Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me
“Tolerance is not a synonym of weakness.”
Growing up with the children of Holocaust survivors, I learned it is always an anxious time to be an American Jew. If there isn’t a genuine threat to my safety, my brain can easily invent one.
The BF says it’s because when my grandparents were being raped and pillaged in Eastern Europe, his grandparents were looking at real estate on the Eastern Shore. We have different anxiety levels.
According to the AntiDefamation League, antisemitism is up and growing over the last five years.
In the past, most antisemitic acts were random acts of violence from personal hatred of Jews. But lately, the acts are from extremist, political ideology. Most recent acts of Antisemitism are being committed by the Far Right -in particular, white supremacist groups that are embraced by the Right.
It’s mind-boggling to me that the Jewish Orthodox community has embraced a president who said that the group in Charlottesville who shouted “Jews will not replace us” had some very fine people. He shares the same conspiracy theories about George Soros funding immigrant migration that some synagogue shooters do.
Antisemitism seems to be the backbone of most far-right groups and conspiracy theories. It certainly is behind QAnon and growing more so. The claim that rich Jews, including the Rothschild banking family, secretly control the world has long been a recurring feature in antisemitism and is behind QAnon theories. I was told that as a child as one of the explanations for Hitler’s popularity. I remember looking around my working-class Jewish neighborhood wondering how anyone could believe something like that.
The age-old anti-Semitic story claiming that Jews kill Christian children to harvest their blood for ritual purposes is making a comeback. I have a personal connection to that one. My last name means “holy seed” because my ex-husband is a descendent of a group of rabbis who defended a Jewish person accused of killing a Christian child to use his blood for a Passover service. They were ultimately killed in his place. I certainly didn’t think I would be hearing that ancient one again. QAnon sounds more and more like a rebranded Nazi cult. I didn’t hear Trump come out against them either.
Antisemitism has been called the world’s oldest hatred. It’s been used throughout centuries to explain all the bad things that happen in a society. It becomes more prominent in times of economic distress and political unrest. My mother used to say that the world needs someone to blame for their troubles. We have a lot of troubles right now.
Antisemitism is on the rise in Europe as well. It isn’t just “hillbillies raising a confederate flag.” This isn’t an isolated hatred. Don’t stay silent. Two Qanon supporters were elected to Congress this year. Isn’t that how the Nazis started? No one took them seriously and look what happened.
PS I wrote this blog post on Monday. On Wednesday among the many ugly, white supremacist groups storming the capitol were Nazis. Carrying swastika flags and wearing shirts that said things like “Camp Auschwitz STAFF, work brings freedom” and “6MWE” (which stands for “six million weren’t enough,” a reference to the number of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust). The Nazis made themselves right at home in the Capitol stoking fear and sending a clear message of the hate and violence they represent. They were not patriots, Jewish Ivanka.