Is Denying the Nakba Antisemitism?

Last summer, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid gave an intriguing speech about antisemitism, a speech that—if taken seriously—constitutes a profound indictment of his own government and the American Jewish institutions that work alongside it. In the speech, Lapid said “antisemitism isn’t the first name of hate, it’s the family name.” In other words, antisemitism is the name for bigotry against Jews. But bigotry against Jews isn’t worse than bigotry against other people. All bigotry is equally bad, and thus, Lapid suggested, Jews should start calling all bigotry—or at least all bigotry that spawns widespread violence—antisemitism. “The antisemites,” he declared, “were also slave traders who threw people bound together in chains into the sea. The antisemites were the Hutu in Rwanda who massacred Tutsis.” An antisemite is anyone who “hates so much that they want to kill and eliminate and persecute and expel people just because they are different.”

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