Antisemitism is everywhere. Being busy with Jewish issues, online and offline, makes me an easy target for all kinds of antisemitic attacks. And I receive them daily. Literally daily.
Some are blatantly open and racist. Some come in an intellectual or political disguise. A lot are just trolls, trying to trigger us. And some honestly and explicitly ask for our sympathy.
The last kind was always a mystery to me. As much as it’s annoying, a single antisemitic comment on a Jewish artwork makes sense. But why would you then stick around, trying to convince the very Jew who created the artwork of the racist remark you made about him?!
But this happens so often, mainly online, that I started spying on those profiles who were trying to engage with me in a discussion about those undiscussable issues. I found a lot of those profiles to be fake. But those who weren’t, often revealed people with ideas some of which were not unlike my own. It was confusing but soon after I saw a post of a friend of mine. We come from very different cultural backgrounds and had met at a university in the Netherlands. I love this guy. So much so that he danced at my wedding. He is a good person. I know him well enough to say that without the slightest doubt and yet, he had posted something clearly antisemitic about the Israeli occupation. Not critical of a political situation. Antisemitic.
When calling him out, he was very defensive. But still, our conversation made it clear to me that he truly and honestly didn’t understand how what he had posted was racist. On the contrary: he considered himself a champion of human rights. Not hatred had led him to share an antisemitic idea, but rather care for human suffering. There’s no point to this story. I have no recipe to deal with this situation. It pains me, but this pain doesn’t lead me to any catharsis. And yet, I find it important to see and accept the complexity of the situation.