𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒓𝒆𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒄 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒅𝒖𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒂’𝒔 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒉𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒔 𝒐𝒏 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔, 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒂𝒄𝒕. 𝑰𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒂 𝒅𝒐𝒆𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒊𝒕 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒂 𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒆. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝒍𝒊𝒎𝒊𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒊𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑱𝒆𝒘𝒔 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂 𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒕.
A few days ago, at the behest of the antisemitic organization The Rights Forum, administrators at more than a dozen Dutch universities instructed their staff to list their interactions with Israeli and Jewish organizations, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
The request demanded “to receive all information about the period from January 1, 2012 to January 24, 2022, more than ten years. And all of this must be submitted, if possible on paper, within 28 days.” One university employee quipped, “What is the next step? That Jews in universities should all wear a yellow star?” Holland’s Chief Rabbi was not amused at all. “What really concerns me,” he said, “is the number of universities that were so compliant with such an evidently antisemitic request. It reminds us that most mayors cooperated during the occupation to pass on the names of their Jewish citizens to the Germans.”
Reports about antisemitic incidents are flooding the media, and all carry the same message: Antisemitism is rising. It is true that antisemitic incidents have risen, but I do not think that Jew-hatred is rising or falling. Jew-hatred always exists in the heart of every non-Jew; it is a constant. What does change, however, is the extent to which people allow themselves to express it, and this depends on the media. The more the media reports such incidents, and especially, the more it reports them with a “somber” tone that implies escalation of antisemitism, the more it emboldens and galvanizes antisemites.
By media, I mean all forms of media: social media, TV and radio channels, newspapers, books, journals, magazines, and anything that hits the air and somehow reaches the public. If the media were to stop reporting antisemitic incidents, the frequency of antisemitic incidents would drop instantly. It would not diminish Jew-hatred, but it would diminish its overt, and mainly violent expression.
Regrettably, this will not happen. “Antisemitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together,” said Dr. Kurt Fleischer, leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, in 1929. The hidden hatred keeps looking for ways to vent itself, and the best place to air hatred is the media.
The only way to curb expressions of hatred is to dissolve it, and the only way to dissolve hatred toward Jews is to dissolve the hatred among Jews.
Wittingly or not, the people of Israel are always at the center of attention. From the very beginning, when we forged a nation out of descendants of outcasts from every nation in the Fertile Crescent, we were designated to be the world’s heroes or pariahs. The unbelievable feat that the early Hebrews had achieved in establishing their nationhood against all odds and above all the hatred they had felt for one another was a precedent no one since has managed to replicate. Even the Jews fell in and out of love with one another until they finally dissolved in a bloody civil war that dissolved their nation and brought upon them Titus, who conquered Jerusalem, destroyed what was left of the Temple, and exiled the starved relics to Rome.
Since then, Jews have been persona non grata wherever they went. If they were tolerated, it was only because the ruler exploited them for political or monetary gains, usually the latter, but it never lasted.
The Jews will be welcome wherever they go only if they first unite among themselves. Unity is not their shield against adversaries; it is the example they must give the world. When they unite, the world welcomes them and says, “It is becoming to cling only to this nation,” as the book Sifrey Devarim writes. When they are divided, what happens is what is happening today, what happened in 1492, and what happened in the 1940s.
We need to understand that the media opens and closes the valve on expressions of antisemitism, but our actions for or against each other determine whether the media opens or closes the valve.
More on this topic in my book 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘑𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘊𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦: 𝘜𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘈𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘚𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘮, 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘚𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘮 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘑𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘥.
Posted on The Times of Israel, Facebook