Opinion: Condemning Kanye West’s antisemitism is easy. Vigilance is harder
The Jewish establishment’s decision to issue a public rebuke to Kanye West this week after he tweeted that “there’s blood on the hands of [President] Trump” was disappointing, to say the least. It’s also a reflection of how difficult it is to be Jewish, particularly, as an American Jew, to condemn antisemitism.
The world’s leading anti-antisemites are the same people who have been preaching antisemitism since the first century AD, and who, if they weren’t Jewish, would have been called Christian fundamentalists. In the 20th century, these antisemites became more successful at turning Jews against each other, and eventually against America. By the 1990s, some had begun calling themselves “the modern liberal” and “the modern Jew.” They even got a new badge: modern anti-Jewish and anti-Semite.
In response to their rise, some Jews have attempted to reclaim the language of religion and politics. But they have failed to regain the political and religious power that once belonged to them.
They failed, first of all, because they never understood what made Jews different. These people never read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the first antisemitic document put out by the Nazis, and they never studied the history of European antisemitism, which is riddled with antisemitic themes and phrases. They never heard the term “Jewish Bolshevist” coined by the Russian Marxists of the early 20th century. They never considered the words of Lenin himself in which he declared that “the Jew is an enemy of the people.”
Most were not even informed of the fact they were being used to advance their own political and economic agenda. They were not taught that Jews have been victims of persecution, pogroms and war for centuries, that Jews have had to endure the most powerful nations of the world taking away their lands and businesses, that Jews have had the power within their nations to shape history for over 2,000 years, and that Jews have created more history than any other people in the world.
They never considered the importance of the Holocaust in the Jewish experience of the 20th century. They never considered the holocaust to be the defining moment