Nervous Times for Jews in America

This post appeared in the Jerusalem Post February 7th 2017

Over the past month, there have been 57 bomb threats to 48 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) around the United States. Jewish infants sleep at our JCCs in daycare, our toddlers learn their first Hebrew letters in the JCC classrooms, our children attend camps held across the JCC network and our community comes together to learn within the JCC halls. The JCC movement has been the beating heart of the American Jewish experience, and it is now under terrorist threat, yet no one outside the Jewish community seems to care much.

At the largest civil rights marches in the past twenty years, the women’s march did not mention the threats to the Jewish community during the intersectional speeches given on the National Mall. The Trump administration has been silent in the face of hundreds of Jews being evacuated on almost a weekly basis from their community centers.

Outside of the bomb threats, we have had Neo-Nazi marches planned against a Jewish community in Whitefish, Montana, swastikas pop up across the New York mass transportation system, and a shul in Chicago’s windows smashed in. A sense of anxiety has crept into the American Jewish community that the hard won safety of US Jewry might be shifting.

American Jews, unlike their European counterparts, have, since around the 1960s, considered themselves as part of the white majority. When I arrived in the US five years ago from the UK, I was surprised when my wife told me to tick the white box on the ethnic surveys that I had to fill out on various government forms. Growing up in the UK I, like most other European Jews I knew, had always ticked the other box on the census and written in ‘Jewish’ in the space provided.

The otherness of European Jewry was not controversial. We did not suffer persecution from the government for not being part of the majority. It was just how things were. You knew that those in the majority saw you as different, and you made your peace with it or you left. I enjoyed full and equal treatment in the UK as a British-Jew, and also suffered from some anti-Semitism, but generally enjoyed life as a minority group.

In the US, the integration of the American Jewish community into the majority of the US population was a shining achievement of the community. Joe Lieberman as a vice-presidential nominee was seen as the height of integration and no one saw Sen. Bernie Sanders’s faith as something that would be questionable in his campaign- if anything, his lack of religiosity was called into question. The hyphenated identity of all US Citizens, being a nation of immigrants, allowed the Jewish-American to be just as American as the Italian-American or the Irish-American.

Yet with the steady beat of the neo-Nazi ‘alt-right’ within the 2016 election campaign and the nativist appeals that undergirded President Trump’s win, the question of the place of American-Jews within the fabric of US society seemed to open up again. Op-Eds on if Jews were white started to appear, much to the glee of racists like David Duke and Richard Spencer. Just days after Mr. Trump’s inauguration the bomb threats started and the anxiety started to grow.

As Jews were feeling a little nervous, the women’s march came and as I watched the power of millions of American’s marching, I was a little annoyed that the threats to the JCCs somehow were left out of the many speeches going through the various challenges minorities were facing in this new era. It felt like a betrayal of solidarity and an extension of the campus debates of whether the Jewish experience fitted into the intersectional struggle.

Yet this nervousness changed to fear during the embarrassing and shambolic episode of the White House’s handling of the Holocaust Memorial Day statement. I was not particularly upset by the administration’s oversight in leaving Jews out of their statement, mistakes happen. But when called out on it the administration went out of their way to insult and denigrate everyone who disagreed with them. The White House chief of staff first came out saying that ‘everyone suffered in the Holocaust.’ I am not sure how Mr. Priebus’s family suffered, but my grandparents, who came over to the UK as part of the Kindertrasport while their families were murdered, suffered a little more than the general population at the time.

After the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA) and the Republican Jewish Committee (RJC) issued gentle criticism of the statement, Sean Spicer, the White House Press secretary called ZOA and the RJC “pathetic”. Mr. Spicer’s defense was that the author was Jewish, or as Saturday Night Live put it, “the guy who wrote the statement was super-Jewy, so back off.”

The idea that if a Jewish member of staff has written something it is immune from complaint demonstrates the fallacy in believing that Mr. Trump’s Jewish picks will protect us from his neo-Nazi white nationalist supporters.

As US Jews attempt to come to terms with the changing environment we should be aware that we do have allies. The state representatives in Montana came out in support of the community against the neo-Nazis, passengers riding in the cars cleaned off the graffiti on the subway in New York, and the Chicago catholic diocese pledged solidarity with the Chicago Loop Synagogue that was attacked.

