June 10, 2009 marked the first and last time I was surprised by the depths of human hatred. I was driving to D.C., returning to an internship at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, where I was working on the extradition of a Nazi war criminal. Just outside of Crystal City, I heard that a hateful 88-year-old white supremacist had walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and shot and killed Special Police Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns.
My blood went cold. I had worked in the museum around once a week for the preceding three months. I knew the librarians, the friendly guards, the researchers. And while I had spent over a decade learning about the past, I am ashamed to say I was unaware that Holocaust-era antisemitism was alive and well.
In the intervening years, I have written frequently about the alarming, worldwide rise of antisemitic hate, and the importance of studying the Holocaust as a means of combating all prejudice. The hallmark of every piece I write is a desperate call for people of all backgrounds to unite against hatred.
Since I have begun writing about antisemitism, I have become the target of antisemitism. Commenters attack me not for my ideas so much as for my “Jewishness.”
Here’s the kicker: I am not Jewish.
You do not have to be Jewish to care about antisemitism, which is rampant in our country. Just 2.2 percent of the U.S. population is Jewish, and yet 57.8 percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes target Jews.
Hate that harms any human ought to stir us all from complacency. Besides, as Britain’s former chief rabbi, the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, once said, “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews.”
My latest “admirer” is exceptionally hateful. An anti-Israel Holocaust-excuser, he raves in anger against my outcries for tolerance and the study of history.
This man claims I write my pieces at the behest of a conglomerate of Jewish puppeteers, who tell me when, and where, and what to write. He says that I place Jewish suffering above the suffering of any other demographic. He accuses me of enabling ethnic cleansing and genocide. He says I hope to incite the hatred that I desperately call to end, and that I want Jews to be victimized so that I can be monetarily compensated. He explains that the Jews of Germany deserved the restrictions Adolf Hitler placed upon them, and claims that the Jews of today have not learned from the Holocaust’s lessons. Among other disgusting threats, he insinuates that, because I ask people to study it, I am setting up future Holocausts to come.
Mostly, he just rages at me for being Jewish, and a woman, to boot.
This man joins multiple individuals who have dedicated scads of time to picking me apart for being Jewish. One commenter was flummoxed by my acquisition of an Irish last name, so he came up with a back story, surmising that I had used mind-control and considerable sexual wiles to dupe an Irish man into marrying me to hide my real background.
It is alarming to be viscerally hated for simply advocating for the study of actual history and the humanity of Jewish people. At the same time, these individuals’ attacks prove my thesis more effectively than anything I could cite. Their hate demonstrates that antisemitism has not died, but rather slugs along, mutating to fit the times.
The worldview of hate is simplistic. For people like my new admirer, it is positively unconscionable that someone who is not Jewish would care about anti-Jewish prejudice. The race-obsessed believe that others must be as fixated upon race as they are. They can fathom nothing more complex.
The playbook for hate is also predictable. Should my new fan discover that I am Catholic, I will become a race-traitor, a globalist, or a Zionist, all terms of loathing for those who profess various iterations of antisemitism. Perhaps I will become a mind-controlled enabler of the Israeli apartheid, another conspiracy theory thrown around by those who hope that onlookers have not heard of the First Intifada and the Second Intifada, and that they will be unaware that the Palestinian Authority makes payments to terrorists or their families for the rest of their lives if they conduct deadly attacks against Israelis.
Thankfully, the situation is far from hopeless. They may be loud, but the people who hate are few. On the other hand, the people who abhor hate are manifold. I know many personally. They are the people who publish my writing; the silent clickers who read but do not comment; the friends who tell me in private that my work matters to them, and the loved ones who send me updates when they hear of anti-Jewish prejudice. They are Muslim, Jewish, and Baháʼí. They practice multiple denominations of Christianity. Some have no particular faith practice, but hold firm to a strong internal sense of right and wrong.
Our collective existence is a powerful outcry against the narrow mindset of hate.
I welcome you to join our cohort by staying informed about the dangers of antisemitism. Teach your friends, and especially your children, that the Holocaust occurred, and that it resulted in the deaths of six million Jews and multiple millions of non-Jews. Send a donation, or purchase a membership, to the USHMM or your local Holocaust museum. Talk about prejudice with your friends, and learn how to be an ally for the Jewish community — and any other communities being targeted with hatred.
These actions are a firm statement that you reject hate.
If we stand up to it together, hate will find no soil in which to take hold.
*DISCLAIMER* This post resides behind the Medium paywall with the intent that any proceeds it generates will be donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in honor of those whose histories they work tirelessly to protect, and to the millions of departed souls to whom their work pays tribute.