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There Are Not Two Sides to Antisemitism; These Are Signs of Jew-Hatred

Illustrative: Thousands of anti-Israel demonstrators from the Midwest gather in support of Palestinians and hold a rally and march through the Loop in Chicago on Oct. 21, 2023. Photo: Alexandra Buxbaum/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

The October 7 Hamas terror attack in Israel was the worst single day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. And yet, Hamas’ torture, indiscriminate murder, and kidnapping of innocent people has unleashed staggering antisemitism around the world.

More than 1,200 people were slaughtered in Israel, including women, children, infants, and the elderly, and approximately 240 hostages are still being held in Gaza. The attacks, and the Israeli government’s response to them, have sparked protests around the world.

Unfortunately, too many of the voices criticizing Israel’s actions to defend itself and rescue its hostages have descended into open antisemitism.

American Jews make up just more than 2% of the US population, yet they accounted for more than half of religiously-motivated hate crimes in 2022 according to the FBI — a 37% increase compared to 2021. And that was long before the Hamas attack and the subsequent aftermath on the Jewish community.

Contemporary antisemitism is often stoked by social media and online posts. Since October 7, messages that are not only anti-Israel, but anti-Jewish have been amplified by segments within pro-Palestinian protests.

Antisemitism is the world’s oldest prejudice because of its adaptability; today we see this hatred promoted under the guise of human rights. While it is not always clear when or whether some words and phrases are blatantly antisemitic–and context can be critical, if you witness these eight terms, tropes, and themes, you are seeing discrimination against Jews.

There are not two sides to antisemitism.

1. Dirty/Filthy Jews

Describing Jews as “dirty” or “filthy,” which was seen on a sign during a pro-Palestine protest, draws on anti-Jewish themes including “poisoning the well,” an accusation rooted in the 14th-century Bubonic Plague that blamed Jews for purposefully spreading disease. Following the Hamas attack on Israel in October 2023, a Jewish person in London was called a “dirty Jew” and was also told, “no wonder you’re all getting raped.” That’s happened countless times before and after October 7.

 2. Dual Loyalty

Dual loyalty is a bigoted trope used to cast Jews as the “other,” accusing them of being disloyal citizens whose true allegiance is to other Jews or to Israel. This creates distrust and spreads harmful ideas, such as the belief Jews are a traitorous “fifth column,” undermining their country from within. Some anti-Israel activists have asserted Jews should leave their countries and Israel to go “back to Poland” or other places where Jews have historically lived. Dual loyalty accusations also occur on US college campuses, when Jewish students are asked to denounce Israel in order to participate in progressive activities. 

3. Justifying Hamas

Hamas is an internationally-recognized terrorist organization in Gaza, which is funded by Iran. Its founding charter, also known as the Covenant, calls for the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of the world’s Jews.

Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin said, “Killing Jews is an act of devotion.”

At several pro-Palestine rallies around the world, protestors chanted, spray painted, and held signs supporting Hamas and promoting violence, saying “resistance is justified when people are occupied.” Slaughtering innocent people, including children and babies; raping women; and kidnapping civilians is not resistance. Any justification for Hamas must be condemned for what it is: defending the indiscriminate murder of Jews.

4. “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”

“From the River to the Sea,” is a rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathizers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to Hamas, who are seeking Palestinian control over all of Israel’s borders from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

While there is nothing antisemitic about advocating for Palestinians to have their own state, this specific call implies the eradication of Israel and Jews from their historic homeland.

To most Jews, the chant is an existential threat to the one Jewish state where Jews can live freely and safely. Yet, pro-Palestine protesters, including members of Congress, have repeatedly used and defended the phrase, despite it being a call for violence against Jews and Israelis.

5. Deicide

The deicide charge, which blames Jews for Jesus’ crucifixion, is a trope echoing centuries-old methods of maligning Jews that have been refuted for decades by the Roman Catholic Church. But antisemites continue to use it to justify anti-Jewish hatred. Branding Jews as Christ-killers has been recycled in the Middle East, often by comparing Jesus with Palestinians who are “crucified” by the Israeli military or government.

In May 2021, for instance, a protester in Miami held a sign reading, “Jesus was Palestinian and you killed him too,” and in London, a protester shared an image of Christ carrying the cross with the words, “Do not let them do the same thing today again.” 

6. Blood Libel

Since the Middle Ages, blood libel charges have falsely accused Jews of killing and using the blood of Christians for ritual purposes. For centuries, such claims to demonize Jews led to horrific violence, destruction, persecution, and massacres of Jewish people and communities.

Today, these antisemitic charges have evolved into blaming Jews for purposefully targeting and killing Palestinian children. The blood libel has been seen and heard from cartoons, such as in Al-Ghad, the Jordanian daily, which depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drinking the blood of children in the Gaza Strip, to inappropriate signs and libelous headlines, including on October 17, 2023, when major newspapers including The New York Times falsely reported that Israel intentionally bombed the Al Ahli Baptist Hospital.

This misinformation perpetuated a common antisemitic trope that Israelis are bloodthirsty and intentionally killed Palestinian civilians, and led to attacks on Jewish communities and institutions. It took several days before news sources accurately reported that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket misfired and hit the hospital, by which time the false narrative was already accepted as truth.  

7. Holocaust Distortion and Denial

Distorting or trivializing the Holocaust, which was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators, is an attack on Jewish memory and identity.

We saw an alarming amount of Holocaust comparisons during the COVID-19 pandemic, which downplayed and distorted the Holocaust and lessened what Hitler did. On the other side, saying Zionism, which is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, equals Nazism — which led to the genocide of the Jewish people — also lessens what Hitler did. That statement is not a disagreement with Israeli policy; it is a distortion of the Holocaust.

The day after Hamas’ invasion, a pro-Palestinian protester displayed a Nazi swastika in Times Square. Graffiti of Nazi swastikas were tagged on Jewish institutions around the world. Saying Israel is perpetrating a “second Holocaust” by trying to annihilate Palestinians is both factually wrong and antisemitic. 

8. Holding Jews Collectively Responsible

While criticizing the Israeli government is not antisemitic, associating all Jews with the policies of a sovereign nation absolutely is. This blame furthers long standing conspiracy theories of secret Jewish power and world domination, which originate from a discredited Tsarist Russian publication called Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Even though it is clearly a work of fiction, “many school textbooks throughout the Arab and Islamic world teach the Protocols as fact,” according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jews around the world have rightly feared that anti-Israel protests and pro-Hamas sentiment would lead to violence against Jews living in the Diaspora. Unfortunately, there are dozens of examples of how Jews continue to be targeted because of the war.

Many of these terms and dozens of others are found in the Translate Hate glossary from American Jewish Committee (AJC), which highlights how easy it is for antisemitism to hide in plain sight. The more you can recognize these terms, the easier it is to call them out for what they are and help combat anti-Jewish prejudice and hatred.

Holly Huffnagle is the U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism at American Jewish Committee (AJC).

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Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta

Illustrative. Anti-Israel protesters demonstrate outside AIPAC President Michael Tuchin’s vacation home in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2023. Photo: Screenshot

i24 NewsA protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.

A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.

JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.

The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.

The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a…

— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023

“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.

Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”

“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”

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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed

Relatives and supporters of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, rally for their release, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ended when the terrorist group broke it, in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.

Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.

“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”

Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.

A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.

Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.

More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.

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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist

Illustrative. Palestinian attacker near Nablus hurls stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at a riot in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, May 5, 2017. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

i24 NewsThe Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.

According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.

During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.

ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.

הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו.

— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023

The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.

It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.

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