ANTI-SEMITISM JUST AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

(In my defence, my son handed me this title and then commanded me to write into it. Hence any liability is entirely his.)

Growing up Jewish in western Canada, I regularly felt that I was other, but I can’t ever remember feeling othered. And I don’t think one can suffer anti-anything-ism unless it others him. 

That doesn’t mean I didn’t hear tell of the atrocities committed against my fellow Jews. Though notice that, notwithstanding that Jews are, after all, my people, I say “my fellow Jews” rather than “my people”. This is because I’d be consumed with even more self-loathing than I am if I had to self-identity with those black-hatted nebbish vermin who now dance on the ghosts of displaced Palestinians on the streets of Jerusalem. 

Did I just say “nebbish vermin”? I think I did. Oh my God, that must make me an anti-semite! 

So whereas it used to be that the world was rife with Christian anti-semites, they’ve moved on to hating Muslims, leaving us to fill the void with self-loathing. But self-loathing is exhausting. How I long for the days, or so I’m told, when one could bask in the heat of Christian hatred, instead of our holding each other’s coats while we take turns committing yet another atrocity on our common enemy. 

We could settle, I suppose, for Arab anti-semitism were the term not so oxymoronic. So I think it’s time to retire the term and replace it with anti-Zionism, thereby giving Arabs and self-loathing Jews common cause. 

That might still leave a few old-stye anti-semites, like those Retrumplicans at Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us!” But that never made any sense to me. Almost all of these Retrumplicans were blue collar workers, whereas we’re bankers and businessmen. Why would we want to replace them? So maybe we’ve been misunderstanding the chant. Maybe what they’re saying is they don’t want us to take their jobs. I didn’t know we were trying to. I find this all very confusing. Don’t you?        



Categories: Angst, Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Humour

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2 replies

  1. You aren’t quite there yet, and it is not your son’s fault.

    Antisemitism changed completely once the State of Israel was created. Zionism was finished because it had achieved its goal with the creation of the new state. And that created a new distinction between opposition to the policies of the new nation state and mistreatment of Jews anywhere. Anti-Israeli government policy does not equal antisemitism.

    It is not only in Canada that, like today, a political party can run the government with only some 32% of the popular vote (i.e., the majority of the electorate — 68% — voted for other parties). It happens all the time in Israel too. That would mean the majority of the Israeli voting population also didn’t vote in favour of the policies being pursued by the governing party to preserve its shaky coalition. So all these Israeli voters would also have to be considered antisemitic if disliking Israeli policy = antisemitism.

    If we leave out anti-Israeli policy views, what is left of antisemitism? People who attack Jews for reasons unrelated to the policies of the Israeli government. There may still be lots of such people, but it is no longer as fashionable as it once was. Some of the anti-Jewish focus has shifted to Muslims, where people watching the Taliban wrongly assume that all Muslims everywhere want to impose Sharia law on everyone else. Even Quebec’s new law prohibiting public servants wearing religious symbols like the hijab is targeted much more at Muslims than Jews. Canada is not quite past antisemitism, but it is well on its way to becoming passé. And soon, hopefully, anti-Muslim bias will also become passé.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the ironies of modern life is that President Trump attempted to bar the entry of Muslims to the United States….and eventually succeeded when he hit upon wording of the order than would not run afoul of strictures against religious discrimination. Yet the highly skilled and devoted doctors trying to save the lives of his unvaccinated supporters who are filling the ICUs in the backward parts of red states right now are highly likely to be Muslim. (Many these days are American-born children of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries but a substantial number are first-generation who did their early training overseas and are happy to get hospital posts in less-desirable parts of the country.)

      What is also heartening to read are accounts of the warmth and generosity shown by the residents of these benighted places to the very much “Others” who with their families become part of their communities. Most of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

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