Amelie Englander (She/Her) talks about how she feels surrounding the current situation in Israel and how it social media is having an impact on the opinions of society. If any Young Zionist readers wishes for some more resources surrounding the conflict, feel free to get in touch with me. I am more than happy to point you towards some resources.
Content warning: anti-Semitic language, mention of rape.
The current political climate has undeniably taken the world by a ferocious, unrelenting storm. It’s a storm that every person who holds a Jewish identity dreads because as painful as it is to write, Judaism is the one minority the general public seem to press the pause button on their activism for.
With such a pressing situation like the Israel/Palestine conflict, it’s nearly impossible to even articulate my thoughts into words. I have so many feelings and emotions accumulating inside my head that I feel like it could burst. I have never been one to particularly keep up with politics, of course I have opinions on other issues that have surfaced recently, but the Israel/Palestine conflict is one that is fueled by and expels such bitterness and animosity, it simply cannot be ignored.
First of all, I could not even begin to talk about the conflict itself, I am aware that I am not educated nor prepared enough to argue for or defend Israel – which is why I don’t. I have no problem admitting this, however, people who have been keeping up with the conflict and studying it for years still do not know the full story; so how is it that people (who didn’t even know Israel existed a week ago) read a somewhat aesthetic and neatly presented four-slide infographic on Instagram – of all ‘reputable’ places – that has not even been fact proofed and think they know the entirety of the conflict? This goes for both sides of the conflict; I do not want to be bias.
The problem with sharing these kinds of things is that it sparks hatred for the other side. It is evident that neither the Israeli government nor Hamas is innocent, however, to hold Israelis and Palestinians responsible for the actions and wrongdoings of their government is akin to holding British people responsible for the actions of Boris Johnson. When it comes to the conflict in the Middle East, people will make any excuse to condemn Israel, this time it has been condemned to such an extremity that it has made fellow Jews almost scared to leave their homes.
Over the last week, I have been tortured with the displeasure of viewing scenes of the supposedly “peaceful” protest for Palestinian rights in London. A clip of the protest I found particularly unsettling, captured protestors shouting obscenities such as “F**k the Jews,” “F**k their daughters,” “F**k their mothers,” “Rape their daughters.” It is extremely hard to come to terms with the fact that this is occurring in today’s age. It seems all too degenerative and transgressive, yet this is the scary reality for Jews momentarily. It’s terrifying and harrowing and it haunts me to think that this may be the new norm. Will we henceforth be inclined to hide our Magen David chains under our clothes? Will our men have to wear hats over their kippahs, like they do in France? Will we have to be escorted in and out of synagogue by security, so that we don’t get attacked? When will it end? At what point will we have faced enough oppression?
As if it isn’t enough that Jewish people are being victimised and being used as a target of hate, we also have to cope with the fact that we are entirely alone in this matter. When logging onto social media – which I shouldn’t be at the moment as I feel worse every time I do – the only people I see raising any sort of awareness for the antisemitic abuse are Jews themselves. I don’t think I will ever be able to fathom why this is. Is it because we don’t physically stand out and can ‘blend in’ with society? Is it because we are stereotypically ‘rich’ and ‘successful’ as opposed to other minorities, so we don’t need to be protected? However ‘rich’ and ‘successful’ we are portrayed to be, will never let us escape the oppression of the anti-Semites.
Jews worldwide are being oppressed and attacked for the actions of an entirely different country’s government – simply because they share the religion and ethnicity of that of the established one of Israel. As Michael Koplow, Israel Policy Director adeptly writes on Twitter: “It’s remarkable how the people who attack Jews in the street, shout genocidal slogans about Jews., deface synagogues and other Jewish institutions, all in the guise of expressing opposition to Israel don’t understand that they are instead making the case for Israel’s necessity”.
To deny the necessity for a Jewish state is to further prove the need for one – as Koplow maintains.
The inevitable perpetuation of anti-Semitism is subsequently intensified when popular celebrities such as Adeel Raja, Trevor Noah and Bella Hadid write antisemitic and anti-Zionist posts on social media platforms:
Rajah and Noah’s comments in particular, the most shocking being: “Hail Hitler!” extenuates the Holocaust - one of the most inhumane, despicable and barbaric atrocities in Jewish history, or any history for that matter. The fact he even has the audacity and inhumanity to write this, and then going as far as to post it on a public platform designed to influence individuals further conveys the contempt people have - and as awful as it is to admit –will always have for Jews, unless a major change is made. Again, I will always fail to comprehend why. The predominant emotion I have when reading these comments is fear, sprinkled with disgust and then embellished with confusion.
This imminently starts a chain of oppression and further escalates the situation as anything that gets thrown into the public line of vision delays any form of control over the situation.
For now, Jewish people globally must face this oppression and try to remain safe. We can only hope this will be under control before it becomes even more out of hand.
On a personal note, if anyone wants to speak to me about how they’re feeling about the situation or just needs a friend, feel free to message me on any social media and I’ll be happy to listen.
Thank you for reading and let’s get through this together.
Amelie Englander (She/Her)