So I finished the Yad Vashem class on antisemitism. I even got a little certificate saying that I successfully finished the course. And yes, it is hanging on my wall above my desk. I am proud of that certificate. It’s like any award of completion, be it a diploma or a license, it is showing to the world, and more importantly to yourself, that you accomplished your goal. And having goals is a good thing. Having goals keeps us righted. It gives us direction.
Listen, having no motivating factors in your world is not a good thing. I should know. I generally spent the better part of two decades that way. Well, sort of anyway. I had created a list of accomplishments that I wanted for my life by the time I turned 40. And I surprisingly met them. Every.One.Of.Them. Of course, they weren’t ones like, “become President of the USA.” They were more everyday concerns like, own a home, make sure the boys are in good support programs, help the hubby in his career goal, pass the bar. Those sort of desires. And yes I, we, reached these milestones.
Now, it wasn’t that life became a bed of roses. It wasn’t that my job as a parent of children with special needs was done. It wasn’t that my job as a supportive spouse was over either. (And yes the hubby is very supportive of me.) It was that the overarching organization of my life had reached the goals that I had set. Goals that I knew would add balance to my world. But then afterward I was left with a conundrum. I couldn’t figure out what came next.
I like to say that I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Degrees notwithstanding, I decided that my family needed my presence instead of a law firm. And no, I wasn’t abandoning the sisterhood, I was taking care of what was most important in my world, and that was the children to whom I chose to give birth. You can have all the plans you want for the life you think you are going to lead, but reality has a way of kicking you in the ass at times. You don’t always have a choice. Oh, ok, I could have hired a nanny, and decided that a career was important, but that was so not going to happen. That was not in my make up. If it’s what makes you happy then do it. But I owe no one and nothing an allegiance beyond the people that live within the walls of my home. They come first, and foremost.
But I digress. This post is really about antisemitism, and some interesting revelations from the Yad Vashem class:
Well, what astounding revelations do I have about this course? The course was fine. It is very basic, and honestly since I studied Jewish history, there wasn’t very much new in the course for me. But it is a good place to start if the only knowledge you have of the Jewish People’s history comes from the Bible or watching The Goldbergs on tv.
The truly pertinent part of the story for me, is about the people that actually took the course. First off, there were any number of antisemitic trolls that decided to whinnie their way into the comment section. Once you flagged them, the moderators did remove the offending statements, and in some cases actually banned people from the class. In truth, I do not think the moderators did a good enough job. They left it to the students to discuss issues, without too much intervention. There was no direction and quite frankly, a lot of incorrect assumptions were left unanswered unless another student chimed in. Yes, I did that a lot. Yes, I took a lot of abuse because of it as well.
You see, the interesting thing is that many of the nonJewish persons that took the class became generally enraged when it was pointed out that they harbor antisemitic attitudes. I do not think they took the course out of disrespect. I think they took the course because they were truly interested in the topic. They just got a lot more than they bargained for. In fact, they even talked about not “being forced to keep silent” as if anyone, other than a moderator, could keep them quiet. It was an amazing revelation to the majority of these people. Not a revelation that they liked by any means, and one that they completely rejected.
It is sad really. That you show people that they indeed are not perfect, and need to reevaluate some of their long held beliefs, and instead of getting a mea culpa, you get antisemitic backlash. Case in point: when discussing the definition of antisemitism, we were taught that if you bring up “but Israel,” when discussing antisemitism in your own European or American community, that is antisemitism. So of course, many rejected that equation and in fact, would then bring up Israel for the rest of the course. We were also taught that Corbyn and UK Labour are cesspools of antisemitism. Heck anyone reading a newspaper could see that. But then, these same people resented that they were tied to antisemitism if they voted for Labour. They could not wrap it around their heads, that Labour is virulently antisemitic, and if you want to vote labour, your job is to rid the party of antisemitism, not attack those who are pointing it out.
Honestly, what this showed to me was that not only should the educators who created this course have stepped in throughout, but that people, even good people, cannot handle the fact that they harbor prejudice in their souls. You see, the reason so many were voting for Labour is that they hated what was happening since Brexit, and they blamed the Tory government for the uptick in racism, and xenophobia. They decided that Corbyn would handle the immigration issues more justly, and of course, the NHS. But then this brings up an irony: working at ridding yourself of racist intent while thinking antisemitism is not a big deal. Something we actually see here in the US on a daily basis.
Truly, its almost as if we are living in some sort of purgatory. People who are fighting racism, homophobia, xenophobia , every kind of hate-phobia, somehow have no problem with being antisemitic, or holding antisemitic attitudes. In fact, if you point it out to them, they accuse you of racism, or this inane idea that “punching up” is not as bad as racism. Punching up, by the way, is attacking those who are considered the elite or power brokers in the world. These advocates of the “punching up” theory have decided that the world is controlled by Jews, so when you attack Jews or use antisemitism, its not as bad as if you hold racist views towards persons of color. Ignoring the historical fact that for eons Jews were marginalized in society, and it is a new phenomena in the USA that Jews are represented throughout society in every strata, field and profession.
