Charlottesville Reactions Show Why Anti-Semitism Still Exists
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Charlottesville Reactions Show Why Anti-Semitism Still Exists

We white Jews may not be suffering like people of color in this situation, but the total silence on pointed Anti-semitism has been telling.

Charlottesville Reactions Show Why Anti-Semitism Still Exists

Social media recently has been swamped with news from Charlottesville, where white-supremacist "protesters" have been rallying. Since the rally began, I've read numerous, well-intentioned takes about white privilege and white sense of entitlement, especially in the context of backing people of color.

These are wonderful perspectives, all of which that I agree with wholeheartedly. But nowhere have I read anything giving support behind America's Jews. Considering that these alt-right individuals have been waving literal Nazi flags and have been chanting "Jews will not replace us", Jews have been a major target of these events and should be more vocally supported by liberal groups.

But there seems to be a lot of mix-up about the fact that we Jews do, in fact, require and yes, even deserve liberal support. Why are gentile liberals so vocal about other forms of oppression, but eerily quiet when it comes to Anti-Semitism?

Has modern Anti-Semitism really taken such an innocuous form?

The first major misconception about American Jews is that we are all white. This is just not true! I've known Asian Jews from Hebrew school, one of my closest friends is a Hispanic Jew, and my second cousins are black Jews. These people are not any less Jewish than I am.

The second major misconception is that white Jews benefit from white supremacy and white nationalism because, well, we're white. But the fact is that white supremacists and white nationalists - and the alt-right as a whole - do not think of Jews as any more white than they would consider people of color.

White Jews in America DO benefit from white privilege. We DO get to mostly go about our daily lives without the worry of being unfairly profiled, without facing government-backed oppression, without most other white people even realizing that we're not good, god-fearing Christians just like them.

White Jews in America, though, will NEVER benefit from actions like those taken in Charlottesville. We will NEVER benefit from Nazi flags. We will NEVER benefit from the likes of Richard Spencer quoting Hitler, will NEVER benefit from misconceptions about Jewish success, will NEVER benefit from conspiracies about us, will NEVER benefit from eugenics. We will NEVER benefit from white nationalism. Because white nationalism doesn't include us.

In these situations, we do not suffer more than people of color - but we do suffer an equal amount, or at least close enough to warrant some kind of verbal support or at least armchair activism. If a gentile were to speak up about how Jews are treated in these situations with even a fraction of the intensity that white liberals use to rally behind unfair treatment of people of color, I may believe that anti-Semitism is a product of the past, or at least confined to the brains of the delusional and insane.

But with this reluctance to speak up about it from even the most impassioned of liberals - no, especially from even the most impassioned of liberals - I believe that the anti-Semitism of modern America is not just reserved for people standing outside with torches and Nazi flags. It's in everyone who claims to be an activist for equal rights and equity, yet pointedly looks the other way when it comes to Jews.

I've seen people so intent on not helping Jews, that they interpret Nazi flags - yes, literal Nazi flags - as symbols of pro-whiteness, rather than symbols of anti-Semitism. It is true that Nazis were white supremacists, but their definition of "white" did not include us, no matter how "white passing" we may have been. This is some serious cognitive dissonance necessary to excuse hatred of Jews, from people who are literally going out of their ways to hate Jews.

Despite being the most consistently liberal voting base of any religion anywhere, we have never been welcomed in liberal spaces, again for the very same misconceptions that make the alt-right hate us - that we are systemically rigging the odds in our favor. We may certainly not be facing any (current) systemic oppression (in most of America, at least), but we do face more hatred than either group would care to admit. And unlike other kinds of hatred, this comes from gentiles of all races, all other religions, of all ethnicities.

So what can you, as a gentile activist do to ameliorate this condition? Just speak up. Just say something. Support your Jewish friends, your Jewish family, your local synagogues. Call Jewish people you love to make sure they are alright, and to check in with how they are dealing with the events in Charlottesville. And more than anything, let them know that you care about their safety, that you know that what these "protestors" in Charlottesville are doing is wrong and that it is absolutely despicable for anyone to blame them or accuse them of anything just because they are Jewish.

Let us know that you do care about the hatred that we face, that nobody else seems to care about. Be there to support us. Be the person that is needed right now, when it is so difficult for us to stand alone against this.

Maybe then, when we have people acknowledging that it's wrong, maybe then we can act like anti-Semitism isn't a problem in America.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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