Yet for this nervous moment to pass we need both our government, and the resistance to it, to recognize that American Jews are feeling a little frightened right now and some kind words and solidary are needed sooner rather then later.

Advertisements

Labour Party’s anti-Semitism Struggle: Recognizing Jews Are a People, Not Just a Religion

First Published in Ha’aretz 5/9/16

Picked up in Washington Post The Volokh Conspiracy

I left the U.K. Labour Party when I received my Green Card. I felt it was odd to continue to be part of a British political party when I had officially moved overseas for good. Yet, watching the party miserably fail to deal with anti-Semitism over the past ten days, and Ken Livingstone’s unending obsession with Hitler and the Jews, took me back to my days on the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Students, an organization that has been a feeder to the front lines of left-wing national politics in Britain for decades.

In 2008, I was elected as one of the 27 national executive members of the NUS. As Sam Lebens, a friend and mentor who served there two years before me, wrote in the Forward, the NUS was often a tense place for Jewish students, especially when they tried to get the majority to accept that anti-Semitism should be taken seriously.

During my own year on the NEC the first Gaza war, Operation Cast Lead, took place.We debated motions about whether NUS would march with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or condemn the usage of anti-Semitic imagery at the rallies. At another point during that year, I had to confront the hard left on the National Executive Committee about a leaflet that was being handed out that claimed that the Holocaust killed thousands of trade unionists, disabled people, gays and communists. While these groups were indeed victims, the pamphlet omitted one key group: Jews. Here we had dedicated anti-racists educating about the Holocaust while airbrushing out its Jewish victims.

In-between votes on theses issues, I would engage those who were part of the hard left — those who saw themselves as belonging to the same leftist faction as Ken Livingstone — on how they could possibly justify their anti-racist credentials when they were doing things that were so offensive to the Jewish community.

It all came down to their inability to understand why Jews were anything more than a religious group.

They felt that assigning Jews a peoplehood status would be to agree with the eugenics of the Nazis that Jews were “different” or “other;” that only the far-right fascists could see Jews in this way, rather than as just normal white folk. By reducing the Jewish experience to a religious dogma, the hard-left concurred, they were doing Jews a favor.

Jews did not have a place in the traditional liberation campaigns of the NUS. Being Jewish was not the same as being black, LGBTQ, female or disabled. Jews were hated by fascists; the hard left just wanted them to assimilate. According to the hard left in the NUS, being particularist about your Jewish ethnic background was to buy into a racism that was forced upon you.

The hard left was simply incapable of learning the lessons of why Jews felt that the enlightenment did not go their way (read: the Dreyfus affair) and insisted on “flattening” what it means to be a Jew into a solely religious experience.

The utter refusal of the hard left in Britain to accept that anti-Semitism can morph from the traditional eugenics into parts of modern-day anti-Zionist discourse stems from its rejection of Jews as a people. It is an unfortunate fact that Judaism comes from a time before census surveys began separating the “religion” box from the “ethnicity” box. In their worldview, Jewish peoplehood is a categorical error.

The core problem will not be solved until the hard left in Britain recognizes that the Jewish people are more than just a religious community. But the hard left is finding it hard to see that modern anti-Semitism exists beyond the far right, and in fact extends into its own territory.

Therefore, their obsession with Israel — and their inability to distinguish anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism — is based in their rejection of the concept of the Jewish people. The nation state was never a construct that the hard left liked in the first place. When coupled with a people that the hard left denies exists outside a religious context, Zionism becomes for them the embodiment of everything they oppose. The Jewish state reminds them that a Utopian view where a leftist emancipation will heal all wounds fails the test of history, and that demography and territory is something that oppressed people do aspire to.

The personalities within Britain’s Labour Party who are being accused of having an anti-Semitism problem are of the same political bent as the hard left that I came into contact with during my time on the NEC of the NUS. It’s therefore clear that Labour’s anti-Semitism problem won’t go away until the hard-left elements within the party accept that Jews are more than a religious group. It won’t matter how many people are suspended from the party if its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, can’t bring himself to say “anti-Semitism” without qualifying it alongside other forms of racism.

Without recognizing the particular challenge of modern anti-Semitism, the new inquiry into anti-Semitism that the Labour Party has launched will — I fear — achieve nothing.

