To the Editor of the Old Gold & Black,
Wake Forest University’s Student Government is to be commended for its recent adoption of an antisemitism resolution. Coming on the heels of the Tree of Life synagogue shootings in October and the rise of antisemitism globally, the resolution makes an important statement about our collective unity and support of our fellow Wake Forest Jewish brothers and sisters.
According to the FBI, of the 1,749 religiously perpetrated hate crimes committed in 2017, Jews accounted for 58.1 percent of all victims; France’s Interior Ministry reported a 74 percent increase in antisemitic acts; and Germany reported a 60 percent rise in violent attacks against Jews. Antisemitism is real and must be taken seriously.
Critically, the text of the Student Government resolution is built upon the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property and toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Central to this conceptualization are the three D’s: demonization, delegitimization, and double standard, which includes the purposeful targeting of Israel, Israeli Jews and world Jewry with demonizing and dehumanizing memes and claims about conspiracies similar to those promulgated in the fallacious diatribe The Protocols of the Elder of Zion; efforts to deny and delegitimize Jewish self-determination and the use of a radical double standard when critiquing the actions of Israel and Jews more broadly.
We recognize that we are generally quick to condemn the venomous antisemitism spewed by such extreme right-wing groups such as neo-Nazis and the KKK. But we are less condemning of similar expressions coming from the political left and masked as anti-Israelism. It is particularly troubling when newly elected members of Congress openly express an antisemitic ideology. We must stand together with our Jewish brothers and sisters and against all forms of antisemitism regardless of its source. And we must stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters for peace and national liberation in the Middle East.
Sadly, many of those who zealously advocate for the rights and self-determination of the Palestinian people — with whom I firmly stand — effectively deny the Palestinian people agency and an active role in realizing their dream of self-determination. Efforts by Palestinians to build a better future for themselves and to build bridges with their Israeli neighbors are frequently denounced as traitorous acts of normalization that must be stopped. These efforts serve only to perpetuate the victimization of the Palestinians and deny them the opportunity to create a new national narrative of hope. Let us stand together with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in their quest for self-determination, hope for the future, and peaceful co-existence with their Jewish neighbors. Let us also stand with our Jewish friends and denounce antisemitism in its myriad forms, including those that dehumanize and delegitimize the Jewish people. We are one community against all forms of racism and bigotry and dedicated to respect for the rights of all peoples.
Professor of Communications