Recent weeks have seen the most severe global spike in antisemitism in recent memory. In the United States, synagogues have been vandalized and Jews have been brutally assaulted in the streets; in Europe, crowds have chanted for the death of Jews; and in the United Kingdom, antisemitic incidents are said to have risen by almost 500% since mid-May.
The sharp increase in attacks came amid Israel’s recent military operation in Gaza, which catalyzed a flood of misinformation and hate speech both online and offline. Discourse criticizing Israel frequently crossed the line into antisemitic tropes and even violence — shattering the long-held conviction that Jews need only fear antisemitism from the far right.
In the face of such an alarming trend, one might expect organizations — and especially Jewish organizations — flying the banner of human rights to position themselves at the forefront of the battle against this ongoing physical and verbal violence.
Yet in the conversation surrounding what is perhaps the 21st century’s worst wave of antisemitism so far, the voices of these NGOs are conspicuously absent.
In the last two weeks, radical American Jewish organizations such as IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace have produced a firestorm of tweets, articles, and reports roundly condemning Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians throughout its most recent military operation. Protests and rallies have been organized in every major city, boycotts have been promoted, and celebrities have been recruited in the cause of denouncing Israel.
Yet when vicious attacks occur on the very community that they claim to represent, those attacks are met for the most part with either deafening silence or with the familiar talking point that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are different — an argument that rings hollow when behavior that can only be categorized as antisemitic is tacitly excused time and time again.