Why Does Antisemitism Continue to Flourish Across the Spectrum? And What Can We Do About It?
A sneak peak at an exciting new video series I've been working on for the last half year
For the past six months, I’ve been quietly crafting a video explainer series that answers big questions about antisemitism—the sort of things that lots of people wonder about, but are afraid to ask. The full series, created with the Jewish production company Unpacked, isn’t due out for a while. But in light of recent events, I wanted to release this short excerpt that directly addresses our current broken situation—and suggests a way out. If you find it helpful, please share it. And stay tuned here for the release of the entire series, coming soon!
Why does antisemitism continue to flourish across the spectrum? The answer is simple: people only tend to police anti-Jewish bigotry when it comes from the other side, not their own.
It’s understandable why this happens. After all, it’s much easier to condemn the prejudice of people you already despise and disagree with. It’s a lot harder to speak up when the bigotry is coming from your friends and allies.
But think about it: Where do you have the power to make change? Among your friends—or among your enemies? In your community—or in someone else’s?
Yet too often, our national conversation about antisemitism consists of people trying to bounce antisemites from parties they weren’t invited to—conservatives policing progressive antisemitism, progressives policing conservative antisemitism, and so on.
You don’t have to be an expert in antisemitism to see why this doesn’t work.
So how can we stop this from happening, and start fighting the antisemites instead of each other?
The secret is this: Focus on the antisemitic ideas expressed, not the individual expressing them. If we train ourselves to recognize anti-Jewish sentiments, rather than getting distracted by their source, we will be much more successful at identifying and uprooting the hateful ideas across the board. But if we pick and choose which antisemitism to care about based on who says it, and give our own community a pass, the bigotry will continue to spread unchecked.
Because the truth is: casting anti-Jewish prejudice as a specifically left-wing problem… or right-wing problem… or Christian problem… or Muslim problem… is really just a way of saying that it’s someone else’s problem.
The only people who win this argument over who’s the bigger bigot are the antisemites, who continue to spread their hate while their supposed opponents point fingers at each other.
To truly combat antisemitism, we need to stop thinking of it as other people’s problem, and start confronting it as our problem.
There’s lots more where this came from. Be sure to subscribe to be notified when the entire series goes live! And thank you to all the supporters of this newsletter who make this work possible.