July 19, 2024
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Antisemitism Is Not a Partisan Issue

I am writing to respond to Martin Polack’s letter dated November 30, 2023, “Democrats, Liberals, Wake Up!” I implore Mr. Polack and other readers of The Jewish Link not to fool themselves into thinking that antisemitism is a partisan problem. Antisemitism is not just a simple hatred or prejudice, as shown by historian Deborah Lipstadt, journalist Yair Rosenberg, and many others. It is a conspiracy theory—in fact, the ultimate conspiracy theory—that seems to offer disaffected people throughout the society and across the political spectrum an easy answer to all their problems. This is why it is so insidious and pervasive.

From the end of the Shoah until quite recently, antisemitism resided on the extreme margins of both political parties in the United States. In recent years, it has become part of the acceptable discourse on both the right and the left. If 2017 was the year that the mask came off on the right (think of the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, VA, and the ensuing controversy), 2023 is the year the mask has come fully off on the left.

What happens when we pretend that antisemitism exists only on one side of the political divide? We will cede that side to the extremists, to the peril of us all. Let’s acknowledge that there will always be disagreement on political issues in the United States, and that’s fine. Such disagreements aside, it is incumbent upon all of us to speak out when we see antisemitism rearing its head in our own political party and do what we can to address and eliminate it.

Rebecca Cypess
Highland Park

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