Why We, the Non-Jews, Just Can’t Get it Sometimes…

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I start to realize that to be able to spot antisemitism; you need an above average intellect.

I am not saying you need a PhD, but I do say, that unless you are Jewish, decoding why certain things are labelled as antisemitic is harder to grasp.

With this, I do not intend to give a go to clear-cut antisemitism, but I do want to offer a perspective that the Jewish community might not understand fully (just as those of us from the outside can’t understand certain things).

Let me tell you what I mean.

Marc Lamont Hill recently accused Israel of ‘poisoning’ Palestinian water.

Obviously, if you know anything about the Israeli-Palestinian issues, you know that this is as messed up as it can get. And you move on.

If you are in that bulk of the general population who only knows about Israeli-Palestinian issues from headlines, well, that sucks, because you might actually believe this lie.

But, unless you are Jewish, you won’t know that this accusation is not just a random accusation. Unless you are Jewish, you won’t label this accusation as antisemitism. Simply, because we have no clue…

I’m about to graduate in Jewish studies. Me, the non-Jew. But what I had realized is that without these intense two years, I would never take myself and my stand with Israel seriously; and I sure would lose the edge in many debates. During these years, I realized how many things we non-Jews just cannot know. Unless you grow up as a Jew, or you study about Jewish history, many things that trigger today’s headlines are not clear for us, the non-Jewish community.

So back to Marc Lamont Hill and his accusation.

Accusing Jews of poisoning water is an old antisemitic trope. Blood libels against Jews were the norm and the result of a complex historical setup and were primarily dominated by religion and the desire to not to mix with anyone who believed differently. In other words,  the issue was Judaism, not the Jew as a person.

When in 1348 the Great Plague killed over 25 million people in Europe, the non-Jewish community claimed that these deaths were due to an international conspiracy of Jewry to poison Christendom.

(Oh, these Jews were so smart already then: without the internet, they could coordinate an international act and make sure that they did not drink water for a year).

Thousands of Jews were burned to death, jailed and tortured.

Without going into a medieval Jewish history lesson here, accusing Jews of poisoning water wells is a returning accusation and libel.

Let me cut to the chase: eventually the Black Plague accusation was the result of a sweet threesome: money, mob and power. Pretty much the same is going on today. Israel is getting stronger (so let’s boycott its economy), mob effect (the delegitimization of the Jewish state comes as a mob attack), and power (the clear Islamization of the U.N. brings clear results when it comes to singling out the Jewish State.)

There is so much more to add here. But let’s educate each other one step at a time.

So, my non-Jewish fellows, I really do not blame us sometimes for not getting the big picture and not getting the outrage from the Jewish communities.

But I’ll also not give us a free pass…as such as at the court: not knowing a rule that we breached doesn’t make us innocent.

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Virag is a digital communications strategist and personal branding consultant, who is helping individuals and brand owners building a successful online media presence that is authentic, sustainable, and recognizable. She is also a loud pro-Israel advocate, the founder of Almost Jewish, a pro-Israel movement that aims to change the stereotypes about Israel and the Jewish people one day at a time. Currently a Judaism graduate student at Touro College in Manhattan.

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