Jews and France

This article first appeared at Harry’s Place Feb 2nd 2016

The New York Times opens its story of anti-Semitism in France last week with a terrifying paragraph:

“It was the heavy leather-bound volume of the Torah he was carrying that shielded Benjamin Amsellem from the machete blows.”

The barbarism and brutality of the attack by an ISIS inspired youth on a Jew brings a feeling of insecurity that public kippa wearing campaigns cannot erase. This is the latest incident of local Jewish communities being a prime target of terrorists attacking nations.

Whether organized attacks like MumbaiIstanbul and Paris or seemingly the lone wolf attacks in Toulouse and now Marseille, Jews and their community institutions are always on the list for terrorists trying to make a point.

For your average citizen, terrorism has sadly become like any other impersonal disaster. The victim of a mass terrorist incident is not targeted for anything other then the misfortune at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet this obsession of attacking Jews, and there definitely is a trend, makes these incidents against the community far more personal.

I have criticized Tariq Ramadan and others for air-brushing anti-Semitism out of some of these attacks. Ramadan and others have claimed that Jews have just become the symbols of the state, and are not attacked because they are Jews, but a good target of a critic of the state and its policies.

The dehumanizing nature of this analysis shows a remarkable turn around in the genesis of anti-Semitism. Where as in the 20th century Jews were mainly victims of the State, now they are victims because of it. An expression of aggression towards liberal democracy is apparently the cause for running towards the nearest Jewish school or kippa wearing teacher to express a murderous rage against the West. The Jews have moved from being the outsiders in society to being the ultimate protected insider, thus a great target for attack.

This excuse has also been used to try and state that the anti-Semitic comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has nothing against Jews per say but against sacred cows. Thus any attack against the Jews in society is excused as a generalist objection to the state itself and thus justified in the name of grievance.

Jews are not being targeted by terrorists because they are angry about general grievances, they are targeting Jews as the Jew and/or Zionist is seen have long been seen as the hidden hand behind the conspiracy theories that are integral to the world view of these extremists. Free Masons, Zionists and Jews stand behind everything. They are the reason for the state of the world as it stands, the hidden shadow conspiracy keeping themselves in power while the rest suffer. They infect nations, the media and global capitalism, controlling it all.

These conspiracy theories are classic anti-Semitism and are prevalent not just in the Middle East and South East Asia, but broadcast on satellite stations that reach diaspora communities throughout the western world. The targeting of the Jewish communities is after a long diet of conspiracy theory. Throw in the question of Palestine (which ISIS has been preaching as of late) and you have the perfect mix to get loan wolves to turn against and target Jews.

When terrorism becomes personal, when every one of the Jewish schools and community centers need bomb proof glass, armed guards and 24/7 police protection, kippa rallies is not going to cut it. Despite the best efforts of the State, Jews are leaving France in record numbers to Israel. One of the biggest ironies of ISIS picking up the issue of Palestine is that it is causing Jewish immigration to Israel.  If you feel that at any moment your shul could blow up, why not move to Israel where at least the fear is collective and you can once again be an anonymous victim rather then a special target of global terrorism.

As a society there is much to be said about our universal values, our traditions and our traumas. Despite our differences, the universalist tradition says much about our ability to overcome our differences and recognize our shared humanity. Yet we should not fall into the trap of not recognizing the particular targeting of a community amongst us, even as we all fear the potential for terrorism. To do so takes away the reason why the victim was targeted and worse, prevents us from working on long term solutions to the entrenched conspiracy theories that lay behind the targets of some of the attacks.

From the Dreyfus Affair to Hyper Casher – France has come full circle

A version of this appeared in Ha’aretz 1/15/15

Some 120 years after the Dreyfus affair, French Prime Minster Manuel Valls is putting the very fate of the French Republic in the hands of Jews and their willingness to stay in France. Amid the tragedy and political posturing from Israeli politicians, it seems that France has come full circle from an event that sparked modern Zionism.

In 1894, the promise of emancipation as the answer to the Jewish Question was proven false as Captain Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason on the basis of trumped up charges. The whole affair led Herzl to the conclusion that assimilation into Europe would not solve anti-Semitism and inspired him to write Der Judenstaat, which became the seminal text of modern political Zionism.

