Jewish celebrities hijack antisemitic #JewishPrivilege to share stories

Twitter users decided to hijack the hashtag #JewishPrivilege by using it to tell stories about the discrimination they and their families have faced over the years.

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS/KACPER PEMPEL)
People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KACPER PEMPEL)
Jewish celebrities, influences and public figures have taken to social media to share stories of antisemitism that they and their families have faced, under the hashtag #JewishPrivilege.
The hashtag was originally spread over Twitter by far-right and far-left users as a means to share antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial, among other topics. The suggestion is that Jews are privileged, and do not face any discrimination, while also suggesting they are responsible for the discrimination faced by others throughout history.
“The idea that Jews are a ‘privileged’ group is a slur designed to deny that antisemitism exists and to imply that Jews are a cause of racism towards other minorities,” the UK-based watchdog Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) explained.
The watchdog attempted to take action against the hashtag, but these attempts were unsuccessful, with Twitter “saying that it did not breach its terms of service, which evidently permit the platform to be used for the dissemination of racist material.”
However, users on Jewish Twitter decided to hijack the hashtag by using it to tell stories about the discrimination they and their families have faced over the years.
One of the earliest voices in the movement, Israeli columnist and activist Hen Mazzig, tweeted that “#JewishPrivilege is when my grandparents were violently forced out of Iraq and Tunisia for being Jewish with only the clothes to their back. Along with 850,000 other MENA Jews they arrived to Israel with nothing, only spoke Arabic, and lived in a tent/tin shack for years.” He then called on his followers to share their and their families' stories.
Mazzig was later overwhelmed with the posts of people's experiences after the hashtag was hijacked to share stories of Jewish survival, saying that the hashtag is rending again "but for the right reason this time."
One of the notable responses to Mazzig was British actress Tracy Ann-Oberman, who wrote that “#JewishPrivilege means my fam tortured/ murdered in concentration camps /Warsaw ghetto & frequent rapes & Cossack attacks in Belarus Jewish ghettos.”
Jewish-American comedian Sarah Silverman said that Jewish Privilege was “My dad getting the s**t kicked out of him everyday at school for being a kike to kids in NH throwing pennies at me on the bus to pastors in Florida calling for my death and telling their congregation that knocking my teeth out and killing me would be God’s work.”
She later added that “people like Jews when they’re suffering. Less comfortable with Jews if they’re thriving… [To be honest,] Jews basically feel the same.”
Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson said in response that “it’s people emailing & tweeting to me that Jews need to be quiet now & that ‘that’s not just a suggestion’ or friends who don’t realize I’m Jewish making it clear how antisemitic they are or family members afraid to wear a Star of David in their own neighborhood.”
Jewish actor Josh Gad tweeted “guess we’re at the #JewishPrivilege part of 2020 because Neo-Nazis have a social platform. Where to start? Is it the privilege of my mom never getting to meet her grandparents because they were murdered or is it her parents being robbed of their childhoods by being put in camps?”
TV producer David Simon wrote “My #JewishPrivilege? Garden-variety stuff. Eleven dead relatives at Auschwitz and in the Russian woods and a father who was a hostage and suffered PTSD years after the Jewish non-profit where he worked was stormed by angry dudes with guns & scimitars who threatened to behead him.”
Linda Frum, a senator from Canada's Conservative Party, wrote “my #JewishPrivilege is knowing that if my in-laws had not survived their respective death camps and death marches, the man I love as my husband would not have made it onto this earth.”
American Jewish Committee global communications director and former Jewish Agency spokesman Avi Mayer wrote “whenever I travel, right before I get off the plane, I have to decide whether I think it's safe to identify openly as a Jew. More often than not, I remove the kippah from my head and fold it into my jeans pocket, hoping no one around me noticed.
“That's my #JewishPrivilege.”
Popular cosplay model and gaming icon Liz Katz wrote that “#JewishPrivilege is every time I post about my heritage I am met with a bombardment of antisemitic comments. Growing up it was my friends and their families trying to ‘save me’ from damnation because I wasn't Christian.”
Antisemitism has been on the rise in the West, partially fueled by conspiracy theories spread regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Its presence on online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and TikTok has been growing, and many notable public figures have been heard expressing antisemitic sentiments.