Robert Wistrich’s Final Column: Anti-Semitism Need Not Be Forever

Shortly before he died Tuesday, scholar Robert Wistrich, the world’s leading authority on anti-Semitism, sent a column to The Jerusalem Post, which was published yesterday.

In the column, Wistrich made seven observations about the current nature of anti-Semitism. Among his observations were that the anti-Semitism of the far Right is less a threat than it used to be; that more Holocaust education will not do much to fight anti-Semitism; that hatred of Israel has become the new anti-Semitism; that anti-Semitism has gone through “Islamicization;” and that Jews, both in Israel and the diaspora, need “to rediscover, redefine and reassess their Jewish identity, core Jewish values and the depth of their own connection to the Land of Israel as well as to their historic heritage.”

Wistrich’s fourth point was that modern anti-Semitism is rooted in what called “Palestinianism.”

Today’s anti-Semitism is a product of a new civic religion that could be termed “Palestinianism.”

The official Palestinian narrative seeks to supplant Israel with a judenrein Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. In the case of Hamas, this intent is absolutely explicit. With Fatah, it is partly veiled for tactical reasons.

But when it comes to the Palestinian ideology and the millions around the world who support it, virtually all actions of self-defense by Israel are instantly classified as “genocide,” demonized and treated as part of a sinister Jewish-imperialist conspiracy. Not surprisingly, then, pro-Palestine demonstrations, beginning in the summer of 2014, were often accompanied by ugly chants of “Death to the Jews” and anti-Semitic incidents.

However bleak Wistrich’s first six observations were, his final thought was hopeful.

Here, in the beating heart of the Jewish nation, where its body and soul come together in the City of Peace, we must be true to the national and universal vision of our biblical prophets. Anti-Semitism, the long shadow which has for so long accompanied our bi-millennial Diasporic tribulations, and nearly 70 years of renewed statehood, is neither “eternal” nor must it prevent Jews from fulfilling their ultimate destiny to one day become a “light unto the nations.”

[Photo: TheJerusalemCenter / YouTube ]