Don't Kid Yourself, They Are Antisemites

AP Photo/Richard Drew

You don't have to be an antisemite to oppose Israel's Gaza policies. I think you are wrong, in the main, and don't understand the conflict, buy the MSM narrative that is driven by longstanding hostility to Israel and especially Netanyahu, but there is a case to be made against the war's conduct. 

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But let's be real; almost nobody who is loudly criticizing Israel isn't an antisemite. Some reasonable, decent people are upset by the images they see and the hyperbole they read, but they aren't the activists driving controversy. War is ugly, and this war is ugly. But the "From the River to the Sea" crowd are vile antisemites and need to be called out. 

There are countless examples that demonstrate this; I have several dozen (or hundreds--I haven't counted) bookmarked videos, commentaries, tweets, and news stories that all point in this direction, but I won't bore you with what you already know (or refuse to see). Instead, I will focus on just one in this column.

There is a private Facebook group of therapists in Chicago who gather to discuss issues that affect them, and in March, one of the members asked about whether people in the group would work with Zionists. 

This, in itself, is an odd question. In recent years the "caring professions" have become highly politicized, and this is just one of many examples. (Vinay Prasad wrote about a case a while back where a cancer doctor lectured a terminal patient about how awful Donald Trump was.) We are a long way from Tony Soprano working his issues out with a therapist, I suppose. 

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Unsurprisingly, some therapists answered that of course they would work with patients who believed the State of Israel has a right to exist, which, after all, is the real meaning of the question. "Are you a Zionist?" is almost exactly the same question as "Does Israel have a right to exist." They mean the same thing, only stated differently. 

What happened next sparked fear and outrage among Jewish therapists in Chicago and across the country, and illuminated the atmosphere of intimidation and harassment faced by many Jews in the mental health world who won’t disavow Zionism. Those who replied, offering their services to this unnamed client, soon found themselves added to a list of supposedly Zionist therapists that was shared in a group called “Chicago Anti-Racist Therapists.”

“I’ve put together a list of therapists/practices with Zionist affiliations that we should avoid referring clients to,” Heba Ibrahim Joudeh, the document’s author, wrote. (A request for comment sent to the practice she runs with her husband did not receive a response.) The administrator of the anti-racist group chimed in, praising the list as a way “to be transparent about clinicians who promote and facilitate White supremacy via Zionism.” The comments came quickly: “Amazing, thank you,” one person wrote. “Omg a place I was looking at is on here,” another wrote, with angry emojis. 

The only trait shared by the 26 therapists on the list is that they are Jewish. “When I saw this whole list created and my name on the list, I was so confused and in disbelief about how, in 2024, this is considered OK. It was a list of Jews,” said Anna Finkelshtein, a licensed clinical social worker in Chicago who immigrated from Russia as a child. “I do not post publicly about the conflict or about Israel at all, ever. It feels like the only way to feel safe as a Jew in the mental health field is to publically speak out against Israel and condemn it and call it a genocide.”

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Call it a Blue list instead of a Blacklist, as the color of the Israeli flag is blue. Or it can be a Yellow Star list. You get the idea, though: keep patients away from Jews or anybody who supports them. 

It's appalling that anybody might think this is OK, but this is America in 2024, where elite college students wear keffiyehs as hijabs, praise their "martyrs," and scream, "I am Hamas." Jews are prevented from walking freely, wearing a kippah is "provocative," and if you are recognizably Jewish, you are a pariah in some circles. 

And, of course, the people doing this call themselves "Antiracist" because if there is one thing you can be sure of, it is that Leftists are abusing our language as if it were a dog being trained by Michael Vick. 

At best, these therapists say their field has been willing to turn a blind eye to the antisemitism that they think is too rampant to avoid. At worst, they worry the mental health profession is becoming inhospitable to Jewish practitioners whose support for Israel puts them outside the prevailing progressive views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The goal in therapy is to provide compassionate care to whoever walks through your door,” Dean McKay, a professor of psychology at Fordham University, told JI. “As part of our training — I don’t remember in my own training, and it’s not the way that I train anybody else, to ever say, ‘Look, here are the people who are worthy of our care.’”

“We all worried that it could get this bad, but I don’t think any of us were actually expecting it to happen,” said Halina Brooke, a licensed professional counselor in Phoenix, Ariz. Four years ago, she created an organization called the Jewish Therapist Collective to build community among Jewish professionals and raise the alarm about an undercurrent of antisemitism in the field. “Once Oct. 7 hit, we’ve all been in crisis mode since literally that morning, and the stories that have come in from colleagues and about their clients have been horrifying.”

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I doubt that we are seeing an upswing in antisemitism. Instead, I think antisemites have been freed by the war to say out loud what they have been thinking all along. And what they think is very, very ugly. 

Unhappy people often look for somebody to blame, and Jews have always been a convenient target. They are both similar to but distinct from the larger cultures within which they live. They have distinct cultural traits and more conservative Jews tend to be easy to pick out, but only if you do a double-take. 

They live among us but succeed at higher-than-average rates in high-prestige jobs (Jews make up 0.2% of the world population but have garnered 20% of the Nobel Prizes), so they are clearly distinct in some way, although since most Jews are well-integrated into their societies, conspiracists see them as a fifth column. 

If you are looking for a scapegoat, Jews are an easy target. They become the almost hidden enemy in these people's eyes. 

Antiracists are unhappy people. It's impossible to deny that. Their entire identity is wrapped up in believing they are oppressed and society sucks.

So they blame White people in general and Jews--Ashkenazi Jews in particular--for all the world's ills. It's absurd, of course. Statistically speaking, there are no Jews in the world at all. 0.2% is a minuscule number. A rounding error. There are 16 million Jews in a world of 8 billion people. 

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Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof summed up how a lot of Jews feel when confronted by their unique status: "I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?"

Once again, Jews are paying a price for being so visible, and as Tevye notes, it's not exactly fair. Jews have been living in a world that wants them to go away. That's what is behind all this Israel bashing--it's people who want Jews to die already. 

PS: Do you think you're doing your part to help Trump? Do 10x more. 

PPS: (You know my pitch for VIP and VIP Gold membership to fight the Protection Racket Media well enough by now ... so use the code FAKENEWS to get 50% off. UPDATE: Click the bar at the top for 60% off today only!)

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John Stossel 1:00 PM | June 15, 2024
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