Photo of mass graves at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, 1945. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
During the boycott of Jews on april 1, 1933 in Nazi-Germany Jews are forced to march with anti-semitic signs. The men in uniform are SA-members. The signs say things like: “Don’t buy from Jews” and “A good German doesn’t buy from Jews”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was 23 years old I had a horrible experience with antisemitism. I was walking home from University and took a small cutthrough to make the journey a bit quicker. Suddenly, a man leaned in behind me and put a weapon of some sort in my back and called me a ‘Jew B*%ch’. He pushed me along the small semi-underground path and continued to verbally berate me for being Jewish.
I never prayed so much in my life to stay alive until I could exit the path and come out into daylight where there would be many people on t
he street. Once we hit daylight, he was gone, somehow just sliding away from me and into the crowd of people. When I got into my apartment I went directly to my room, sat on my bed and wept insanely. I had no idea what to do. Should I call the police? Should I call my family? I didn’t call anyone. I was totally paralyzed with fear.
This was my first and most violent experience with antisemitism and I will never forget it. I r
eally thought I was going to lose something that day, whether it be a violent attack or my life. It was after that that I knew how many Jews must’ve felt in the ghettos, being watched and attacked for no reason except for being Jews.
I was always extremely sensitive about the Holocaust. It wasn’t something I watched and thought it only happened to other people. I felt it happening to me and I thought it was surely the most troubled time in our collective History.
Seeing the emaciated bodies, once beautiful, living people, all piled up and thrown into shallow mass graves, really has never left my consciousness. I feel I went through it too, as a collective understanding of the human condition. I felt a part of the Jewish people, targeted for only one reason.
Rows of bodies fill the yard of Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo concentration camp. עברית: שורות של גופות מאות אסירים בחצר מחצה הריכוז נורדהאוזן. בתמונה נראות פחות ממחצית הגופות של האסירים שמתו ברעב או ביריות אנשי הגסטפו. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This sentiment I still have. It has never wavered. After my experience with violent antisemitism my connection to the Holocaust got stronger. I saw myself in those camps. I felt the pain of it. So when I went through my experience it confirmed what I discovered about myself when a teenager: I was Jewish. I identified myself as a Jewish person.
Today, I still fight antisemitism and it’s around me constantly on the internet. The internet gives a level of anonymity whereby people’s true feelings can come through. I can’t tell you how many antisemitic comments and statements I come across every day. I’m sure everyone on the internet has come across them whether it be about the Occupy Movement or the recent murders of Jewish children in France.
I also hear people trying to downplay antisemitism, as if it’s completely insignificant. Part of this is the insistence that anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism but we all know that it is.
I got a comment from someone on another site telling me they hoped I studied the Torah. This person isn’t Jewish but made sure to ask me if I was STILL a Zionist while simultaneously informing me that he is against Zionism. When I responded with the question ‘So you don’t think Jews have a right to have their own land?’ he never got back to me.
The murder case in Florida involving George Zimmerman has had its’ share of antisemitism as well. People assume that he is Jewish because of his last name. You might think that’s innocuous enough but many also use that to express Jew hatred. Also, there’s those that think the Zionist controlled media is trying to influence the judgement of the case in the favour of Zimmerman because he’s Jewish. These things are highly irrational but they exist nevertheless.
So my questions to others are:
- Why don’t you think Jews should have their homeland?
- Why do you think Jews own all of the media?
- What are some good ways to counter antisemitism and anti-Zionism?