the Jew among the nations


"Fifty years ago, prognosticators said: 'Antisemitism, it's a historical fact of the past. You don't have to worry about it.' They said: 'In 50 years, Israel will be a normal nation among all the nations.' Boy, how wrong they were! Israel has become 'the Jew among the nations'." 

Holocaust survivor and former ADL director Abe Foxman 


"Now that there is [a Jewish state], antisemitism is rising from its ashes, or rather, from Our ashes, and it's called anti-Zionism. It has applied to individuals, now it applies to a nation."

Herbert Pagani, "A Plea For My Land," 1975.



Please note: this post is not about Israel. It’s not about the Israeli government. It’s not about Israeli policies. It’s not about anything Israel has or hasn’t done, since October 7 or before then. This post is not meant to deflect any accountability or responsibility for Israel’s deeds or misdeeds. 

This post is about what the largely non-Jewish world considers acceptable attitudes and behaviors toward Israel and Israelis, attitudes and behaviors that are not considered acceptable by any stretch in any other scenario. It’s about the obvious, glaring projection of an ancient hatred onto one state — the Jewish state. The one Jewish state in a sea of hundreds of Christian and Muslim states. The one Jewish state which amounts to 0.1 percent of the landmass of the Middle East. The one Jewish state where half the Jews in the entire planet live.

Nearly eight decades after the Holocaust, it has become clearer than ever that the Nazi genocide disturbed the world order of antisemitism. The Nazis’ crimes were so upsetting, so unbelievably heinous, so shocking, that the civilized world lost its taste for blatant, overt antisemitism. But if there’s one thing antisemitism knows how to do, it’s to mutate. As poet Herbert Pagani said in 1975, “antisemitism is rising from its ashes, or rather, from Our ashes, and it's called anti-Zionism. It has applied to individuals, now it applies to a nation."



Antisemitism is known as the world’s oldest hatred. The fact of the matter is that a form of bigotry as old as antisemitism can only survive throughout the span of millennia and spread across fundamentally different cultures around the entire globe because it knows how to adapt to any given society. 

To understand how antisemitism moves, you must understand that its predominant function is to transform Jews into whatever given quality is most hated in any particular society. For example, in Europe in the Middle Ages, Jews were persecuted because we were “Christ-killers.” When the Bubonic Plague ravaged Europe, we were persecuted on the basis that we were responsible for its spread by allegedly “poisoning the wells.” With the advent of scientific racism and social Darwinism in the nineteenth century, we became the inferior race, a stain on human evolution. In the communist Soviet Union, we were capitalists and an arm of western imperialism; in Nazi Germany and McCarthyist America, we were communists.

Antisemitism always, without fail, turns Jews into whatever you despise the most. That’s how it survives.

Let me give you an example. In the 1940s, Syrian nationalist Fayez Sayigh was a member of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party, a Nazi-inspired, fascist party. Back then, his hatred for Jews was rooted in Nazi-esque racial science. In the 1960s, during the period of decolonization period, Sayigh amended his tune, justifying his hatred for “Zionism” by being the first to argue that Zionism was a form of “settler-colonialism.” Where once he argued that Jews were members of an inferior race, now he argued that Zionism was a movement rooted in the Jewish belief of Jewish racial supremacy. In other words, for his antisemitic sentiments to survive, he simply flipped the script. 

Which brings us to 2024. Among the western left, at least in theory, to be a racist, settler-colonialist is the worst thing you can possibly be. It’s no surprise, then, that the Jewish state is now depicted as such. 



The Soviet Union and the Nazis were, of course, mortal enemies. In fact, 27 million Soviet citizens were killed in Word War II. 

While the world certainly had ongoing knowledge of the Nazi atrocities against the Jews, the unbearably gruesome imagery coming out of the death camps post-liberation shocked the world. That’s not to say, however, that the world revised its antisemitic sentiments; indeed, thousands of Jews were slaughtered at the hands of their neighbors post-liberation, and the United States and Great Britain infamously treated Jewish Holocaust survivors inhumanely in the years following the war. However, disdain for Nazism was prevalent. 

Following the Holocaust, antisemitism became heavily associated with Nazism. As such, the Soviets, many of whom had long expressed antisemitic views, 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.

To strengthen their sphere of influence over Arab and African nations, the Soviets launched a covert operation against Israel, named Sionistskiye Gosudarstva, meaning “Zionist Governments.” According to KGB chairman Yuri Andropov (1967-1982), “We had only to keep repeating our themes—that the United States and Israel were ‘fascist, imperial-Zionist countries’ bankrolled by rich Jews.’”



