• Thread by sim_kern on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App

    Jewish author here, and for years I’ve used my social media to teach folks about the history of “antisemitism,” but I will not be using that term anymore. And to fully explain why, we need to get clear on the history of the word. 1/🧵

    Jews facing hate and violence in Europe is as old as the Roman adoption of Christianity, but the term “antisemitism is far more recent. It was first popularized in the 1860’s by #Wilhelm_Marr, the original redpilled, alt-right racistbro. 2/🧵

    In his youth, he fought for minority rights. But after life kicked him in the teeth a bit—a failed revolution, a failed business in Costa Rica, two divorces, one from a Jewish woman, and another Jewish wife who died on him, he decides his WHOLE THING is going to be hating J’s. 3/

    At the time, regular-ol’ J Hate was called just that—“#Judenhass.” Wilhelm Marr turned this hate into politics. In 1871, German Jews were legally emancipated. And In 1879 Wilhelm Marr establishes the “League of #Antisemites,” whose main goal was reversing Jewish emancipation. 4/

    Always has to be a backlash to anti-racist progress, doesn’t there? Same shit as Neo-NZ’s rebranding themselves as “alt right” following the Obama presidency. Marr coined a new term to legitimize an old hate, establishing the political framework that would become the N-Z party.5/

    The “Semite” in anti-semitism came from 18th c. linguistics, which divided languages with so-called “Aryan” roots from those with “Semitic” roots such as Hebrew. Proof, according to galaxy-brained racial scientists, that Jews and Christian Germans were different races. 6/

    –Pause to remember that #race science is not real, & race is always a social construct-
    Now, traditionally us J’s had been hated since the middle ages because Christians thought we were 🧙‍♂️’s who worshipped the 👿and drank 🩸, and if we’d just convert to Christianity, fine! 7/

    But self-proclaimed Antisemites were modern, secular men, who hated us because of “science.” This meant no matter what Jews did, how much we assimilated, secularized, or even converted, we would always be a threat to Germany. Because our “badness” was racial, was in our blood. 8/

    In the early twentieth century, Jewish writers such as #Lucien_Wolf, were careful to distinguish between this new antisemitism thing happening in German versus “traditional” J-Hate in Russia, which was that old superstition that was sure to die out in the modern world. 9/

    In the 1880’s Zionism starts gaining popularity alongside “antisemitism.” Wolf was fiercely antizionist, because he saw Z’a enacting all the antisemites’ worst fantasies. Antisemites claimed Jews could never be truly German and…Zionist Jews were saying the same thing. 10/

    Wolf fought for minority rights at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I and secured the “minority treaties” from the League of Nations, which were SUPPOSED to protect Jews and other ethnic and religious minorities across Europe. But that…obviously did not work out. 11/

    Because following WWI, half of Europe is desperately impoverished, and desperately impoverished people are easy to manipulate into hateful mobs, and self-proclaimed “antisemitic” politicians took full advantage of that to get elected. 12/

    So there’s this explosion of anti-Jewish hate, violence, and discriminatory laws, and by the 1930’s, Wolf and other Jewish writers have dropped this distinction between “Judenhass,” and “antisemitism," and the terms are used synonymously. 13/

    But the word transforms again with the violent, colonial creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Because Zionists, at this point, start claiming that any criticism of their Jewish state, is antisemitism. (A conflation that’s always been contested by antizionist Jews). 14/

    In “In the article “Towards a History of the Term Antisemitism,” (free to read!) David Feldman sums up the absurdity of this conflation. “the creation of the state of Israel transformed the relationship of Jews to state power” and to minorities. 15/

    Jews in 1930s Germany had far more in common with Palestinians today than w/Israeli Jews, in terms of oppression.

    Because antisemitism in Germany THEN was white supremacy. And anti-Palestinian hate NOW is white supremacy. All that’s changed is who gets to define whiteness. 16/

    So when the US Congress says, “anti-zionism is antisemitism,” that’s like saying a thing is its opposite. It’s as absurd as saying, “anti-racism is racism.” Now I don’t think we should let Congress decide…much of anything, including the meanings of words... 17/

    But the term is also confusing. Every time I use it lately, I get a flood of comments saying, “Arabs are semites too, so being anti-Palestinian IS anti-semitic.” And I used to respond, well, words don’t always mean exactly the sum of their parts... 18/

    Antisemitism was coined to mean J-hate, and has always been used to mean J-hate. And besides the whole category of “semite” is this relic of bogus race science. But regardless, Palestinians and Arabs more broadly feel erased by the term, and we should take that seriously. 19/

    More and more, I don’t see the point in “fighting” for this term that was coined by H*tler’s idol, is based on 18th-century race science, and that Zionists use so often, in such fatuous, bad-faith, obfuscating ways that I’m starting to flinch at the sound of it. 20/

    So I’m going back to the OG term “Judenhass,” specifically, I’m gonna say “anti-Jewish hate.” That’s actually one syllable fewer than antisemitism. And it’s clearer, and doesn’t carry all this racist baggage. 21/

    And I’m also fundraising this week for a family in Gaza. If you appreciated/ learned something from this thread, please donate what you can spare to Alaa, who’s 8 months pregnant. She needs to evacuate so she can deliver her baby in a hospital. 22/

    If you donate at least $6, you can enter a giveaway for a signed, first-edition copy of my book THE FREE PEOPLE’S VILLAGE by sending a screenshot of your receipt to T4Gaza[at]gmail[dot]com. I’ll choose the winner on Monday! /end

    #antisémitisme #sémites #Arabes #Juifs #judaïsme #antisionisme #racistes #suprémacisme #suprémacistes #sionisme #sionistes