How does one describe an antisemite?

Jan 15, 2014 | Antisemitism, Judaism

The revered Desmond Tutu said:

Whether Jews like it or not, they are a peculiar people. They can’t ever hope to be judged by the same standards which are used for other people.


The Jews thought they had a monopoly of God: Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings.

How does one describe an antisemite? How would you know that you or your organization is anti-Jewish, not just critical of Israel, but anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, antisemitic?

I realized this article had to be written after I read Editor of HuffPost Gay Voices,
Noah Michelson’s blog: Here’s an Easy Test to Find Out If You’re Anti-Gay (And Maybe Don’t Even Know It). I’ve received comments on my blogs that ask “Why don’t the Jews ask themselves why they are so hated?”

Doesn’t that sound a bit like blaming the victim? Like asking a girl what she’d done to get raped, or a young person what was wrong with him that he was a target of bullies. “What’s the matter with you people?”

Can you imagine the uproar, not only on the politically correct left but also on the right, if someone asked “why are you so hated” of blacks, gays or Muslims?

jewish_star_350In March 2012, The Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department of Malaysia sent out an official sermon to be read in all mosques: Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behaviour and murders performed by them. There are no Jews in Malaysia. Can you imagine saying this about other groups with impunity? Never. That’s antisemitism.

These are examples of displays of endemic, systemic antisemitism. In a world of 7 billion people, there are only 14 million Jews today. That means that multi-millions of Jew-haters have never met a Jew. Their dislike for Jews is engrained and deeply embedded in what Richard Dawkins refers to as a “cultural meme.” This Jew-hating meme is more than 2,000 years old, and I think many of those who profess these things have no idea they are speaking hate. These hate-filled comments are as natural as breathing. Judeophobia / antisemitism is in the bones, the connective tissue, the very sinew of our culture, layer upon layer of hate for one people and one people only.

Since the death of Christ, Jews have been blamed for his crucifixion and refusing to accept Jesus as their saviour. In the last 40 years, enlightened leaders of the Catholic Church have apologized for these statements and their incitement to kill and maim Jews for being Jews. Pope Francis has clearly stated that a good Catholic cannot be antisemitic. But this is a conviction that’s up against millennia of hate.

When Martin Luther broke away from the Catholic Church during the Reformation and developed Protestantism, he reached out to the Jews believing impediments to coming to Christ were now removed. When the Jews refused to follow, Luther attacked them – for being Jews.

With the birth of Islam and the refusal of the Jews to follow in the footsteps of Mohammed, the Jews were again attacked – for being Jews.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing Israel. It’s no more perfect than Canada or any other Western country. All democracies have problems. It becomes antisemitism when Israel is criticized at the expense of all other people in need of help. When voices scream against actions taken in Israel without a word about the actions taken in autocratic, theocratic, despotic regimes or other democracies, that’s antisemitism.

When Europeans have no problem making a deal with Morocco over stolen fisheries, or with Turkey in occupied Cyprus, but decline a project in Israel over “occupied” territories, that’s antisemitism.

There was no problem in Romania when public broadcaster TVR3 transmitted Christmas carols with lyrics that celebrated the Holocaust and called for the burning of ‘kikes’; the “N” word for Jews. Yes, the songs were pulled and the government intervened after an international uproar. But the Dor Transilvan ensemble and those who broadcast the show didn’t have a second thought. Burn Jews? Okay. That’s antisemitism.

When the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights blamed Israel for Arab wives beaten by their husbands: that’s antisemitism.

When the Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs, Rabiha Diab, felt quite comfortable blaming the violence toward Arab women by Arab men on Israel: The Israeli occupation is the one practising the utmost violence … it’s the main thing keeping us from advancing – that’s antisemitism.

When Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said: Allah has imposed upon the Jews a continuing punishment for their corruption. The last was led by Hitler. There is no dialogue with them other than the sword and the gun. We pray to Allah to kill every last one of them, and not a word of condemnation – that’s antisemitism.

Italian Andrea Zunino, spokesman for the Forconi, recently declared:

We want the government to resign…We want the sovereignty of Italy, which today is slave to the bankers, like the Rothschilds. It is curious that five or six of the richest people in the world are Jews, but this is something I need to investigate.

That’s antisemitism.

When organizations have no trouble attacking Zionism, denying the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state – that’s antisemitism.

Teaching hate and encouraging the murder of Jews is antisemitism.

Renowned Christian Evangelist leader Billy Graham felt comfortable in the 1970s discussing the Jews with President Richard Nixon. Nixon commented on the Jewish domination of the media. Graham concurred and said the Jewish stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain. To which Nixon replied: Oh, boy. So do I. I can’t ever say that but I believe it. That’s systemic, endemic antisemitism.

When one of the most memorable moments in George Orwell’s1984 is the Two-Minutes Hate in which the audience of the left-wing tyranny is whipped into a deranged frenzy at the image of a bespectacled Jewish figure on a movie screen: That’s iconic antisemitism.

For hundreds of years there has been this “Jewish Question.” What will we do with the Jews? The Jewish Question is sui generis antisemitic. No other culture, religion or ethnicity has been questioned the way the Jews as a people have been questioned. And this question can only be posed because the hate is so engrained. Gay pride, black pride, feminism have been embraced. We stand together in their fight for their human rights. But standing with the Jewish people? Embracing the Jewish people?

When someone in Toronto can stand up at Queen’s Park and say” Kill the Jews” and the city and the police turn a blind eye and that man is not be taken into custody immediately, that’s systemic antisemitism. And the people who stood by and said nothing, that’s endemic antisemitism. And when only two media outlets reported on that incident, one of them my blog on Huffington Post: that’s systemic antisemitism in the media.

If someone had stood up and screamed “Kill the Gays,” there would have been outrage.

From the words of Desmond Tutu to the call of murder against Jews, and no one speaks.

That’s antisemitism.

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