An article by Amanda Borschel-Dan in the Times of Israel has described American youth as moving with “lightning speed” towards anti-Semitism. The proof in the nationalist pudding, it seems, is a lessening support for Israel among American youth. It seems that non-Jewish teenagers and young adults associate Israel a little too much with the over one thousand Palestinian dead in Gaza over the recent conflict.
Of course, the proof of increased anti-Semitism is decreased support for Israel. Jews, we are told, form a united front of “unprecedented solidarity.”
But here at New Voices Magazine, we like to draw a distinction: anti-Zionism is not always Anti-Semitism, and not every Jew is part of that united front. Just because someone is critical of Israel, does not mean that they hate Jews. Rather, the criticism is towards the brutal and avoidable death of civilians in this conflict. Furthermore, the admittedly awful rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe has been responded to with condemnation by mainstream media, politicians, and the public alike – even as all outfits concerned raise serious questions about Israel’s behavior. (Never has the question been raised in these organizations, it seems, of how the State of Israel’s actions may be linked to danger for Jews abroad.)
If anything, there seems to be a marked increase in awareness about anti-Semitism over the past few weeks. Witness the condemnations of anti-Semitic behavior by Palestinian activists, or the open discussion thereof on the “anti-Israel” BBC. And the mainstream media derided in the Times of Israel article has been quite supportive of Israel for a long time. It should also be noted that figure pictured in this article, Jon Stewart, is very openly Jewish.
If support for Israel is the only measure, American Jewish youth – and non-youth – has been moving at lightning speed towards anti-Semitism for a number of years now – and this trend is far more unprecedented than any “Israel forever” “united front.” Why not look at the critiques of Israel issued by former president of the American Jewish Community Rabbi Henry Siegman, the growing movement of “If Not Now, When?”, or the stunning rise of Open Hillel? Going further, according to the Anti-Defamation League, I might be an anti-Semite. I guess when I recite Ma’ariv tonight I should ask for extra forgiveness.
What the author is upset about, it seems, is not anti-Semitism, but the fact that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism can no longer easily be correlated.
Author’s note: the title is in Doge.
Jonathan P. Katz is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago.