A Plea Against "Anti-Semitism"

(Times of Israel) Shulamit S. Magnus - The term "anti-Semitism" is much in use, but it is terribly problematic. Indeed, it is part of the problem and should be dropped from use. "Anti-Semitism" posits the falsehood that Jews are "Semites." Jews are - Jews. The term "Semites" implies race. Jews are not a race. In fact, no one is. "Race" is a notion invented by racists who wish to establish hierarchies among groups, with themselves in the uppermost one. The term "anti-Semitism" was introduced by a Jew-hater, Wilhelm Marr, when he founded the "League of Anti-Semites" in Germany in 1879. Marr divided groups into racial entities and posited a deathly struggle with "Jewishness," which posed a lethal threat to "Germanness," Germany, and indeed, the entire Western world. Marr's paranoid vision, with the core common to all Jew-hatred - that Jews are not weak, disadvantaged, or victimized but on the contrary, demonically strong and threatening - continues to this day. "Anti-Semitism" is a euphemism, at best, a dressed-up term to avoid saying "Jews," when this is about hatred of Jews. The term should be removed from use. People who hate Jews are Jew-haters. Speech or other acts that target Jews are anti-Jewish. The phenomenon is Jew-hatred. The writer is professor of Jewish Studies and History and director of the program of Jewish Studies at Oberlin College.

2020-02-28 00:00:00

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