Flash forward to today, the prime minister of France is now putting the fate of the republic on the courage of Jews to stay the course within French society. Acknowledging this transition is essential to understanding why the Israeli call for French aliyah was so anachronistic to the new anti-Semitism that the Jews of France, and of Europe in general, are now confronting.

The old anti-Semitism that led up to the destruction of a third of all global Jewry was based on the rejection of the concept of the European Jew. Jews were never accepted as equal citizens, be they German Jews, Austrian Jews, Polish Jews or French Jews. When the fascists rose to power, they picked on the eternal otherness of the Jew to demonstrate that these were a people apart, different and despised. The alienation and dehumanization of the Jew was a direct rejection of the Jewish place in the nation state.

Following the warning signs of the 1900s up until the Holocaust itself, it became evident that having one’s own nation state was the only solution to the racism and hatred that had led to genocide of mindboggling proportions.

The recent and sadly frequent deadly attacks on the Jews of France have not been because they are French Jews. The jihadists who killed the school children in Toulouse or the hostages in the kosher supermarket in Paris did not target them to make a point about how the republic should be Jew-free. They were targeted as they were Jews, Jews who happened to be in France.

The new anti-Semitism has turned every Star of David into a bull’s-eye for racists who have problems with what is happening in Israel, or so many of the perpetrators of these attacks have claimed. The Jews murdered in Toulouse and in the kosher supermarket were not the main targets of the overall attacks in either case. Their deaths did not start the rampages but they were the last targets in both.

When it came to Toulouse, as wells as the anti-Semitic remarks by French comic Dieudonne, some commentators have attempted to airbrush the anti-Semitism. They claimed that the targeting of Jews equaled the targeting of the establishment. Such claims rob the victims of these hate crimes of their very identity.

What these commentators get wrong is that Jews are still being targeted because they are Jews. What has changed is that they are not being targeted as French Jews or Flemish Jews, but Jews who reside there. It is no surprise that whether in Mumbai, Brussels or France, it is the symbols of Jewish communal life that have been targeted. It is not because attackers are saying that Jews in India or France have no place, but that Jews are targets the world over as they are Jews who are the subject of the worst of the conspiracy theories in the Islamist fantasies. It is not a local hate, but a global one.

Unlike the anti-Semitism of old, the solution is not an abandonment of one’s home. The state is not rejecting Jews; in fact, it is trying to protect them, at least in the case of France. The fact that thousands of police are deployed to protect Jewish schools doesn’t detract from the terrifying reality in the aftermath of the attacks. There are deep systemic problems that need both physical and educational solutions if multiculturalism and pluralism are to win out. But we should not kid ourselves that the violence against Jews today is the same as it was in the 1930s.

This new reality explains why Israeli politicians’ call for French aliyah is so hurtful to France and its Jews. The correct response to the attacks came from President Reuven Rivlin, who should have been the dignitary representing Israel at the Paris unity march instead of politicians jockeying for votes. Rivlin stated that aliyah should be “born out of a positive Jewish identity, out of Zionism, and not because of anti-Semitism.”

The new anti-Semitism that European Jews are experts on need new responses from Israel rather than the offensive knee-jerk denial of the Diaspora.

When House of Cards Becomes Reality

Ha’aretz 2.11.13

In the new, and may I say excellent, Netflix remake of the political thriller “House of Cards,” the main protagonist, Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, seeks to knock out the president’s choice for secretary of state. With some in-depth research and some dirty tricks, he links the nominee to an obscure op-ed written 40 years ago that criticizes Israel. Underwood then gets the Anti-Defamation League to come out and call the nominee anti-Semitic, and in the ensuing media storm the nominee is withdrawn.

Chuck Hagel, on the other hand, survived the media firestorm amidaccusations of anti-Semitism to arrive at the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination as secretary of defense. But – in a life imitates art scenario – it wasn’t an easy ride.

While Hagel does have a record worth questioning – as would any other candidate for a high cabinet office, to ensure they are qualified for the post – his confirmation hearing made for uncomfortable viewing for anyone who really cares about Israel.

Israel was raised a stunning 178 times (according to the Lobe Log; Foreign Policy counted 166 mentions), with Senator Cruz (R-TX) even brining in an audio-visual display. The focus of the questioning was guided by the weeks of campaigning by groups such as Christians United for Israel and the Emergency Committee for Israel. Yet the uproar that these groups caused ahead of the hearing turned out to be that of a paper tiger; Not only did they have no material success, they ended up having the inverse impact on Israel’s image to that which they sought to achieve.

