Why Anti-Semitism Needs to be on the Social Justice Agenda

What is anti-semitism?

Anti-semitism is a form of racism.  And while there are other groups of “semites”, the term “anti-semitism” was created by Germans in the 19th century specifically to refer to anti-Jewish sentiments.  For whatever reason, people insist on policing Jewish identity, appointing themselves as the ones to determine who is or is not Jewish.  For starters, not all Jews are white.

Anti-semitism is on the rise due to the recent increase in violence in the middle east, and while I understand that it’s an unfortunate situation overall, it is no excuse for anti-semitism.  I’m sorry to say that many people I consider my friends to varying degrees of the word have made me extremely uncomfortable lately.  Let me be clear, being critical of Israel does not make you an anti-semite.  But, for starters, to hold Israel to completely different standards than any other country is offensive.  Additionally, disagreeing with a decision made by the Israeli army is not a reason to take it out on regular Israelis or Jewish people living in the diaspora.  It seems that a lot of people are more concerned about being accused of being anti-semitic than actually being anti-semitic.  If you are truly invested with treating people with kindness and equality, an excellent list titled How To Criticize Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic was compiled here, and I highly recommend reading it.

Why do social justice bloggers make a habit of only including the Jewish people when the purpose is to use them as a token for their own (often anti-Israeli) rhetoric?  The only people I ever see posting about anything related to anti-semitism are Jewish people themselves and that absolutely must change.

There have been many instances of anti-semitic violence lately, but I don’t hear any outrage over it, except from the people who are personally impacted.  Those people, of course, are Jewish.  The same people who use the Holocaust as a reason to argue against Israel’s actions are the same people perpetuating the same anti-semitic ideas that were rampant during World War II.  How am I supposed to believe that you are fighting for social justice when your argument tells me something entirely different?

I’m exhausted by standing up for myself in the face of self-proclaimed “open minded” individuals.  I don’t want to be afraid to speak up for myself anymore and when I do, I become tired of screaming and feeling like no one is listening to me.

You are on my social justice agenda, why aren’t we on yours?

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