antisemitism is the fault of antisemites (never of Jews)


There is so much wrong with this statement:

(1) antisemitism has been “mainstream” for a good 2500 years before the establishment of the State of Israel, and it’s been mainstream “on the right” ever since left-right politics have been a thing (it’s been mainstream on the left since then, too).

(2) the Palestinian movement is a nationalist movement.

But most importantly:

(3) the only people at fault for antisemitism are antisemites. Jews are not responsible for antisemitism and neither is the only Jewish state.

For as long as antisemitism has existed, antisemites have tried to pin it on Jews. This is no different.



One of the most pervasive antisemitic tropes is that Jews “cry” antisemitism. After all, if Jews are, as the ancient antisemitic trope says, “wealthy and powerful,” then how could we possibly experience discrimination or oppression?

This trope has come up time and time again in history. One of its most sinister iterations was during World War II, when the American public accused Jews of “exaggerating” reports of antisemitism to drag the United States into a world war.

“The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration…Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.” — Charles Lindbergh accuses American Jews of trying to drag the United States into World War II. Des Moines, Iowa, 1941.

The “whiny Jew” stereotype is also an iteration of this trope.



In white supremacist circles, the numbers 109 and 110 are dogwhistles for, supposedly, the amount of countries that have expelled Jews. It seems that this claim originated in a long-standing Australian antisemitic website, which purports that Jews have been expelled from 109 countries; the number “110” stands for the next country that should expel its Jews. For example, white supremacists in the United States demand that the United States be the “110th” country to get rid of its Jews.

The implication here is that since so many countries have expelled their Jews, it must be Jews that are doing something wrong, and not the other way around.

Throughout history, Jews have been expelled (i.e. ethnic cleansing) from just about every corner of Europe and the Middle East and North Africa, as well as from parts of Central and Southeast Asia and the Americas. But Jews were not responsible for those expulsions; antisemites were. Period.



Since the dawn of Christianity, Christendom has accused Jews of bringing our persecution onto ourselves by (1) crucifying Jesus (known as the antisemitic conspiracy of “Jewish deicide”), or (2) denying Jesus as the messiah and son of God.

Historically, Biblical “justification” for the conspiracy of deicide has been Matthew 27:24–25: “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’

All the [Jewish] people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!’”

Jewish theologians also find themes in the New Testament that allude that the trials and tribulations of Jews historically are God’s punishment for “killing Jesus.”

We find this theme in many streams and denominations of Christianity to this day. The Book of Mormon, for example, makes the claim that Jesus came to the Jews because Jews were the only nation “wicked enough” to crucify him. Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (1985-1994), claimed that the Holocaust was a fulfillment of God’s prophecy that the Jews would be punished for their wickedness (whether you consider the Latter Day Saints movement a denomination of Christianity or not is a different, separate issue; please don’t derail the comments).



Nearly every pogrom (anti-Jewish massacre) in history has been spurred on by accusations of blood libel. A blood libel is a false claim that Jews murder Christian (or Muslim) children for ritual purposes. As such, these anti-Jewish massacres triggered by blood libels were simply “punishment” for purported Jewish misbehavior.

In the earliest blood libels, Jews were accused of trying to reenact the crucifixion of Jesus. Later, the claim was that Jews required the blood of Christian children to bake matzah, the unleavened bread we eat during Passover.

Oftentimes, Jews were accused of blood libel to account for the unexplained disappearances of Christian children. Many of these children have become Christian martyrs and/or were canonized by various churches, such as Gabriel of Bialystok, who was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

In 1144, the Jews in Norwich, England were accused of the ritual murder of a child, William of Norwich. More and more blood libels sprouted in England over the next century and a half, resulting in massacres and, finally, the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290. Jews were barred from England until 1657.

Blood libels are hardly a thing of the faraway past. In 1946, just some months after the Holocaust, a blood libel led to the massacre of 38-42 Jewish refugees in Kielce, Poland. The earliest recorded mention of "blood libel" in Muslim territories dates back to 1553; to this day, blood libels are common in the Arab world.



For decades, antisemites have accused Jews of either causing or exploiting the Holocaust in order to “obtain” the State of Israel. Not only is this offensive, but it’s also utterly ahistorical.

Delegates at the 21st Zionist Congress learn of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the alliance between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which put their Jewish siblings in immediate danger.

The Irish diplomat Conor Cruise O’Brien commented: “They do not look like people who have just heard a piece of political news. They look like people who have heard a death sentence pronounced on members of their family.”

Here’s the reality:

(1) the Nazis were ardent anti-Zionists. With the rise of Nazism in the 1930s, the Germans associated Zionism with “other alleged vices of the Jews.” Hitler himself despised Zionism, unsurprisingly viewing it as a continuation of a broader Jewish conspiracy of world domination.

(2) it was the Palestinian Arab leadership that actively worked with the Nazis in the 1930s and even after the end of the war. In November of 1933, the Nazis revealed that they had established a direct contact with the Arab leadership in Palestine, with the hopes of “adapting the Nazi program” to the Holy Land.

In 1957, a top secret document came to light, which revealed that Germany and Italy recognized the right of the Arabs to “solve the Jewish question” in Palestine and other Arab nations. Following the vote on the 1947 Partition Plan, the Arab Higher Committee published a leaflet stating: “The Arabs have taken the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.” Thousands of former SS members joined the Arab armies in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.

Jews cannot be Nazis, and, as such, Zionists did not cause the Holocaust. Period. When the extremist right-wing Lehi Zionist militia/terrorist group tried to ally with the Nazis against the British, the Nazis rejected them outright. When the Association of German National Jews came out in support of Hitler, the Nazis had them rounded up and deported to concentration camps.



No, Israel, the one Jewish state in the world, did not cause right-wing or Ye’s antisemitism. Antisemitism is an ancient bigotry that gets Jews killed — Israeli Jews included (for context: half of the world’s Jews live in Israel). Antisemitism is not a punishment for bad behavior or excusable in any way. The only people at fault for antisemitism are antisemites, not Jews.

When antisemitism rises in response to whatever is happening in Israel-Palestine, as it did in May 2021, it’s still not Israel’s fault. It’s the antisemite who chooses to engage in antisemitism and “punish” Jews for Israel’s real or perceived behavior. What Israel has or hasn’t done is irrelevant. In choosing to take their grievances out on Jews, the perpetrator is inherently engaging in antisemitism, which places them, and not Israel, at fault.

Israel’s political alliances in no way caused Ye’s antisemitism. Ye is trafficking in conspiracy theories that date back thousands of years, long before the establishment of the modern State of Israel. He has expressed admiration for a man who despised the idea of a sovereign Jewish state.

IfNotNow’s despicable claims are no different than accusing Jews of bringing massacres or the Holocaust onto ourselves. A “Jewish” organization (albeit one with an Episcopalian cofounder…) should know — and do — better. 

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