Anti-Semitism Is a Hatred Unlike Any Other

Aug. 10 2021
About Ruth

Ruth R. Wisse is professor emerita of Yiddish and comparative literatures at Harvard and a distinguished senior fellow at Tikvah. Her memoir Free as a Jew: a Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation, chapters of which appeared in Mosaic in somewhat different form, is out from Wicked Son Press.

In a recent speech that caused much controversy in the Israeli press, Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid equated anti-Semites with the Hutus who slaughtered Tutsis in Rwanda, “those who beat young LGBT people to death,” and other perpetrators of violent discrimination. He went on to argue that “anti-Semitism is racism, so let’s talk to all those who oppose racism. . . . Anti-Semitism is hatred of outsiders, so let’s recruit anyone who was ever an outsider and tell them—this is your fight too.” But to Ruth Wisse, anti-Semitism isn’t just a generic form of bigotry:

Anti-Semitism is a form of hatred, but it’s more than that. People organize against the Jews as part of an ideological struggle. Scapegoating Jews for the suffering of another people provides an explanation for its misery, an outlet for its anger, and a target for its aggression. From its founding in the 1870s to its current American intersectional variant, anti-Semitism has the unique power to build grievance coalitions between Marxists and Muslims, fascists and fundamentalists, atheists and believers, nationalists, internationalists, CEOs, and academics.

Zionists who thought anti-Semitism was directed against them because of their dispersion were surprised to find it was even easier to blame them in their homeland. But a small people with a hugely magnified image proved the perfect foil for any anti-liberal cause. When Representative Rashida Tlaib claims that people working “behind the curtain” to stop a “free Palestine” are “profiting” off Americans, she obviously isn’t talking about Tutsis or gays.

While Israelis have no choice but to repel those who attack them, some Americans and Jews prefer to ignore or justify the aggression. Progressives say: Who, us? We’re anti-fascist, so how can we be Jew-baiters? Ignorant or disingenuous, they ignore that the driving force of anti-Jewish politics since 1945 has been not fascism but the Arab-Muslim war against the Jewish state, supported by Marxist ideology.

More than hate, anti-Semitism deforms all those who organize politics against the Jews.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, Rashida Tlaib, Yair Lapid

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security