a revival of antisemitic incidents spurred on by rightwing nationalist forces in the past few years. But in the past few decades, we have also seen a new and far more effective form of antisemitism.

It’s not loud, and it’s not proud.

Instead, it roams in the gray zone, which is hard to detect, making it especially dangerous. It is an indirect discrimination of Jews, accomplished by simply attacking their homeland instead of the Jewish people, using Human Rights concerns as an excuse to continue this form of bigotry. It’s known in most circles as the new antisemitism.

This new form of antisemitism came into existence because the Western world has somewhat evolved – and I emphasize the word somewhat – to a point where direct attacks on minorities have become frowned upon.

In many places, certain forms of discrimination are even against the law. In other words, anyone who is a clear-cut antisemite usually works on the fringe of society, and even the biggest bigots in politics have to keep their tactics on the down low. Yet the new antisemite has become quite prevalent in the mainstream. The reality is that this more subtle approach is incredibly effective because this kind of antisemitism comes in the form of a Human Rights narrative.

These days, attacking Jews can be part of your campaign. It can actually make you popular; it can make you sound like a caring individual if the narrative shouts, “all I want to do is help the poor Palestinians!”.

Antisemitism is being whitewashed with supposedly progressive Human Rights ideology is one of the most dangerous things to happen to Jews in the past 70 years. It is by far the best strategy to weaken the Jewish state and delegitimize our right to self-determination.

I hear you. These are pretty bold statements. But think about it this way:

If you sell candy, which for most people is yummy but also unhealthy, your customers would only consume it once in a while, in moderation. But if you manage to make candy look like broccoli and convince people that it is, in fact, broccoli, we would eat that shit up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and probably go into diabetic shock by age 40. I’m pretty sad now. I just made sweet, delicious, yummy candy as a metaphor for antisemitism.

Sweetest Day Food GIF by Guava Juice - Find & Share on GIPHY

But there’s an important point here: If you’re able to make antisemitism sound like advocating for Human Rights, you will eventually bring critics into decision-making roles, offering them the flexibility to implement policies that could empower Israel’s enemies to damage or even destroy a country with 7 million Jews.

You can already see some serious people getting into top roles under this narrative.

The previous leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, created a toxic environment for Jews within his own party, hanged out with his Hezbollah bros, prompting many party members to bail and some British citizens to leave the country altogether. But as far as his fans were concerned, he was “just criticizing Israel”. Corbyn got away with his rhetoric, because he camouflaged himself under the human rights narrative.

You can also see it in the U.S., where Senator Bernie Sanders rode leftwing politics and anti-Israel proclamations to just a whisper away from receiving the Democratic Party nomination for president. You also see it with people like Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, whose antisemitic views alienated many Jewish women, destroying one of the most important movements of the 21st century. Yet, she too gets away with it because she camouflaged herself as a progressive champion for Muslim women’s rights. Sarsour has been a supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who’s compared Jews to termites and given blatantly anti-Semitic speeches.

Yet somehow, Farrakhan managed to stay mainstream, maintaining many relationships within the black community and even in high government circles because he camouflages as a civil rights advocate.

We also have people like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somalian refugee who spends most of her foreign policy time discussing Israel instead of the Human Rights crises in her native country; Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who wrapped herself in a Palestinian flag instead of an American one in the video showing her winning her first election to Congress; and Democratic Party star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who once declined to even show up to an Itzhak Rabin memorial event, because the late Prime Minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and peacemaker happened to be Israeli.

All these ladies get constant interview requests from mainstream talk shows, appear in Netflix documentaries, and even appear in comic books because they sell themselves as fighters for Human Rights. If the point is not clear yet, let me clarify: The left has not only done a great job inventing the new anti-Semitism, it has also made sure that this far more sophisticated and dangerous form of antisemitism sneaks its way into the mainstream as a so-called Human Rights priority. One of the challenges in confronting the left, and a reason why it has been so successful in implementing this new form of antisemitism is that it has created a sense of goodwill. To combat the left’s attack on Jews and Israel, we need to dismantle its delusional sense of moral superiority. That means we need to understand and even explain why being on the left does not necessarily mean being progressive. Even better just take the power away from people that call themselves progressives by clarifying that they are not progressive at all.

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