Antisemitism’s Perpetual Star Turn

The Fall of 2022 was good for antisemitism. Ye (née Kanye West), Kyrie Irving, and a Donald Trump dinner party with white supremacist Nick Fuentes (and Ye), showed a renewed engagement with antisemitic beliefs and the myths that underlie them. They also (thankfully) generated a great deal of sympathy for and support of American Jews, in response.

It goes without saying that antisemitism has long been a concern for American Jewish organizations. Some track it, some try to explain it, and some try to eradicate it or at least diminish its power or popularity.  A great deal of these discussions can be found in the Berman Archive.  

Writing in 1936, Lee Levinger of B’nai B’rith noted “with amazement and horror the vast revival of anti-Semitism in our own day.”  He observed its newfound popularity and laid out a program for fighting it. Antisemitism, he wrote,

…cannot be combatted alone. It can be attacked or prevented only by the defense of democracy against fascism, the protection of all minorities here and abroad, the movement against all war, including the minor wars that are waged against minorities.

For Levinger—who also wrote a book on the subject (pictured to the right) antisemitism was one vector of a worldwide problem, one that folded into larger global political challenges. For him, antisemitism could not be solved or addressed without addressing other varieties of prejudice, bias, and systematic hatred. Antisemitism might be unique but it does not exist in a vacuum, either politically or culturally. The recent uptick in celebrity antisemitism might be surprising, and though it singles out Jews, it echoes with broader and deeper concerns about the place of minorities in a world whose diverse character poses a problem for some Ideologies of power and privilege.


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