Special to JTNews
Special to JTNews
Jews who love language, read this!
Jews who love their families, read this!
It is simple: Throughout the world Jew-hatred is spreading and those who hate us are winning the war of words, and in such a war, words count.
We are saddled with the word “anti-Semitism,” a word coined by the German Jew-hater Nicholas Marr, who wanted to “sanitize” his hatred of us by making it more “scientific.”
In addition, when some Arabs who espouse their extreme hatred of our people in the mosques, on social media, television, etc. and we counter that those outrages are anti-Semitic, they rejoin by saying they are Semites and neutralize our defenses and counter attacks. While there are a few semantically educated people who understand “anti-Semitism” only applies to Jews, most don’t; thus the Arab counter is given credence. The word “anti-Semitism” lacks the potency and emotional loading compared to the words used against us in the global campaign to stain us with rancorous dark and ominous expressions in order to delegitimize Jewish people. Words such as “racists,” “Nazi,” “occupiers.”
So we need a new word or expression to replace “anti-Semitism.”
I have used “Jew-hater” in this op-ed, as I think it is simple and to the point as to what underlies much of the vituperative enmity toward us, both as Jews in general and in particular Israeli Jews.
But many think that this expression, which predated “anti-Semitism,” is too strong. Thus, my quest for a better term that does not sanitize the hate.
There is no question in my analysis that we, here in America and in the Seattle area, are seeing a significant upsurge in the campaigns to demonize Jews. And while many of you are not aware of what is happening on our campuses, I can share with you that the hatred toward us is virulent. In a significant number of cases it is not about Israel, but the re-emergence of the dormant Jew-hatred that inflicts the hearts and souls of all too many non-Jews.
There are legitimate criticisms of Israel, but these campaigns go deeper and fall on fertile ground of Jew-hatred that had lain dormant due to the extinction of the 6 million in the Holocaust. Those burnt offerings are no longer tangible in the hearts and minds of many gentiles. But what is tangible is the receptivity of discrediting us as a people by the re-inventing, modification, and re-wording of the same old tropes that have demeaned and given aid and assistance to those who would push us down.
These effective uses of anti-Jewish language resonate in those souls and psyches, which historically and presently are open to the discrediting and/or eliminating us as a people.
Jews, who have not yet felt this pollution or believe that we here in America are safe, are not well informed about either our history or what is happening in this, our beloved country. For what we are seeing in the liberal democracies of Europe where Jew-hatred is rampant and rising, is a preview of the surging thrust coming toward us here at home.
So here is the invitation: Come up with a better word or expression than “anti-Semitism” or “Jew-hatred” so we can start to fight back. For if we remain ignorant and/or complacent, if we follow the old ways of survival — of not making waves or self-blaming — then the vectors of past and present history are clear, we will face displacement.
How strong that displacement will be, I cannot tell you. What I do see is a popular belief among many young elites — future leaders of America — that Jews deliberately use Palestinian children for target practice or even worse accusations.
It is not about Israel the country, but about Israel the people — you and me. So put your creative hats on, and come up with new language on how we can reframe the debate.
Mark Bloome is a Seattle-based activist and supporter of the Jewish people. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.