The Bar is in Hell: Can You Crawl Above Antisemitism?

For six weeks I had been desperate for people to speak up. About the largest massacre on Jewish lives since the Holocaust, about the 240 hostages including BABIES, about the boiling antisemitism that terrifies me to my core and keeps me up at night. But now? Now I can only hope people will shut the f%^* up.

The bar for your antisemitism is buried in the core of the earth. This is to say, most of us will still stay friends with you even if you act like an ass because there frankly aren’t enough Jews around for a minyan. But we will cut you out like a tumor if you go below that bar – and, for each of us, the bar sits differently. Here is where it sits for me!

by Natalya Lobanova, The New Yorker 2021

Let’s do this in levels!

LEVEL ONE: You are righteous, holy, and soaring in the heavens!
Standing with Jewish people publicly and standing against Hamas publicly (note criticizing Netanyahu is more than fine! We are too! We hate him!) That’s right! You don’t have to stan Israel you just have to agree to its right to exist! You can even support the Palestinians’ right to exist and self-determination free from HAMAS! We do too! Yes, free Palestine from HAMAS!

LEVEL TWO: We cool but we could be cooler
All of the above but only privately because you are too scared or simply not compelled to say anything publicly. If you are NOT someone who uses social media to talk about social justice or wish me a happy birthday this does not necessarily apply – though it would still be really nice!

Posting a weird vague both-sidesy nonsense the day after the Israeli massacre and a series of peace memes ever since. Literally whatever.

LEVEL FOUR: Seriously?
Saying absolutely nothing. You are that same HBD on FB person but you can’t be bothered to message your Jewish friends and ask them if they have the will to live. Like you are actively texting us to pick up stuff for the school potluck but don’t mention that we are dead inside. It’s weird, Susan, and we see you.

LEVEL FIVE: Well-meaning ignorance
Calling for a ceasefire.
Who doesn’t want peace? Who wants war? Do you think we do? Or perhaps consider that ceasefire sounds good on paper and it isnt that simple. You see, when you call for a ceasefire and not a surrender of HAMAS and a return of the hostages, you are actively calling for HAMAS to keep killing us. There was a ceasefire on Oct. 7. But here’s the thing – for me, I won’t unfriend you for this. I chalk this up to ignorance and wanting to simplify something way more complicated. So for me, the bar is right below this.


LEVEL SIX: We are never ever ever getting back together

Your “standing with Palestine” includes words like ethnic cleansing, apartheid, colonialism, genocide, or settler (unless speaking of West Bank which is settlers and IS BAD maybe qualify that but you won’t because it’s easier not to!) Maybe we reached out to you to try to explain why your words are harmful and you said “thank you so much love you!” and then went right back to posting the same hot trash! You clarify that “anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism” even though it is but hey at least you are trying! You still get zero points!

LEVEL SEVEN: LOL What do you expect from us?

You have fully tipped from “anti-Zionism” into overt antisemitism, accused all Jews of being colonialist settler globalist oppressors. You are truly sick. Get help.

Anyway, that is my bar – yours may differ! In any case, intersectionality when it comes to Jewish people and Israelis is clearly out the window in all social justice issues and we feel pretty f%cking alone. Some basic historical context or reading could have prevented all this, but I guess why bother when it’s easier to just try to neatly use this white Western framework and lump Jews in with the bad guys!

It’s way too tempting for folks to try to turn this into some kind of liberal v. conservative framework – ignoring all the liberal Jews in America and Israel – rather than maybe notice that you are standing on the side of Iran and Russia. Is that your progressive? Is that leftist?

Anyway, If you haven’t taken time to learn about context and history you aren’t gonna learn it from me but here are some of the best resources for learning all the things!

For those of you who have cleared the bar, thanks I guess!

Search the Site

Paige’s Books

Spit The Out book cover
The Budget Activist book cover: border=

As Seen In