I get it, you don’t want to be friends with Israel. I get it, you don’t even like Israel even though you have never even been there. I get you, you know more than many of us who have stepped foot on the land. I get it, you care for Palestinians. But just because you do not want to be friends with Israel, does not mean you need to also be an enemy. We have enough enemies. While you may never validate the antisemitism that is deeply ingrained in those who are truly anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish, such as Hamas, we, the Jewish people, want you to know that we see it and feel it. Because while the world continues to demonize the Israeli government and the Israeli people, some also see it as a free pass to join in on Jewish hate crimes. And that should concern you.
Violent Anti-Jewish Hate Crimes are Normalized
Jewish hate crimes continue to rise. According to the ADL, a worldwide organization that monitors anti-Semitism, “the recent increase in global antisemitism is due to the triple threat of extreme right nationalism, extreme left antisemitism, often in the guise of anti-Israel rhetoric, and violent Islamist radicalism.”
In fact, while we make up a small population, in the United States, Jews are ranked the highest for hate crimes. Though Jews only make up 13% of the population in NYC, they are victims of nearly 50% of hate crimes.
We’ve watched the violent anti-Semitism rise in Europe, then in the US, and now, it has arrived here in Canada. Now my family and friends are warning loved ones to be vigilant when walking the streets and many do not feel safe. For the record, antisemitism also tops the hate crime list in Canada.
But just this week there are reports coming out of the United Kingdom that there has been a 400% increase in antisemitism in the past week. Apparently, just today the statistic has risen to 600%.
Let me also say that this is no coincidence: Hamas has been calling for Pro-Palestinians across the globe to take up arms against Jews — and they are listening.
But is anyone listening to us?
Israel is Held to a Higher Standard than Other Countries
Did you know that the United Nations is no friend to Israel? That they in fact hold a disproportionate amount of human rights violations against Israel compared to other countries.
According to Jewish Virtual Library:
Despite being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel routinely faces more criticism and condemnation at the United Nations than any other country, including those that systematically kill their citizens or deny them the most basic of human rights. Even today, both the General Assembly and Security Council continue to pass one-sided resolutions that single out and condemn the Jewish State. Additionally, an overwhelmingly powerful bloc led by the Arab nations promotes a narrow and slanderous agenda meant to isolate Israel that has met little resistance.
If you are curious to read about the resolutions in more detail, then be my guest. Personally, I’ve always wondered why it’s acceptable for others to show their love for their country, despite disagreeing with government policies, but we aren’t afforded this same right.
Why is it that the Palestinian struggle has become so popularized, mobilized, and accepted that the other side is seen as evil?
Why is it that when the crisis in the Middle East goes up in flames that hate spreads around the world, and Jews become targets of hate crimes?
Could it be because antisemitism is more closely linked to anti-Zionism than you think?
But I digress, because, as you say, you’re not antisemitic “just” because you don’t agree with Israel’s policies.
No, that’s not what makes you antisemitic.
What makes you antisemitic is that you want to convince me that Hamas are “freedom fighters” when they are calling for death to the Jews all over the streets around the globe, resulting in an increase in hate crimes.
Stop Legitimizing Hamas and Delegitimizing Israel
I have always wondered why it’s okay to legitimize a terrorist-run organization like Hamas while delegitimizing the only democracy in the Middle East.
Hamas is a world-recognized terrorist organization that recently destabilized the land for political gain. Since 2005, 20,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.
During the recent breakout, over 2000 rockets have attacked Israel.
And yet, every day the history of the Holocaust is weaponized and used against us. Both our homeland and our people are often referred to as Nazis now. That is pretty sick and twisted, is it not?
If that is not gaslighting then I do not know what is.
According to the Algemeiner, Progressive Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York has delivered an impassioned defense of the State of Israel in the face of the escalating military threat from Hamas:
Torres remarked that “what is under siege is not only Israel.”
“What is under siege is the truth itself. Circulating on social media is a vicious lie – a lie that deceptively reframes the terrorism of Hamas as self-defense and deceptively reframes the self-defense of Israel as terrorism. Increasingly, we seem to live in an Orwellian universe where the truth no longer matters.”
Then we are told that we “used” our history of the Holocaust to somehow trick the world into granting us Israel. Jews endured the world’s largest genocide, a history of systemic persecution, forced conversion, exile, and more, but somehow we were “opportunistic.”
Because, you know those Jews are sneaky with their plans to rule the world, which stems from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, old antisemitic propaganda.
Just last week in my city of Toronto, there was a pro-Palestinian rally that turned ugly and Jews were assaulted, including one sexual assault.
However, not even a week later, Yahoo News, reports that the real extremist “terrorists” here was the Jew who was attacked because he is part of a task force that fights anti-Semitism — The Jewish Defense League.
Let. That. Sink. In.
Now, an organization meant to protect Jews from hate crimes is being depicted as terrorists.
As a Jew, I am sick of my homeland, religion, and people being dragged through the mud due to our resilience in the face of adversity.
On the other hand, we have endured so much persecution that Jews are a modern-day miracle according to Mark Twain:
If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmaties, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
The Forgotten Jewish Refugees of Arab Countries
Did you know that Jews fled many Arab countries, many by force, once Israel was created?
No one cares that Jews were either forced out of Arab-controlled lands or inclined to leave due to escalating tensions between Jews and Muslims even in the most amicable of relations like the Jews and Arabs of Morrocco.
Here are some facts by Jewish Resistance for you to ponder:
1.9 Million Arabs are citizens of Israel (21% of the population), while less than 20K Jews remain citizens of the 22 Arab countries.
Now I want to ask you: Where did all the Jews of the Arab countries go?
Why is it that when we speak of claims to land that no one cares about our claims to all the lands we have historically had to pick up and leave from?
