Woke Racism: 'Jewish Privilege' | Opinion

On a recent Sunday afternoon, #JewishPrivilege was trending on Twitter. What does this even mean?

To be a Jew in America apparently means you are privileged to be the most targeted ethnic and religious group in the country, according to the FBI. Jewish students on college campuses have had the privilege of being victimized in more than 175 incidents of anti-Semitism so far this year, notes the anti-Semitism watchdog group AMCHA Initiative. Is it a privilege that in 2019, over half the hate crimes in New York City were committed against Jews? Maybe it's growing up hearing stories about your relatives murdered by the Nazis, or during the pogroms that ravaged the Jews of Eastern Europe. Anti-Semitism is a "privilege" only in Orwellian doublespeak.

This latest form of Jew-hatred began just a few years ago. I recall flyers posted on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago in the spring of 2017 that read, "ENDING WHITE PRIVILEGE STARTS WITH ENDING JEWISH PRIVILEGE." The flyers depicted Jews at the peak of a pyramid of wealth, claiming that 44 percent of Jews were in the top one percent. The horror in this story is not the falsehood of the statistics, but that the goal of the flyers was to elicit hatred toward Jews.

The flyers reflected a disdain for Jews shared by anti-Israel organizations on campus and their leftist allies who preach "intersectionality," proffered as a common bond of all putatively oppressed groups. This ideology links Muslim groups with radical feminists and progressive organizations whose goals might have nothing in common other than an abhorrence of Israel and Jews who don't fall in line with their far-left ideology.

If there is any silver lining in the anti-Jewish trend that is the "Jewish Privilege" Twitter hashtag, it's that Jews from across the political spectrum took to social media and fought back. Jews reclaimed the hashtag by sharing their encounters as Jews, and the anti-Semitism they have experienced.

But the fact that in 2020, Jews had to take to modern media platforms to combat Jew-hatred, is disturbing. "#JewishPrivilege" was used by so many to express hatred for the Jewish people that it was publicized by Twitter as a trending hashtag.

#JewishPrivilege is the voice of the woke racist—the college-age, hip bigots who protest against police and vandalize statues of historical figures. Practitioners of intersectionality, they have bought into the age-old blame-the-Jews mentality. White privilege is bad, and Jewish privilege is even worse.

But this new hatred is only the tip of the iceberg. Jewish privilege "means always having to say you're sorry"—sorry for all the sins immortalized in centuries-old canards that continue to flourish in America and around the world.

Twitter on smartphone
Twitter on smartphone OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan used his annual Criterion Speech to blame Jews for the ills of the world, preaching hate-filled lies about Jewish control and power to over a million people on YouTube. One wonders how many new woke bigots were born out of his fire and brimstone about "Satan"—Farrakhan's trademark reference to Jews.

While Farrakhan was spewing his hate, DeSean Jackson of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles shared a vile anti-Semitic quote falsely attributed to Hitler.

Right before the Farrakhan and Jackson tirades, Nick Cannon, host of the Fox show "The Masked Singer," sat down with longtime anti-Semite, rapper Richard Griffin, for an anti-Semitic gabfest. After outrage by the Jewish community and a few media outlets, Cannon reluctantly apologized. But the damage was done. How many young people absorbed the hate and ignored the apology?

#JewishPrivilege is not the only new weapon of anti-Semitism. Blaming Jews for global tragedies has resurfaced anew in the age of COVID-19.

According to researchers at the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University, the pandemic has "unleashed a unique worldwide wave of anti-Semitism [that] includes a range of libels that have one common element: The Jews, the Zionists and/or the state of Israel are to blame for the pandemic and/or stand to gain from it."

A study conducted in May by Oxford University found that over 19 percent of the British public believe that Jews are responsible for the pandemic. No privilege in one-fifth of the population blaming you for a deadly virus.

Jews are in a lose-lose situation. Israel is a worldwide leader in the race to treat and cure COVID-19. Yet every anti-Israel government, from the Palestinian Authority to the Iranian regime, blames the Jewish state for the virus' spread. Iran even claims Israel created an extra deadly strain just for the Iranian people.

It's disturbing enough that millions, if not more, blame Jews for the virus. If the Israelis cure COVID-19, the anti-Semites will have a field day. The old libel of Zionist control and profit will dominate news headlines, be embraced by radical leftists and far-right groups and have its own hashtag on Twitter.

The concept of a privileged class—whether white privilege, Jewish privilege or Black privilege—must be called out for what it is: racism.

Paul Miller is president and executive director of the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter at @pauliespoint.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

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