Where David Suissa Column on Fighting Jew-Hatred Misses the Mark

David Suissa, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Tribe Media/Jewish Journal, has written a piece about how best to fight Jew-hatred. In it, he argues that “rather than being loud and alarmist, our fight against Jew hatred should be less noisy and more strategic.”

Is it possible that our fight against antisemitism has become so loud and alarmist that it can backfire and become counterproductive?

We rarely ask that question, maybe because the imperative of fighting Jew hatred seems so obvious, why would anyone question it?

Indeed, I receive endless emails from multiple Jewish organizations urging me to “join the fight” against the rise of antisemitism. This fight has become so ubiquitous it has begun to define, in many ways, Jewish identity in America. More and more, what really pumps up Jews is not their Jewishness, but the fight against the haters.

I love a good fight as much as anyone, especially when it means defending my people. But to be effective, what should this fight look like? I’d like to suggest that rather than being loud and alarmist, our fight against Jew hatred should be less noisy and more strategic.

Acting quietly, of course, doesn’t fit the American way. In America, when we see something we don’t like, our reflex is to cry out, condemn, demonstrate, make noise, fight back. Jews fighting antisemitism do the same thing—we raise hell.

This may make us feel good, but it doesn’t really work. No matter what the slogans say about “ending” this or that evil, until the Messiah shows up the world’s oldest hatred is not going away. That doesn’t mean we abandon the fight; it means we pivot to fight from a position of strength.

A position of strength means being more quiet, strategic and legal.

Why quiet? Because the louder we get and the more we make a fuss, the weaker we look. We remind the haters they have the power to scare us and rile us up. Jews are not losers. Carping and protesting about people hating us undermines our winning qualities. We lose our mojo, our confidence, our sense of humor— all those admirable traits that have helped Jews contribute so much to the world.

Let’s face it — American Jews will never win the Victim Olympics. Since the world already sees us as successful, high-achieving winners, why not make it work to our advantage? If people won’t give us the sympathy they give to victims, how about the respect they give to winners?

Why strategic? Because we can’t lose sight of the big picture — to reinforce Jewish identity and nurture Jewish pride. A strong identity is rooted in what we are for, not what we are against. It’s true that activists can raise more money by fighting against something, but we can’t allow our enemies to define our Jewish identities.

David makes some salient points. I am a huge proponent of Jewish pride – for instance, I give credit to Israellycool contributor Ryan Bellerose and his publications for bringing the indigenous Jew argument to the mainstream – spawning, among other things, a ‘Decolonized Judean’ movement among some young advocates ( I will speak about this perhaps in another post).

I am also a huge proponent of being strategic. My motto is “it is better to be smart than to be right”, after all.

All of this is important, even crucial, but where David’s argument fails is his failure to realize that both strategies are important.

Sure, you need Jewish pride and the positive reinforcement, but you also need to shout out loud from the rooftops against antisemitism. More than that, you need to proactively out, mock, and make life hell for the Jew haters.

Take it from me, the person who pioneered this technique – it works.

David explains:

Since I was working on this column at the time, I couldn’t help notice that, despite the incessant exterior noise about antisemitism, no one brought up the need to fight it. They didn’t have to. Jewish educators fight antisemitism in their own way, by championing pro-semitism.

David seems to think that here, the target audience is fellow Jews. But for the most part, it isn’t.

One of the main issues facing us is how too many people cannot even identify what is antisemitism. Of course, everyone seems to agree the far right, neo Nazi variety qualifies, but how many people believe the antisemitism of the left and Islamic antisemitism is merely “legitimate criticism of Israel”?

Way too many people, that’s who.

So it is all well and good to show our pride in all things Jewish and use legal means to counteract the haters, but if you want to win the hearts and minds of those on the fence or who otherwise are intellectually honest, you need to shine a light on the lies, hate and other repugnant behavior of those disseminating Jew-hatred – whether it be from the Left, Right, Farrakhanites and BLM’ers, or Islamists.

Another point: David writes:

Why quiet? Because the louder we get and the more we make a fuss, the weaker we look

Who cares if we look weak (not that I agree we do)? The palestinian Arabs have had great success projecting they are the weak party against the big, bad Israelis, and look where that has got them. A very long way, despite their blood-stained, antisemitic history that continues to this day.

David ends his piece with

We all want to prevail against the plague of Jew hatred. We’ll have better odds if we fight like proud winners rather than defensive victims.

Yes, we should also be proud winners, but taking the fight to the Jew-haters of the world – even in non-lawfare ways – is anything but defensive.

Just ask the countless Jew-haters who lost their jobs, their ability to sleep, and also the few who even repented because they learned actions have consequences. I am sure they will think twice about messing with proud Jews again.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media