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Gallery of Antisemitism – Example 16

Classic Antisemitism: Blaming Jews themselves, or Israel, rather than antisemites, for the rise in antisemitism:

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This is directly derived from the Nazi playbook. The Nazis justified their murderous antisemitism by blaming as much as they could think of on the Jews, including different ways of organizing society (they specialised in painting ‘Bolshevism’ as Jewish). Neo-Nazis have also blamed multiculturalism on the Jews. For the antisemite, what better than to blame the Jews themselves for antisemitism – even for the Holocaust itself? (see Holocaust section). The Jews have been scapegoats for centuries, even millennia, and it is not, sadly, all that unusual for them to be blamed for bringing antisemitism upon themselves.

Following the shootings at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018, Baroness Jenny Tonge responded thus: “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be reigniting antisemitism?” – her immediate response being to blame not far-right white nationalism, but the government of the only majority-Jewish state, Israel. She was generally condemned for this remark, and publicly criticised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, leading to her rapid resignation as its Patron. It is extremely disappointing that anyone describing themselves as a socialist should join in this chorus. An anti-racist’s reaction to an event like the Tree of Life massacre should be unconditional solidarity with the victims of a murderous racist attack.

In the following example the blame is somewhat more oblique. There is perhaps an indirect suggestion that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, by supporting other right-wing governments, bears some responsibility for a far-right atrocity against Jews. There is certainly an immediate deflection away from the massacre of American Jews onto the actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinians – a shift from Jews as victims to Jews as perpetrators – and with the implication that the former matters less than the latter. 


Here is an example from December 2020. Somebody posted on Facebook that antisemitic stickers had been placed on street furniture in Leeds. The stickers were of an outline head of a Hasidic Jew, with the writing ‘Fake Jew’. Most responses were of shock and offers to report or to protest. But one person felt it would be more suitable to blame Zionists/right-wing Jews either for provoking antisemites, or even, apparently, for placing the stickers themselves in order to target Haredi Jews for their anti-Zionist religious beliefs.

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