The New Antisemites
How the Delegitimization Campaign Against Israel Drives Hatred and Violence in America
This open-source online research provides evidence that the delegitimization campaign against Israel is partly responsible for the present rise in antisemitism. This report uses the widely-adopted IHRA working definition of antisemitism in order to measure this phenomenon. Under the guise of legitimate concern for Palestinian human rights, leaders of the delegitimization campaign have found fertile ground on social media, college campuses, among social justice groups and in the most influential international bodies to promote their anti-Israel agenda. There is currently a subtle but important gap in the scope of anti-discrimination laws in the United States. While there are federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of, among other things, race, gender, nationality and religion, almost all of these laws fail to explicitly define antisemitism to include anti-Zionism. As a result, BDS proponents exploit this legal loophole to allege that their campaign is not antisemitic while they proudly declare that the campaign seeks to eliminate Zionism (and, by extension, Jewish self-determination). Thus, the same humanitarian pretense affords the campaigns leaders and prominent organizations the ability to express their antisemitic beliefs freely and perpetuate the radicalization of the discourse on Israel. As a result, individuals, although sometimes unknowingly, are being used as pawns to promote hate and lend legitimacy to what is in fact a radical antisemitic movement.
The study of the connection between anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism has already evolved into a vast collection of academic literature and research. Antisemitism is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been labeled as, “history’s oldest hatred.” But today’s antisemitism has a fresh, albeit equally repellent, face. The portrayal of Jews as Satan, greedy bankers and ritual murderers in the Middle Ages, as a cancer and plague-infested on society just before and during the Third Reich and a conniving world dominating cult-force in Soviet Russia, has since been adopted and adapted by Israel’s enemies to describe Zionism, Israel and their supporters.
The evidence compiled in this report strongly attests to the accuracy of the assertion that online antisemitism is one of the most acute forms of antisemitism today. Additionally, the evidence presented further documents that the most popular platform for expressing antisemitism also breeds a particular type of antisemitism—new antisemitism, which, based on historical development, can only be expressed in post-modern imagery and messaging. Furthermore, the evidence presented in this report reveals that the most common forms of new antisemitism perpetuated by the delegitimization campaign are:
• comparing Israel to the Nazi regime
• using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
• denying Jews their right to self-determination, also known as anti-Zionism. This report highlights approximately 100 individual instances of antisemitism within the wider delegitimization campaign against Israel including 30 organizations, in addition to leaders and activists. All of the incidents set out in this report constitute antisemitism under the working definition of the IHRA. Moreover, the report reveals the process utilized by the delegitimization campaign to radicalize the discourse surrounding Israel from legitimate criticism, into delegitimization and finally blatant antisemitism.
The 2016 adoption of the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism marked an important development among world leadership, which acknowledged that in order to counter the radical effects of antisemitism on society, such as mass atrocities like the Holocaust, antisemitism must be recognized in all its forms, both historical and modern. The definition of antisemitism must be accurate and relevant if it is to be identified and deterred effectively. The images and references of the new antisemitism have adjusted for modern realities, while its nature maintains the same dangerous potential of being equally as corrosive and deadly as classic antisemitism. Specifically, these present-day manifestations of antisemitism, include the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish homeland or, as it is more popularly labeled today, anti-Zionism.
The delegitimization campaign, primarily via the BDS movement, is actively working against the adoption of a comprehensive definition of antisemitism to pave the way for its campaign of social radicalization and the perpetuation of new as well as classic antisemitism. The evidence collected in this report shows that while targeting, rejecting and encouraging others to scorn the very notion of the Jewish state, the delegitimization campaign and its leaders resort to using antisemitic tropes, libels and imagery, while actively broadcasting antisemitism to hundreds of thousands of their immediate followers and poisoning the dialogue surrounding the state of Israel with antisemitism. In the digital age, the antisemitism expressed and promoted by the delegitimization campaign is as much, if not a more potent mechanism of disseminating hate, unrest and even violence. In fact, we are currently experiencing a record level of antisemitism when compared to recent decades. This upswing is not confined to popular prejudices and beliefs; rather, it is also expressed in record numbers of violent incidents against Jews, their property, their institutions and their places of worship. More alarming still, is the emerging unchecked alliance between the delegitimization campaign, entrenched in the progressive le", and the neo-fascist right, which this report also examines.
These findings suggest that the widespread adoption of the working definition of antisemitism is but a first step in a long journey to effectively check the resurgence of antisemitism. The examples contained in this report are but a sample of the type of antisemitism being promoted by the delegitimization campaign against Israel. There are countless additional examples of the normalization of antisemitism throughout all levels of this campaign, from the leaders of prominent groups within the delegitimization network to the local activists of this movement. Instead of allowing Jewish communities of the world to yet again become the canary in the coal mine singing to deaf ears, the delegitimization campaign against Israel must be held accountable for perpetuating the present rise in antisemitism in order to effectively address this radicalizing and destabilizing phenomenon from further eroding Western and democratic values. The prevalence of antisemitism in images, rhetoric and ideas is too pervasive to be considered coincidental and the audience is too wide to be ignored.
This first step of adopting the working definition of antisemitism, must be reinforced with additional effective laws and policies, and the consistent enforcement of these laws and policies, in order to ensure the limitation of this destructive phenomenon. These reinforcing strategies and solutions include: ofcially codi$ing and lending legal weight to the working definition of antisemitism in a capacity that fosters meaningful implementation and social education; updating the existing legislation and passing additional laws aimed at social media service providers to feature the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and requiring social media sites to clamp down on all forms of antisemitism stipulated in the working definition; and utilizing updated educational curricula about antisemitism featuring the IHRA’s working definition in order to provide students with a full instructive picture about antisemitism in all of its forms, expressions and dangerous consequences, including in its most updated manifestations today.