deja vu



Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic. But criticism of a Israel should be…well, actual criticism. Informed critiques of Israeli policy, actions, and/or politicians are perfectly fine. Projecting antisemitic tropes, conspiracies, and/or stereotypes onto the one Jewish state in the world is antisemitic. Holding the one Jewish state in the world to double standards is antisemitic. 

Why is projecting antisemitic tropes, conspiracies, and stereotypes onto the Jewish state antisemitic? Why are double standards against the Jewish state antisemitic?

Because antisemitism is a bigotry not only directed at Jewish individuals or individuals perceived to be Jewish, but most importantly, a bigotry directed at the Jewish people as a collective. There is nothing more “collective” about the Jewish people than the State of Israel. The State of Israel proclaims itself to be the Jewish state. It uses Jewish symbolism for its national symbols. And nearly half of the world’s Jewish population lives there.

So if Israel is the greatest manifestation of the Jewish collective, then why is it that holding Jews collectively responsible for Israeli policies is antisemitic?

Because antisemitism homogenizes Jews, depicting us as an antisemitic stereotype. In this case, the perception is that the Jewish people are a nefarious group manipulating everything for our own benefit. In the antisemite’s mind, whatever Israel does or doesn’t do is part of this supposed collective Jewish master plan. And because antisemites see Jews as a singular unit, they hold each and every one of us responsible for every move Israel makes. And while it’s true that Jews are a community — a people — this community is comprised of about 15 million individuals, with an enormous range of different political views and relationships to Israel.



Following the Holocaust, antisemitism became heavily associated with Nazism. As such, the Soviets, many of whom had long expressed antisemitic views (e.g. Stalin), began persecuting Jews under the guise of anti-Zionism instead.

Interestingly, however, the Soviets were never covert about the fact that their “anti-Zionism” was actually just antisemitism. In the 1960s, Soviet propaganda (such as newspapers) made blatantly antisemitic claims, including: “The character of the Jewish religion serves the political aims of the Zionists,” “Zionism is inextricable from Judaism, rooted in the idea of the exclusiveness of the Jewish People,” comparisons of Judaism to the Italian mafia, and claims that Israel was merely a means to an end of Jewish imperialism and world domination.

Soviet “anti-Zionist” campaigns led to the persecution and repression of Soviet Jewry — whether they identified as Zionists or not. For example, the USSR heavily suppressed Jewish cultural and spiritual life, stripping many Jewish families of thousands of years’ worth of history. Though not officially illegal, Jews were punished for speaking or studying Hebrew or participating in religious traditions. Jews were not allowed to assimilate into Soviet society due to their ethnic background, but they were also criminalized if they tried to hang on to their ancient traditions, ultimately resulting in a catch-22. Oftentimes, Jews were imprisoned under false pretenses, with the Soviet government accusing them of “Zionist crimes.” People with Jewish last names were subject to highly restrictive university quotas or banned from performing certain jobs.

Another example is the Doctors’ Plot. More on that later. 



The antisemitic conspiracy theory of blood libel asserts that Jews murder non-Jewish children for ritual purposes. Over the millennia, the trope has evolved. One of these evolutions is the blood libel of organ harvesting, which asserts that Israel murders Palestinians to harvest their organs. 

The original source of the blood libel is literally a Swedish tabloid article from 2009. Even the article itself states, “But whether it’s true or not – I have no idea, I have no clue.”

A few months later, an old interview was published on Israeli television with the former chief pathologist at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, regarding the issue, and the story was taken completely out of context. What actually happened was this: in the 1990s, after receiving permission from the families to perform autopsies, the corneas of dead Israelis of all backgrounds, including fallen Israeli soldiers, were taken for medical research, without explicit permission from the families. This is something that has not happened in 23 years. 

Now there is a group called EuroMed Rights that is alleging Israel is stealing Palestinian corpses in the current war to steal their organs. EuroMed Rights is actually not an NGO in and of itself but rather an umbrella organization for a bunch of NGOs. The NGOs under EuroMed Rights in Israel and the Palestinian Territories have close affiliations with the PFLP, an internationally-recognized terrorist organization. 



This Tweet is quite literally straight out of the Doctors’ Plot. 

