You Might Be an Antisemite if…
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has a signature routine of “You might be a redneck” jokes, such as “You might be a redneck if you get pulled over for a speeding ticket with a mattress propped atop your car.”
It made me think of the American politicians, journalists, university administrators, and faculty who don’t seem to understand antisemitism. So here are some hints to help the bigoted, confused, and ignorant know when they have crossed a line.
You know you’re an antisemite or expressing an antisemitic sentiment when you:
- Blame Jews or Israel for the spread of the coronavirus (or engage in related blood libels).
- Claim the Palestinians or others have a right to self-determination but deny that the Jewish people have a right to their homeland.
- Compare Israel to the apartheid Afrikaner regime in South Africa.
- Vandalize synagogues, cemeteries, or other Jewish institutions.
- Make specious accusations that Israel is purposely harming Palestinians by maiming, poisoning, radiating, or engaging in other inventive ways to mistreat them.
- See Israel as the only country that violates human rights, or rank it among the world’s worst abusers.
- Accuse Jews of trying to get the United States into a war.
- Compare Israelis to Nazis, or use swastikas or other Nazi associations with Jews or Israel.
- Blame the failure to achieve peace in the Middle East solely on the Jews and/or Israel.
- Use the word Israel or Israelis euphemistically to attack Jews.
- Assert the right to criticize Jews or Israel but cry McCarthyism if anyone challenges your views.
- Believe “academic freedom” is a license to attack Jews and Israel by substituting unsubstantiated political opinions for scholarly research.
- Believe Israel is responsible for the instability in the Middle East.
- Think that US support for Israel endangers Americans or threatens US-Arab relations.
- Attempt to intimidate or harass Jewish students on campus by building walls, holding die-ins, placing eviction notices in their mailboxes, or engaging in other forms of guerilla theater.
- Prevent a Jew, Israeli, or someone sympathetic to Israel from speaking.
- Single out Israel as the only country meriting boycott, divestment, and sanctions.
- Attempt to intimidate performers and celebrities to prevent them from going to Israel.
- Discourage Palestinians from working, studying, socializing, playing, or interacting with Israelis to prevent “normalization.”
- Accuse Israel of harvesting the organs of Palestinians.
- Suggest Israel played a role in the 9/11 attacks, and that thousands of Jewish employees skipped work that day.
- Use common antisemitic tropes such as accusing Jews of dual loyalty, controlling the media, Congress, banks, or other institutions, being greedy, stingy, dirty, diseased, or having satanic attributes.
- Accuse anyone who speaks of positive Israeli attributes or policies as engaging in “[fill in the blank] washing,” as when someone calls attention to Israel’s tolerance of the LBGTQ community and is accused of “pinkwashing.”
- Criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and ignore how Palestinians treat each other.
- Believe Jews killed Jesus or plotted against Muhammad.
- Compare Jews to animals such as apes and pigs.
- Insist Arabs have a right to live in Israel, but Jews do not have a right to live in Judea and Samaria or a Palestinian state.
- Deny the Holocaust occurred, gas chambers existed, or suggest the number of Jewish victims was a fraction of the actual number.
- Accuse the Jews or Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- Equate Zionism with racism.
- Are a non-Jew trying to tell Jews what constitutes antisemitism.
- Highlight Israel’s imperfections for the purpose of embarrassing, isolating, and demeaning the nation.
- Seek to use nondemocratic means to impose changes on Israel.
- Want to see Israel weakened or destroyed.
- Advocate blacklists, censorship, and the demonization of Israelis.
- Expect Israel to adhere to a standard of behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
- Suggest Jews played a major role in the slave trade.
- Accuse Jews as a people of racism.
- Hold Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.
- Refer to Israel as a “settler-colonialist” state.
- Associate Israeli policies with discriminatory policies or actions of US officials toward American minorities.
This list could go on for pages, but these are some of the most common examples that Jews experience.
It may be naïve to think that educating bigots will change their views, but perhaps some people, at least among the well-meaning, will change their attitudes if they understand when they are thinking or saying something that is antisemitic. This includes Jews who intentionally or inadvertently give cover to antisemites by expressing similar sentiments.
Mitchell Bard is a foreign policy analyst and authority on US-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books.