It’s been called the world’s oldest hatred. In back-to-back debates in this UpFront special, we discuss anti-Semitism.
In the first debate, a panel explores the rise – or return – of anti-Semitism among the far right, and discusses if Donald Trump’s election has emboldened those attitudes.
And in the second debate, we discuss anti-Semitism among the left, and the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
Part 1: Anti-Semitism on the political right
Since Donald Trump’s election victory in November, anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise in the US, with swastikas and other Nazi imagery increasingly popping up.
Has far-right anti-Semitism been energised by Trump’s election win?
“It’s not so much that this anti-Semitism didn’t exist before; it probably did exist but it was under the radar,” says Haaretz senior columnist Chemi Shalev. “The candidacy of Donald Trump brought forth or emboldened all sorts of anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish groups who nobody paid attention to any more.”
Hadas Gold, a media reporter for Politico magazine, says: “Some of my colleagues got actual letters to their personal addresses at home – it was rather frightening. I mean, it’s never pleasant to see your face with a bullet hole through it. These direct threats were something new, and they were almost always directly connected to Donald Trump.”
In the first part of this UpFront special, Chemi Shalev and Hadas Gold discuss the troubling resurgence of anti-Semitism among the hard right.
Part 2: Anti-Semitism on the political left
With anti-Semitism on the rise across parts of Europe, is it something the left and supporters of the Palestinians need to tackle urgently, or is anti-Semitism being used and abused by supporters of Israel?
“Just because sometimes not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, doesn’t mean that it never is,” says Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, who also writes for The Jewish Chronicle. “Sometimes it is, the way it’s expressed. If it borrows from or draws on the language or imagery of old style anti-Jewish prejudice, then it is.”
Israeli-Canadian Lisa Goldman, cofounder of the left-wing Israeli journal 972, says: “I do see it on the rise in Europe on the left, but the crude anti-Semitism I’m seeing comes from the radical right.”
Palestinian-American human rights lawyer Noura Erakat, who is also an author and academic, says: “I think that obviously there is a misunderstanding that’s constructed. But at the end of the day, those who are part of a movement against Zionism are part of a liberatory movement not only for Palestinians, but it has an emancipator potential for Jewish people as well.”
In the second part of this UpFront special, Jonathan Freedland, Lisa Goldman and Noura Erakat debate anti-Semitism among the political left.