Thursday, August 04, 2016

Letting Anti-Semitism Fly

The most radical thing about this Jordana Horn article in the Kveller may be its title: "It's Time We Stopped Letting Anti-Semitism Fly."


Because for too long, the narrative most certainly has not been that Jews are too reticent to step in and call out anti-Semitism. Much the opposite: it is taken as an article of faith that Jews do nothing but call out anti-Semitism -- consistently, persistently, often over-sensitively. The idea that Jews need to be told to confront anti-Semitism more aggressively would have been laughable. Even our own institutions take it as a given that Jews "cry anti-Semitism" at the drop of a hat.

I don't think that's true. It hasn't been my experience. There are, to be sure, a variety of responses one can take to perceived anti-Semitism -- and sometimes, depending on the context, letting it slide is a valid choice. But the point is we should trust Jewish evaluations of the situation we're in. If you're Jewish, and a pattern of discourse or conduct worries or threatens you as a Jew, you shouldn't feel uncomfortable speaking out about it. Our testimony may not (and perhaps should not) represent the end of the discussion; but it should be seen as a valid -- indispensable, even -- contribution to it.

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