As has happened just about every year for decades, Israel’s participation in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest was controversial, increasingly so because of its ongoing war in Gaza. But instead of merely taking their displeasure out on Eurovision, Eurovision fans, spectators, locals to the city where the contest was held, and fellow contestants took their anger out on Israel’s participant, 20-year-old Israeli singer Eden Golan.

The threats on Eden’s life were such that she had to be transported from the hotel to the venue in a caravan of dozens of armored police vehicles, a level of security usually reserved for presidents and top members of the royal family. Crowds of thousands gathered around the caravans in motion, throwing objects and kicking the vehicles. What can only be described as a lynch mob of thousands gathered outside Eden’s hotel room and the Eurovision venue; at one point, an Israeli reporter was violently bludgeoned. 

Inside the venue, crowds loudly booed Eden whenever she came on stage, shouting “free Palestine,” “genocide,” and a myriad of insults. Fellow contestants bullied and mocked her publicly, with some going so far as to refuse being seen in her vicinity. The Irish contestant demanded to switch rooms at the hotel because they refused to be near her, and claimed that their team “cried” when Eden advanced to the final. It was absolutely abhorrent behavior that should’ve gotten the other contestants disqualified for their lack of sportsmanship, but they faced no consequences. Instead, no one batted an eye, thus legitimizing that behavior toward the Israeli contestant as somehow acceptable. 

Contrast this, for example, with the Azeri contestant, who did not experience any of the same horrific treatment, despite the fact that several months ago, within the span of one week, Azerbaijan expelled 100% of the Armenian population of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) from their homes, after the Azeri government issued a genocide threat to Armenians: “If you do not want to die, then get out of Azerbaijani lands.” If the excuse is that Eden has not come out against her government, well…neither has the Azeri contestant. Azerbaijan, like Israel, has mandatory conscription. It’s a bogus excuse. 



Every single time I point out the facts which force people to confront their flagrant double standard of what they consider to be acceptable treatment toward Israeli individuals, instead of reflecting, they dig their heels in and continue to justify, excuse, justify, or rationalize outrageous behavior such as sending a lynch mob of 20,000 people to attack a 20-year-old Israeli singer.

These justifications, rationalizations, and excuses always, without fail, amount to stereotypes, generalizations, and collective punishment, from the people who claim to oppose collective punishment, no less. 

Oh, you think it’s acceptable to send a lynch mob to an Israel artist because Israelis aren’t all on the streets demanding an end to the war? Well, do you hold members of any other nation embroiled in a war, genocide, or other human rights violations to the same standard, or would you rightfully call out that behavior for what it is — blatant bigotry? Do you see every (or even most) member(s) of those nations out protesting in the streets, or is this a standard you only reserve for Israelis? Do you demand Russians, Iranians, Turkish people, Chinese people, and more pass a litmus test before you decide to treat them like human beings?

Others have used the excuse that the singer for Luxembourg is Israeli born, and she was not subjected to the same treatment. First of all, most people probably don’t know she’s Israeli, but also, you’re entirely missing the point. The fact that you think that it’s acceptable to abuse the representative for Israel merely because she’s the representative for Israel is your antisemitism speaking. Once again, you are treating Israel as a pariah state, as “the Jew among the nations.” “Israel” and “Zionist” have become the no-so-subtle placeholders for “Jew.”



We know this vitriol targeting Israel is rooted in antisemitism because it’s in the exact same nature of the vitriol that Jews experienced for the past three millennia. It’s rooted in the exact same antisemitic tropes, stereotypes, conspiracies, double standards, and falsehoods — literally word for word. 

Israel is not above contempt, and it should hold itself to the standard of any democracy. But what we are seeing is overwhelmingly not sincere critique of Israeli policies. It’s the delegitimization of Israel’s entire existence, and, by extension, the existence of Israelis as human beings. While once antisemites denied the right of Jews to exist, today they deny the right of the Jewish country to exist, subjecting its citizens to the exact same demonization that has long been reserved for Jews.

The excuses are tired. The claim that Israel’s very existence is illegitimate because of the Nakba as its “founding sin” is not only an enormous distortion of historical events (I have a myriad of posts on this), but proportionally does not even come close to the “founding sins” of hundreds of nations across the world, whose establishments were exponentially bloodier, crueler, and more brutal, yet are never subjected to near the amount (or any) delegitimization. The claim that Israel is illegitimate because it was “created by the British” (another historical falsehood) or the United Nations somehow refuses to take into account that nearly every country on the map in the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East was carved out by the European powers. The delegitimization of Jewish history, and the continuous Jewish history in Israel, specifically, is used to justify this vitriolic double standard. I hope I don’t need to tell you that that’s antisemitism. 

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