Why did a massacre of Jews lead to an explosion of antisemitism?

My theory is that the Israel haters panicked.

Los Angeles Police Department officers clash with anti-Israel protesters outside the Adas Torah Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Los Angeles, June 23, 2024. Photo by David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images.
Los Angeles Police Department officers clash with anti-Israel protesters outside the Adas Torah Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Los Angeles, June 23, 2024. Photo by David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images.
DAVID SUISSA Editor-in-Chief Tribe Media/Jewish Journal (Israeli American Council)
David Suissa
David Suissa is editor-in-chief and publisher of Tribe Media Corp and Jewish Journal. He can be reached at davids@jewishjournal.com.

On the surface, it makes little sense.

How can the biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust lead to the biggest rise in antisemitism in modern times?

Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around? The more Jews die, the more they like us? Like that famous book said, “People Love Dead Jews.”

How does one explain that on Oct. 8, right after 1,200 Jews were massacred, mutilated, butchered and raped by Hamas terrorists, 33 Harvard student organizations co-signed a statement holding Israel “entirely responsible” for the violence?

How does one explain that on Oct. 8, as the ADL reported, “anti-Israel activists flocked to rallies across the United States at which speakers and attendees openly celebrated the brutal attacks?”

How does one explain that even as families were being burned alive, a group like If Not Now couldn’t find an ounce of sympathy for the victims, releasing a statement that “we cannot and will not say today’s actions by Palestinian militants are unprovoked”?

Remember, this was BEFORE any military action started in Gaza. This was before Jewish blood had dried. This was instant, reflexive.

How does one explain such callousness?

My theory is that the Israel haters panicked.

The tragedy of Oct. 7 was so enormous, the violence of Hamas so blatant, the images of Jews being massacred so graphic, that it posed a stunning threat to the cemented narrative of Jews and Israel as oppressors.

Thus, an immediate and massive response was required to shift the focus back to Israel. The world must always know that big, bad Israel had it coming. That is the narrative that must never be disturbed.

The problem was that no one had ever seen such savage, monumental Palestinian violence as was displayed on Oct. 7. Usual explanations like the “occupation” were too small, too quaint. Occupation was too 1967. Occupation was two-states.

To match the epic nature of Oct. 7, the haters had to go back to 1948. They had to undermine the very birth of the Jewish state.

That’s why we’ve been hearing cries of “we don’t want two states” and “from the river to the sea”. This is no longer about ending an occupation for future coexistence. This is about ending Israel’s very existence.

The war in Gaza has fueled the rioters in two ways. One, it has given them a pretext to use the deaths of Palestinians as a moral cover. But again, notice the use of extreme language—not occupation but apartheid and genocide.

The second way the war has fueled the rioters is by reminding them how difficult it will be to get rid of Israel. This has exacerbated their rage. They see that these are not the powerless Jews who went to their slaughter in Holocaust death camps. These are badass Zionists who know how to fight.

Nevertheless, Oct. 7 introduced the tantalizing possibility that even these badass Zionists can be defeated. After 75 years of military victories, the dreaded Jewish state finally got the spanking it deserved. The haters smelled blood, even victory.

So while the war has put Israel back in the oppressor camp, this is no longer enough of a victory. Oct. 7 gave the haters a taste of the ultimate victory of eliminating Israel—and they liked it. The new goal is to put Israel squarely in the defeated camp.

The Jews have tasted defeat before, however, and no matter how the world may feel about dead Jews, they will fight like hell to never taste it again.

Originally published by the Jewish Journal.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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