It is truly amazing how people can justify their Jew-hatred. Somehow the progressive left (not to be confused with classical liberals, Liberals in general, or even Teddy Roosevelt progressives) has decided that since they want to make society better, of course it’s only what they think society should be, then the manifestation of medieval antisemitic dogma that is the calling card of their movement, cannot mean they are antisemitic. It means they are “woke” and see the world for what it truly means. That they are actually trafficking in nazi symbolism when it comes to the Jewish People is completely lost on them. And of course, when you point out how they are being hypocritical, there is the “but Israel” defense of the Leftist progressives. (Yes, they need to take the Yad Vashem course, but I doubt any of them will. They first would need to acknowledge that their prescriptions for society are greatly flawed.) In other words, they resort to antisemitic type immediately upon being reproached.
The truth of the matter is that antisemitism is on the uptick world wide. In fact, Jews are once again leaving Europe for greener pastures. (There are basically no Jews left in the Arab middle east, as they were all ethnically cleansed in the late 1940s after an upsurge of antisemitism in those countries, so they are not at the moment part of the story of this modern migration.) The interesting thing that many point out about this phenomena is that the antiIsrael advocates, those that want to destroy the Jewish state, those that make life so untenable for a Jewish community that they force the Jews from their nations around the world, these Judeaphobes by holding onto antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes, only prove the actual need for Israel.
Then of course, there is the double standard directed at Israel. Especially when it comes time for Israel to defend herself. (Gaza incidents and the Hamas propaganda so readily accepted by the mass media and nations of the world is the case in point) This only shows that the Jews, once again, have nothing to learn from the world, and should not ever listen to any voices but their own. See, the antisemitism thrown at Israel is merely the latest evolution of antisemitism in our time. Antisemitism, Judeaphobia, Jew-hatred, anti-Judaism, keeps mutating to fit the reality of the given moment for the Jewish people. From a persecuted people that refused to accept being conquered by their “betters” aka Ancient Rome, to religious codas and proclamations (the Church, protestantism, and later Islam), to nation building conspiracisms (Protocol of the Elders of Zion), to racial dogmas, to scapegoating in general, and now to imbuing the Jewish State with all the negative attributes once saved for individual Jews, the world has merely proven once again that Jews need a safe harbor and that ultimately, we cannot rely on others to provide it for us.
That is the true irony of those that work to eradicate the Jewish state. By manifesting and trafficking in antisemitism in their movement, by belittling the antisemitic tropes that they hold dear, by singling out Israel, among all 193 nations of the world, for destruction, even when there are true gross violators of human rights around the world, they basically prove why there needs to be an Israel.
It is an interesting phenomena really when you think about it. Just how easily the world falls back into antisemitic type. Could it be that humanity is simply wired this way? Could it be that antisemitism, and racism for that matter, is passed on through our genetic code. (Junge would have a field day with this theory.) Now that doesn’t mean that hate mongering can’t be fought, and eventually eradicated. What it means is that it is not that easy and evolution takes time. It does not happen over night. But of course evolution is a biologically based reality. The question becomes how can we manipulate our DNA to fix our own ignorance, and manifestations of the worst of humanity? Can we even do it? Heck, is it biological in nature? Or, is antisemitism so systemic throughout society that unless we decide to rebuild society from the ground up, it will always be with us? Historically though, every time society was rebuilt either economically, religiously or politically, antisemitism and racism reared their ugly heads. So I am not certain that a dystopian future culminating in a new Eden is truly the answer, or should be the goal, in dealing with our issues.
Interesting questions with absolutely no answers. But what I do know is that antisemitism is not unique in our world. How it manifests itself is not unique in our world. What is unique is the refusal of so many to think of themselves as antisemitic, and to do something about it merely 70 years after the Holocaust. The excuses used for antisemitism are astounding, whether on the right or on the left (for the AltRIGHT the Holocaust either didn’t happen, fewer people died than is reported, or it wasn’t successful enough, and for the WOKE LEFT the Holocaust wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to human beings, oh, the Palestinians-“add negative happenings here, just make sure you make it Israel’s fault”, and/or Jews are not indigenous to the Land of Israel, and even if Jews are, its been 2000 years so Jewish indigenous status means nothing). Its funny, in a not haha kind of way, that these two diametrically opposed political theories, white supremacy and “woke” progressivism, have one thing in common: they blame everything on the Jews, either as a people or as a nation state. Note to the otherwise wise: When you start agreeing on any topic with those who see you as a lesser human being, it is perhaps time to rethink that part of your philosophy that mirrors your haters. Just a thought….
So in the end my take on antisemitism in our world is as follows: for some reason people have become embolden with their antisemitism. While some still try to hide it in their antiZionism, which in and of itself is antisemitic ab initio, the majority of Jews haters have come out from under their rocks and the slimy pits where they have lain for decades. It is time to take notice. It is time to do more than whine about it. But mostly, and this is very important, it is time that Jews remember that they do not need others’ blessings in order to survive. It is our human right to live free. The fact that in the year 2018, we still have to explain that to the world, is what is so sad about society today.