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Is there such a thing as a Jewish antisemite?

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish protestors join pro-Palestinian demonstration in front of New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s office in New York City, Nov. 17, 2023 (Photo: Jennifer Graylock/INSTARimages)

The question sounds absurd, right? And yet, shockingly, we have seen and heard Jewish individuals speak extremely negatively about Israel and the IDF, as well as express their support for Palestinians, while even appearing at anti-Israel rallies and protests.  

One such person, interviewed by political commentator, Candace Owens, exemplifies the term Jewish antisemite, probably better than others who have been labeled as such. Political scientist and activist, Norman Finkelstein, known for his highly-controversial positions on Israel, was invited by Owens to represent the pro-Palestinian position after having invited Israeli comedian, Ami Kozak to represent the pro-Israeli side on her program. 

Finkelstein, immediately after letting the audience know that both his parents were in concentration camps, denied that he was representing any side, other than truth, but, nonetheless, went on to champion the Palestinian cause by accusing Israel of genocide. Using the prime minister’s statement that, “This is a war against Amalek,” he extrapolated that the biblical account of that story involved killing everyone, thereby deducing Netanyahu’s intent by making such a claim. Of course, he doesn’t consider that “Amalek” is also a reference to evil (per Jewish folklore).

Facts on the ground contradict Finkelstein’s contention, that Israel wants to kill every man, woman and child in Gaza, because if that was truly its plan, the IDF would not have released warning flyers to northern residents to escape the oncoming battle, nor would it have created safe corridor routes for Gazans to flee the war. Ironically, Finkelstein says he has a credo: “Never quarrel with facts.” So why does he not recognize these before confidently asserting that Israel is committed to killing every Gazan?

Finkelstein continued to reject reports that Hamas’ headquarters are under Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, despite testimony of captured terrorists who were interrogated, confirming that this is true. He says he very much doubts that rapes or beheadings took place, despite both being exceedingly well-documented and viewed by many who were, undoubtedly, shocked beyond words by the footage of atrocities they saw. Continuing to portray Israel in the most inhumane terms, he was clearly pro-Palestinian.

But he is not the only Jew who has gone to the dark side. In Micah Halpern’s article entitled, “Censure Jewish Jew-haters,” he says that “Anne Epstein, a student at Boston University flat out says that she is Jewish and then proceeds to explain that she is ripping down posters of those kidnapped by Hamas, dragged into Gaza, and held in captivity, because: ‘You are reading propaganda. You are supporting occupation.’”

Apparently, she is unaware that all Jewish presence left Gaza in 2005, and there is no occupation whatsoever, but apparently Epstein feels the need to accuse Israel, just as other antisemites have, of something which does not exist. Her claim that posters of kidnapped individuals is merely propaganda also doesn’t hold up, as some of them have already been released. 

Perhaps, the most absurd of all are the ultra-Orthodox, anti-Zionist fringe sects of Neturei Karta, which has joined forces with pro-Palestinian protesters in New York, demonstrating against Israel and tearing down Israeli flags “while slamming the Israeli government, the IDF operation in Gaza and the ‘Zionist entity.’” The article says that they, too, could be heard chanting, “free Palestine.”

In yet another protest, which took place in Toronto, Canada, a rabbi was heard saying, “We all stand in solidarity with the suffering of people of Palestine. We need to remember that this story didn’t start yesterday or the day before. This is a long chain of tragedies going on already for decades.” He continued to say: “I’m here as an Orthodox religious Jewish person, and I say that for myself and for many communities like myself, this is embarrassing, because this is being done supposedly in our name, in the name of all Jews and sadly in the name of the Holy Torah. This is not Judaism.”

It is truly mind-boggling when trying to comprehend how Jews could ignore or minimize a brutal and savage attack of innocents who were murdered in the most barbaric manner. How are they able to extend their sympathies to a people who have not been oppressed by Israel but by their own corrupt leaders?  

Their pathetic attempt to frame the plight of Gazans as a Jewish embarrassment only testifies to their inability to understand the role Hamas and other terror groups have played in Palestinian history. It seeks to scapegoat Israel and the Jewish people for crimes committed by others and, of course, it also creates an unforgivable wedge by some of our own people who feel that there are not enough who already hate us, so they pile on more.

While all of this may appear to be a new phenomenon, it isn’t. American Jews, in particular, have a history of not being accepted by others, since they were seen as being different. Consequently, they tended to gravitate to more liberal social and political positions, believing that their great tolerance for diversity would speak well for them. 

This sometimes translated into their own silence, even in the face of blatant Jewish persecution abroad, during one of the darkest times in history. A well-known example was that of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a prominent Jewish figure who headed the American Jewish Congress during the 1940s.  

It was during this time that “more than 400 Orthodox rabbis marched to the White House to plead with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to rescue European Jews from the Nazis. Wise, a staunch supporter of President Roosevelt and his administration did his best to counter or suppress Jewish criticism of the president.”

Jews have been trying to go along to get along, but what those who criticize their own people fail to understand is that they can never undo their ethnicity by appearing to be fair-minded as they rail against their own people, who they claim are the cause of others’ suffering. Because by so doing, they fail to look at the real culprits who pocket money earmarked for their people but that never finds its way to them.

They excuse the hatred and violence, which is not only directed towards Israel and her citizens, but also at Israeli Arabs who live in the Jewish homeland, and their own Gaza citizens that they use as human shields. 

In short, they hone in on the people who have tried to alleviate suffering by making economic prosperity available to Palestinians, while turning a blind eye to those who threaten to murder Gazans if they try to escape their homes after being warned by the IDF to do so.

This upside-down, false application of morality and justice is the real embarrassment, to use their own words.

Israel may not always do everything correctly, but it’s hard to make a case for their being oppressors and persecutors of a disenfranchised people, when those who hold the Palestinian purse strings have chosen to live like kings while their citizens languish. 

To quote Micah Halpern: “Such people should be rejected as they are traitors to the Jewish community.” While Halpern is actually in favor of excommunicating these individuals, I would not go that far.

My hope is that these extremely misguided and erroneous moralists will eventually realize that their harsh criticism of their own Jewish people and homeland will not indemnify them from the same barbaric terrorists who will also come for them! Let’s hope that epiphany doesn’t come a bit too late.


A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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