2021 proves that antisemitism manifests as anti-Zionism - opinion

The attack last week proves, once again, that anti-Israel hatred is modern antisemitism.

 THE WRITER wears an IDF sweatshirt in solidarity with Blake Zavadsky and Ilan Kaganovich. (photo credit: EMILY SCHRADER)
THE WRITER wears an IDF sweatshirt in solidarity with Blake Zavadsky and Ilan Kaganovich.
(photo credit: EMILY SCHRADER)

The year 2021 proved unquestionably that modern antisemitism is often manifested in anti-Zionism and anti-Israel hatred.

Last week was no different, with a violent attack on an American Jew wearing an IDF shirt in Brooklyn. Yet instead of acknowledging reality, far left Jews and anti-Israel activists try to excuse these antisemitic incidents, even when the incidents involve violence.

On December 26, Blake Zavadsky and Ilan Kaganovich were approached by two assailants in Brooklyn and asked if they support “those dirty Jews,” a reference to the IDF sweatshirt Zavadsky was wearing. When Zavadsky refused to remove the shirt, the assailants began violently attacking him and threw iced coffee on the shirt. 

In response, a social media campaign in support of Zavadsky and Kaganovich has popped up, with Jews and supporters of Israel around the world sharing photos of themselves in IDF shirts, in solidarity. New York Councilwoman Inna Vernikov also helped organize a rally of support against antisemitic incidents, which have been on the rise there and elsewhere.

But not everyone is on board. 

 Blake Zavadsky in his IDF hoodie after being attacked on Sunday. (credit: COURTESY OF BLAKE ZAVADSKY) Blake Zavadsky in his IDF hoodie after being attacked on Sunday. (credit: COURTESY OF BLAKE ZAVADSKY)

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, anti-Israel extremist Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of Within Our Lifetime, republished a video of her trying to set fire to a man’s IDF sweatshirt, calling it the “original IDF shirt challenge.” In her post she also encouraged further attacks, claiming that destroying Zionist property “isn’t illegal.” She deleted the post altogether several hours later.

Kiswani is a known extremist who was a leader of last year’s controversial anti-Israel rallies titled “Globalize the Intifada,” in which she was filmed protesting outside American Jewish institutions and stating “we don’t want two states, we want all of it.”

While most people who learned of the attack were able to recognize the inherent antisemitic nature of it, social media had no shortage of fools ready to broadcast their bigotry to the world.

Rapper Soul Khan, aka Noah Weston, whose anti-Israel tweets seem to be far more successful than anything else he tweets, recorded a video of himself to “his fellow Jews” arguing that the violence wasn’t antisemitic, because IDF hoodies are “genocide hoodies.” In response to the attackers’ calling the victim a “dirty Jew,” Soul Khan blamed Israel, of course.

Khan’s Twitter feed has no shortage of content about how “Israel has no right to exist,” but not much about being Jewish, except when it comes to bashing the one Jewish state, bashing Zionism, or bashing anyone espousing a pro-Israel viewpoint. Funny how that works.

The reality is that no matter what one’s views on Israel are, physically beating someone after asking if they’re a “dirty Jew” is undeniably antisemitic – regardless of what the State of Israel or the IDF has done.

If you don’t see the problem, imagine the scenario with any other group. If a Syrian was wearing the emblem of the Syrian army on the streets of America, no one would beat him up and accuse him of supporting “those Muslims,” in the name of human rights or anything else. And if they did? You certainly wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) see people excusing it with, “Well, the Syrian army commits war crimes.”

This is not to say that the IDF is even remotely similar to the Syrian army, because it isn’t. Rather, it is an illustration of the absurd hypocrisy applied to antisemitic incidents, and the mental gymnastics required by the far Left to excuse violence – but only when directed at Jews.

The attack last week proves, once again, that anti-Israel hatred is modern antisemitism. It also proves that we have a long way to go in fighting back against the minority of loud extremists who will do anything, including excuse outright violence, to promote their ludicrous political agenda.

You can even oppose Israeli policy and still recognize the antisemitic nature of violence against Jews around the world. The fact so many anti-Israel activists fail to do so only provides more evidence that anti-Zionism today is rooted in antisemitic ideas.

The writer is CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.