Chris Macdonald-Dennis and I participate in an ongoing left-wing e-mail discussion group on anti-Semitism. Chris shared the link to Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz’s article in the current issue of Jewish Currents magazine, “Some Notes on Anti-Semitism from a Progressive Jewish Perspective,” and asked if she was “minimizing” the problem of anti-Semitism.
My response was that I respect the complex view she lays out, but what I think she’s minimizing is the extent to which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves provocations and nasty things done by both sides, not just by Israel. (If only her view of Israel were as complex and textured as her view of anti-Semitism.)
A non-Jew who participates with us as a “Gentile ally” also offered some important points that merit wide circulation:
Anti-Semitism is the fault of the anti-Semites, not the fault of Jews doing any particular thing. Jews should have the right to be radical, conservative, visible, rich, poor, to make mistakes and to be oppressive – all the things Gentiles do all the time – without being attacked for those things as Jews. There’s this odd little piece of anti-Semitism that says that Jews have to be better than anybody else in order to avoid anti-Semitism….
[And finally] Kantrowitz said that she didn’t feel that she needed to police the person with the “Sharon=Hitler” sign. But I think it is the responsibility of Gentile allies to talk to that person.