If you look at my ancestry alone you will see how a home has always been hard to pinpoint for us. That is the reason we have identified so strongly with our religion instead of our homeland until Israel was born.
While my paternal side has ties to Spain dating back to the Spanish Inquisition, we ended up taking refuge in Tangiers, Morocco. My maternal side is from Romania and was taken to the ghettoes of Transnistria in the Holocaust before fleeing to Caracas, Venezuela. Eventually, both families immigrated to Canada where my parents met here in Toronto.
Zionism is Not an Evil Movement
Why has Zionism come to be something that is evil? When other minority groups mobilize towards self-determination they are supported. And yet, Zionism has been hijacked, masked, gagged, and renamed as terrorism.
Somehow Zionism has been equated with extremism when it was a belief for Jews to return to their homeland post-Holocaust. It is the belief that a Jewish state has the right to self-determination. Nothing less. Nothing more.
Israel wants peace with Palestinians but the cause has been hijacked by Hamas and that is where all the humanitarian aid is going to and no one is doing anything about it?
Have you ever read Eli Wiesel’s memoir on the Holocaust – Night? If you read it then you will know and feel what Zionism truly meant and how that hope to make a Jewish homeland is what truly kept him alive in the dead of the night.
Jews Are Not White
Another issue that Jews are facing is being told that they have “white privilege” when we were never good enough to be white in the first place, so why now? According to Hitler we sure as fuck weren’t white, but now we’re being told that we are white. Which one is it?
It’s the one we tell you. We define ourselves. You don’t get to define us. And no — we are not white. Peace activist, Rudy Rochman says it best:
Jews are not white. White is way more than a skin color; but rather an experience, status, and origin from Europe. Jews, no matter where their displaced experience, are culturally, historically, and genetically a Levantine People and have constantly been hunted by white societies for not being white.
You need to listen when we tell you we are not white. You need to respect the way we define ourselves and stop imposing your definitions on us.
Terrorism Seeps Through the Cracks — No Matter How “Sophisticated” Israel’s Intelligence and Defence Force Is
Many critics like to say how far developed and accelerated Israel’s weaponry system is while stating that Palestinians only have sticks and stones. To this, I say that Israel only built what was necessary to protect their people.
Because even when Israel has the most advanced weapons, Palestine has something stronger — hatred for Jews. This is because Hamas — a terrorist organization is in control.
This is because Hamas will not stop at anything. When Israel kills one terrorist, a whole cell grows, like beheading a monster, who only grows more heads when you take one out.
Again, Hamas has recently launched over 2000 rockets at Israel.
The hatred that Hamas teaches Palestinian children, training them to kill Jews, will never cease-fire.
Because when we build a partition, they come by foot.
When we build a dome, they come by hand.
Did you know now that the most popular form of terrorizing a Jew on the streets of Israel is now by brandishing a knife?
This is the newest training offered to the freedom fighters.
Worldwide Spread of Anti-Jewish Hate
Did you also know that Jews around the world now feel unsafe due to rising acts of violent antisemitism?
Did you know there are only 15 million Jews all around the world? There are 1.25 billion Muslims.
What we watched unfold before our eyes in France is scary and sobering. Not one, but two elderly Jewish women were murdered, Mireille Knoll (2018) and Sarah Halimi (2017). Just a few weeks ago thousands turned out to protest the decision not to try Halimi’s murderer because he was high on marijuana.
But it seems like the only people who are being sobered are the Jews.
Just the other night, pro-Palestinian activists, beat on two Jewish patrons at a sushi restaurant in West Hollywood.
My extended family who has lived in Toronto since 1964 is now fearful to walk with a Jewish skullcap.
We have never felt this way in Toronto before. But we do now. It’s here now. It has arrived.
Choose the Right Side: Peace for All
So maybe, just maybe you can dumb it all down, and stomp on hate instead of adding to it because my Jewish brothers and sisters are afraid to walk the streets of the world.
We are outnumbered. And we are not Israel. But we stand with Israel.
My fellow Jewish brothers and sisters are sick and tired of being told how we are allowed to define our roots, identity, and culture.
Every day Jews are also dealing with antisemitic comments online.
Just this week I was told Jews aren’t indigenous to the land of Israel but from Turkey.
And that Jews should have been given land in Europe and not Israel.
When you say Israel is an apartheid state when it isn’t – it hurts all of us.
Because if Israel was an apartheid state then Arabs would not hold seats in the government, attend the same universities or obtain care in Israeli hospitals.
Stop spreading lies.
When you want others to join the BDS you are hurting Jews around the world. BDS accomplishes nothing but vilifies Israel. In fact, it hurts and punishes Jewish students.
For example. Jewish students who attend the University of Toronto were denied kosher food services. BDS does nothing to help Palestinians either. It does everything, however, to marginalize and isolate Jews around the world. In fact, Jewish university students around North America have never felt so stigmatized.
Let’s stop polarizing right and wrong; good and bad, and begin to build peace.
But that can’t happen until Hamas is delegitimized and overthrown.
Because you can’t negotiate with terrorists.
All you can do is fight them, protect yourself, and brace yourself.
Lindsay Soberano-Wilson is the editor of Put It To Rest. Her chapbook Casa de mi Corazón: A Travel Journal of Poetry & Memoir (Poetica) is available at lindsaysoberano.com. Find her on Medium, Instagram, or Twitter. Lindsay Soberano-Wilson ©2021.
*Click here to learn more about Hamas and antisemitism.
For more on antisemitism by Soberano-Wilson:
What Benny the Butcher said when I called him out on Lyrics “My Safe Stuffed Like a Jew Wallet”
Why You Should Care that Anti-Semitism is “Cool” in Hip Hop