Are They Different? Antisemitism and Anti-Israel

by Howard Rothenberg


Antisemitism is an attitude of prejudice and hatred against Jewish people; or as Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary amplifies it, “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” It has taken a new form that some Jewish people call, “the New Antisemitism.” Those who oppose Israel’s right to exist as a nation may say, “Oh, we don’t dislike Jews; we only dislike the State of Israel.”

During a New York City council meeting to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a Pro-Palestinian group disrupted the meeting and unfurled a Palestinian flag. The response of David Greenfield, a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, was both poignant and illuminating when he shared his anger: “We can stop pretending this is about Israel when the reality is every Middle Eastern country that is in existence today is not democratic and persecutes people of other faiths, except for one country, which is the State of Israel. And so, what you saw here today was naked and blind antisemitism.”

Mr. Greenfield’s anger touched on an important underlying goal of the Pro-Palestinian movement when he said, “Do you want to know why they unfurled their flags today? Because Hitler did not finish the job; he only wiped out half of my family. We finally see what this is all about – good old-fashioned antisemitism.” Mr. Greenfield summarized the goal discerned by many Jewish people, “The Beginnings of a New Holocaust.”

A New Holocaust

The means of this new destructive movement have been labeled BDS. Co-founded by Omar Barghouti, born in Qatar, BDS aims to pressure companies, nations, and institutions from giving support to Israel due to alleged violations of Palestinian human rights. Thus, the “B” stands for Boycott. The “D” is for divestment, urging banks, churches, pension funds, and universities to withdraw their investments from Israeli and international companies involved in violating Palestinian rights. The “S” means Sanctions, pressuring governments to fulfill their “legal” obligations to hold Israel accountable by ending military and free trade agreements and expelling Israel from the United Nations.

At the forefront of this movement are many churches from major denominations involving themselves in Middle Eastern politics and supporting such terrorist groups as Hamas and Hezbollah and the PLO. Major universities are also implicated, with both family and students supporting the cause. Barghouti describes his movement as non-violent. Yet, as the AMCHA Initiative reports, (a Jewish organization formed to protect Jewish people), when BDS holds its events on college campuses, threats are made against Jewish students, Jewish events are shut down, and Jewish fraternities are closed down.

The aim of BDS, says Barghouti, is to create One State, secular and democratic, with full equality for Palestinians including the right of return for all Palestinians who went into exile as a result of the war of 1948. This return includes the restoration of their land and homes. However, the same right is not extended to Jewish people in the diaspora. Asked if Jewish people can have a State, Barghouti replied, “Not in Palestine!”

The precedent for a worldwide boycott goes back to Hitler. The boycott began on the morning of Saturday, April 1, 1933. Stormtroopers (Hitler’s private army) stood outside Jewish-owned shops urging Germans not to enter. The Star of David was painted across the doors and windows of thousands of shops. In crude lettering, the word, “Jude,” along with the Swastika were displayed. Other slogans were seen: “Perish Judah; Jews, Get Out; Go to Palestine and Go to Jerusalem.” Ironically, similar words are being heard again.

The Emerging Threat

Signs of this new Holocaust are emerging around the globe in colleges, businesses, and on the streets of Paris, London, Berlin, and Copenhagen. The threat is so prevalent that in Eastern and even in Western Europe, younger Jewish students feel a need to hide their Jewish identity. This is notably reflected in current statistics collected by the Anti-Defamation League.

Their research showed the following: concerning the question of whether Jewish people have too much power in the business world: 72% of Ukrainians agreed as did 71% of Hungarians, 56% of Polish people, and 50% of Russians.

The same group said that Jewish people have too much power in international financial markets as well as in global affairs. Likewise, those from Western European nations such as Austria, Germany, Italy, and Belgium regarded discussion of the Holocaust as excessive.

The final question had to do with Jewish loyalty. The same countries agreed that the Jewish people are more loyal to Israel than they are to their native countries. Not surprisingly, a United States Muslim Congresswoman made the same type of accusation saying, “It is all about the Benjamins, Baby.” Benjamins is a reference to $100 bills which picture Benjamin Franklin on the front.

Blunt and harsh, she was accusing the Jewish people of buying off the American Congress to support Israel, meaning that any support for Israel among both Jewish and non-Jewish people meant being disloyal to their nation. As one commentator summed it up, “Her attack was upon alleged worldwide Jewish power.”

The Invisible Battle

Hostility toward Israel is impacting Jewish people in Europe in a very specific way. Jewish people are beginning to emigrate from these nations in increasing numbers. Their destination is Israel. There is an invisible battle underlying this global attack on the Jewish people.

Both the tactics and the goals reflect one invisible enemy, Satan. His “enmity” against both Israel and its future rule under Jesus is prophesied according to the Hebrew Scriptures. His final confrontation with Israel, and ultimately, with the King of Kings, Jesus, will be in Jerusalem. Again, it is not surprising where the current persecution of Jewish people has led those who hate Israel.

Thankfully, there is good news from the Lord: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (Jesus) shall bruise thy head (a fatal wound to Satan) and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). In God’s timing, Satan and the antisemitism he inspires in the world will be entirely defeated.


Howard Rothenberg serves with IBJM in central Florida.