The Doctors’ Plot was an antisemitic campaign that took place during Stalin’s reign of the Soviet Union. Between 1951-1953, Stalin alleged that Jewish doctors from Moscow had conspired to assassinate Soviet leaders. Jewish doctors were dismissed from their jobs, arrested, and tortured. A massive propaganda campaign warning of the dangers of “Zionism” was enacted throughout the Soviet state. People with Jewish last names were condemned. 

Following Stalin’s death, the Soviet government admitted that there was no evidence for the alleged plot. As such, the charges were dismissed. Later, it became clear that all of the allegations were entirely fabricated. 



Antisemitism moves through conspiracy theories. The biggest conspiracy of all is that Jews are all-powerful, capable of controlling everything from wars to the weather. This is the conspiracy that drives almost all other antisemitic conspiracies: that Jews control the world banks, that Jews run Hollywood, that Jews run the media, that Jews (or “Zionists”) run the American government, and so, so much more. 

Antisemitism functions very differently than other forms of bigotry. While other bigotries see their victims as “inferior,” antisemites perceive Jews to be supernatural in a sense, powerful, sinister, and manipulative. 

Jews form 0.2 percent of the world population. Israel forms 0.1 percent of the world’s population and consists of 0.1 percent of the land mass of the Middle East. Believe it or not, we are not all in cahoots on some major conspiracy to run the world.



The antisemitic conspiracy of dual loyalty — that Jews are only truly loyal to each other — has cost millions of Jewish lives, millennia before the establishment of the State of Israel.

And yes, most Jews have a relationship or connection to Israel. It’s only natural to feel attached to the land that birthed your people and is inextricably embedded into your entire culture. Just as many second and third generation immigrants feel attached to their home countries*, most Jews feel attached to Israel. That doesn’t mean that we are capable of controlling what the people in the Israeli government choose to do. Like you, we are only human, and like you, we can only control our own actions. 

*Would you hold, say, a Mexican restaurant which hangs a Mexican flag responsible for Mexico’s discrimination of Guatemalan asylum seekers on its southern border? 



This is a mock-up depicting missile attacks on Israel. It has absolutely nothing to do with sex offenders, but to the internet, this seems not to matter. 

The trope of Jewish “sexual perversion” dates all the way back to at least the Middle Ages, when Europeans claimed that the Jewish practice of circumcision was actually pedophilic in nature. Oftentimes, accusations of blood libel were accompanied by accusations of sexual perversion and childhood sexual abuse.

By the eighteenth century, European antisemitic propaganda linked Jews to bestiality and other forms of lust; they used the depictions of promiscuity in the Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] as proof. A century later, with the rise of scientific racism, the claims only worsened. Jews and Black folks, in particular, were depicted as racially inferior and sexually deviant. Jewish men were depicted as effeminate. 

The most infamous antisemitic hoax of all time, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, accused Jews of dominating the “smut market,” with the goal of spreading sexual depravity in society. As early as 1920, Hitler already accused Jews of “childhood sexual trafficking.”



Replacement theology is one of the oldest, most pervasive, and difficult to combat manifestations of antisemitism, because it’s deeply ingrained into religious doctrine. 

Christian Replacement Theology — also known as Christian Supersessionism or Christian Fulfillment Theology —  is the idea that the Christian Church has replaced Jews as God’s covenanted people. Christian Supersessionism also asserts that the Christian Church has “succeeded” ancient Israel as God’s “true Israel.” 

In a similar vein, Islam teaches that it is the final, most authentic iteration of Abrahamic monotheism, thus superseding both Judaism and Christianity. Some Muslims believe that the earlier scriptures — beginning with the Torah — have been corrupted. This concept is known as tahrif.

In the earliest days of Islam, Muhammad proselytized to the Jewish tribes of the Arabian Peninsula by emphasizing Islam’s Biblical foundations. Most Jews rejected and resented Muhammad’s interpretation, even going so far as accusing him of appropriating historical Biblical figures in the Quran. 

Anti-Zionism, at its core, is not inherently supersessionist. Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionism, or Jewish self-determination in the ancestral Jewish homeland. What is supersessionist is a common justification for anti-Zionism: the denial of Jewish history in the Land of Israel and/or the appropriation of Jewish history as Palestinian. 

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