Politics

Belief Israelis Are ‘White Colonizers’ Has Stoked Campus Antisemitism

During an interview with PBS’s “Firing Line” aired on Friday, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Amb. Deborah Lipstadt stated that anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses is partially due to a view that Israel is “the oppressor” and stated that campus antisemitism has come out of a view that “Israel are white colonizers.”

Lipstadt stated, [relevant remarks begin around 38:20] “Maybe it’s — for some, it’s an ignorance. You hear things, oh, the Israelis, oh these — look, some of those students who are marching on campuses, whether it’s in England, whether it’s in France, whether it’s in Germany, whether it’s in the United States, if you ask them, from the river to the sea, they don’t know what river, what sea. … And it’s an ignorance, but students [glom] onto things. Who is the oppressor? The person with the tanks. Who is the oppressed? The person with the stones. But here it’s been much more than that.”

Host Margaret Hoover then said, “You are a student of antisemitism. You are an academic in this field. You have written [about] and understand the history of antisemitism, but also how it has emerged in modern times and in the contemporary moment since the founding of Israel. Explain how antisemitism in this contemporary moment has taken on the language of liberation.”

Lipstadt responded, “It’s taken it on with the Jewish colonizer. The Jew is white. Now, here’s the irony, 52%, 51%, we don’t know exactly, but that’s the guesstimate, of the Israeli population is non-European, non-Ashkenazi. … But if you ask some of the protesters on the campuses, whether it’s in this country or other countries, they will say to you, Israel are white colonizers. It’s an ignorance which has been too readily and too easily accepted. Whether, in every case, that ignorance has its roots in an antisemitism, I would say it’s often an unconscious — for some it’s quite conscious. But for some, it goes back to my comment that this is the oldest, longest hatred. If I’ve heard over and over again that the Jews are wrong, the Jews have done this, it’s a willingness to believe that is very disturbing.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett



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