What, exactly, is antisemitism, and how can we identify it?
In his full-lengthy study, The Definition of Anti-Semitism, Kenneth L. Marcus explained that,
Anti-Semitism consists of negative attitudes toward the Jewish people, individually or collectively; conduct that reflects these attitudes; and ideologies that sustain them. In other words, it means hostility toward Jews, including thoughts that are not acted upon and actions that are not fully thought out. As a set of attitudes, it ranges from mild disdain to virulent loathing. As a form of conduct, it embraces hostility toward individual Jews, Jewish institutions, and Jewish collectivity. As an ideology, it provides a way to make sense of the entire world and all of history, not just the relatively small territory occupied by the descendants of Jacob.
Did you catch that?
For an antisemite, the only way to make sense of world history and the only way to make sense of contemporary politics is to understand “the Jews.” They are somehow pulling the strings behind the major events taking place on the globe, in particular the bad ones. “It’s those miserable Jews! They’re behind it all!”
And so, whether it is world wars or world banks, whether it is the 9/11 terrorist attacks or ISIS, it is “the Jews” who are somehow controlling the outcome and directing the course of the world.
It’s always “the Jews!”
There is a world of difference between fair and honest criticism of Jewish individuals (or groups) and antisemitism, just as there is a world of difference between, say, fair and honest criticism of African American individuals (or groups) and anti-Black racism.
So, when it comes to American Jews, it is fair to ask...