The 3 Types of Anti-Semitism
This week police discovered Nazi symbols in a middle school restroom near my home.
Last month a gunman burst into a San Diego synagogue and began shooting, killing a 60-year-old woman.
Six months before that, a domestic terrorist in Pittsburgh murdered 11 Jews at prayer. Antisemitism is growing across America. [It’s why I wrote the book First the Jews: Combatting the World’s Longest Running Hate Campaign.)
This antisemitism does not come in one flavor. It uses different justifications and ideologies. This diversity is part of what makes antisemitism so dangerous.
It is like a virus that mutates. We think we have quashed, but it comes back again in a different form.
Type 1: Right-Wing
The first type of sees Jews as sinister, dangerous, power-hungry globalists. The gunmen in Pittsburgh and in San Diego typified this view.
Jews, so they say, manipulate the media, Hollywood, Wall Street, and even the White House. They do so to enrich themselves. They are constantly scheming to steal and hurt others.
Antisemites with these views present the most immediate violent danger. Their ideology promotes violence. It predominates in white supremacist circles and the alt-right.
The antisemitism demands vigilance. While it has existed for a long time, it diminished among the economic prosperity of the 1990s, but it has crept up again in the wake of the Great Recession and rise of right-wing populism.
The most effective way to combat it is constant vigilance. We monitor hate sites, provide necessary security and call out antisemitism when we see it.
We work with schools and churches to educate and build ties. We hold our leaders accountable for their dangerous rhetoric.
We can never eliminate this form of antisemitism. But we can contain it.
The second type of antisemitism comes from Islamic extremism.
Type 2: From the Middle East
The second type of antisemitism comes from Islamic extremism. This antisemitism wants Israel erased from the map. This is the type of antisemitism we see in much of the Middle East.
The most effective way to combat it is military and political strength. But that is not the only approach.
We can also build ties with Muslim leaders who seek to co-exist and live in peace with Israel and the Jewish community. Fighting Islamaphobia can help combat antisemitism.
Type 3: From the Left
The third type of antisemitism comes from the extreme Left.
Recent examples abound. At the University of California at Berkeley, students recently echoed an increasingly popular claim that the Israeli army trains American police departments on how to better kill African-Americans.
Just last month the New York Times printed a cartoon with the Israeli Prime Minister on the face of a dog that could easily of appeared in a Nazi newspaper.
While the first type of anti-semitism presents the most immediate danger and potential for violence, this left-wing antisemitism worries me the most because it supports a narrative what turns Israel and the Jewish community into moral villains.
It pits Jews and Judaism against justice and peace. This tendency continues to intensify on college campuses and some political circles.
The least we can do is call out antisemitism from all sides. We cannot be tied down by our own political or social sympathies.
Antisemitism is wrong whether it comes from the Left or the Right.
Aside from calling it out, perhaps the most important thing we can do is work to heal the political and social divisions in our country.
Times of crisis and social anxiety usually coincide with a rise in antisemitism. We saw in the 1930s. We saw again in the mid-1960s. A society that can’t come together soon begins to fall apart.
For more information on all three type and what you can do about them, see my book First the Jews: Combatting the World’s Longest Running Hate Campaign