I have no idea what it is, but there’s something about the word “Jew”, that once spoken out loud by me or overheard during a conversation or a TV show or even read in its written form, by me; there’s just something about that utterance that makes me feel like I’m saying, hearing or reading something anti-Semitic. It’s the feeling you might get when you’re chatting at a dinner party and in the throes of pleasant conversation you say something incredibly politically incorrect and there’s a silence as everyone becomes aware of what you’ve said.
It is the strangest feeling but it’s like there is an anti-Semitic radar in my head that starts to beep wildly whenever this word approaches. What I find worse now is the word “Israel”. It has come to mean “Judaism”. My mind is still able to dissect the word “Israel” into a political establishment i.e. being “Zionism”. And yes, in essence Israel is based on a Zionist political ideology, but even that ideology is based on the establishment of a “Jewish” state and thus the need to maintain a “Jewish” majority.
The words have become scrambled and tangled up together. Such an entanglement takes at least a second or two to make sense of when it shouldn’t. It should be one of those things where you answer without hesitation. Like someone who says “apple pie” and you think “hell yes!”. The word “Jew” now only slightly feels comfortable saying when it’s in the same breath as “Christian” and “Muslim”. As if the latter two are covering for the former; a verbal distraction.
Media bombardment and the social conditioning of the international community or perhaps the global village we now live in, has lead me to hesitate. When I say “Israel”, is what I’m about to say anti-semitic? Many pro-Zionists argue yes and we, in turn, have argued time and again, no.
We differentiate between the politics and the religion, or at least we should.
And it should be pointed out to the non-reader of the Iris, that while I have massive grievances with the state of Israel and its policies towards Palestinians, I have nothing against the Jewish religion. The conflict or rather the struggle here is not about religion, it’s about politics. When oppressed, one could care less about what God the oppressors pray to; it’s the guns they carry, the policies they follow, which matter.
But I digress.
…It seems to me sometimes that Zionists, or shall we say Israel as an entity, has insisted on the conjoining of all these terms to mean “Israel”. It offers that ability to attack people who disagree with its policies, as being anti-semitic. When I hear the word “right to defend itself” and a “Jewish homeland” or even “a repeat of the holocaust”, sometimes in the speeches of American politicians, I become confused. There becomes this subtext that implies anyone who touches Israel is “attacking”, thus Israel is “defending” in an attempt to avoid the second attempt to annihilate the “Jews”, the first time of which either Arabs were to blame for or was allowed to happen by the western powers who now feel bad.
The gray relationship between the words “Jew”, “Judaism”, “Jewish State”, “Israel” and “Zionism” have become tougher and tougher to decipher. All these ingredients have gone into the blender of reason and the mixture that has been produced no longer retains the original structure of the original ingredients that went in.
Half of Emad Hajjaj’s caricatures on Israel could be casually deemed as anti-semitic simply for his use of the blue Star of David to represent Israel. But then again, if Israel had put anything else up on its flag…