Stephen Walt, co-author of “The Israel Lobby” argues in his book that pro-Israel lobbies prevent Congress from holding open debate about U.S. policy toward Israel. He goes on to argue that this lack of genuine debate on Israel prevents a “generally positive impression of the Jewish State” to be shaped among politicians, and thus the American public. “Playing the anti-Semitism card stifles discussion even more and allows myths about Israel to survive unchallenged,” he writes in his book.

After the circus at Hagel’s confirmation hearing, Walt ironically thankedthe Emergency Committee for Israel, Jewish-American magnate Sheldon Adelson, and the Senate Armed Service Committee for “providing such a compelling vindication” of his views.

The Punch and Judy Show that the Israel debate has become in Washington is incredibly damaging to those who care about the U.S.-Israel relationship. While in 2008 there was a danger of it becoming a partisan issue, the bi-partisan consensus has truly been shattered by the debate shifting from the reality of the situation to the ideology of the religious right. The mainstream support of Israel is being battered by a singular slavish view that is more in line with the evangelical Christian community then that of the U.S. Jewish community.

This episode should serve as another reminder to the U.S. Jewish community to the fact that they are not the only players in the Israel-lobbying sphere. The mainstream Jewish groups sat out of the Hagel fight, yet Israel remained the number one issue in the confirmation hearing. The obsessive questioning further disconnected intelligent voters and Israel as a bi-partisan cause. The issue was appropriated and abused by a small group of resourceful and passionate activists, and through their abuse Israel was damaged in the eyes of many.

Pro-Israel lobbies should be careful not to lose the American Jews who are conflicted between their own “hugging and wrestling” with Israel and the desire to keep a united public front to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. For if the pro-Israel standards that are expressed before the public continue to drift further and further to the political right, especially on prime-time television, Jews will find themselves attempting to identify with a consensus they no longer recognize.

Combatting Europe’s serious antisemitism problem

Ha’aretz 12/31/12

Growing up as an active Jew in London I always hated when Americans or Israelis would comment on anti-Semitism in Europe. Always hyperbolic and often boarding on racism, their declarations of doom and destruction of the Jewish community of Europe was as unwelcome as it was uneducated.

Yet looking at the events of the past few years, and from my new home in North America, I can say that Europe has a serious anti-Semitism problem. With the recent advice that it is no longer safe for Jews to openly walk around Copenhagen, the number of safe European capital cities has shrunk to a tiny number. London and Berlin are some of the last holdouts for Jews to feel safe walking around with a kippa on. Europe is definitely going backward.

This is not just the vain imagination of the Jewish community. A few weeks ago, the Economist ran a story about the ingrained nature of Hanukkah in U.S. culture, leading it with, “On the London Underground or the Paris Metro, only a brave passenger would dress as a Jewish version of Santa Claus. Such an outfit would risk stares, grumbles about Israeli policies, or worse.” This is not news to the Jews of Europe. Indeed, the new chief rabbi-designate of Britain, Ephraim Mirvis, has recognized this as a growing issue that will be on his agenda. The Community Security Trust, a British Jewish communal group, has set best practice on the reporting and prevention of anti-Semitism across Europe, often being highlighted by the U.K. government as a glowing example of how communities can work with local law enforcement.

Yet to the governments of Europe, at a local, regional, national and pan-European level, this issue is not being taken seriously enough. European decision makers often have two reactions when the subject of anti-Semitism is raised.

The first reaction is to section anti-Semitism off as a problem only of the far right. There is a growing problem with far right extremism on the rise in Hungry and Austria alongside nationalists in many European countries remembering their Jew hatred of the past. Today, however, the solutions to anti-Semitism cannot be found by only using the familiar coalitions against the far right.

The second reaction is one of abdication of responsibility. They see anti-Semitism as directly tied to foreign policy and thus blame others for the lack of safety of their own citizens. This is appalling. Regardless of one’s feelings for the Middle East, hateful and violent demonstrations against Jews and Jewish property is never justifiable.

European anti-Semitism is a domestic public policy problem that cannot be fixed with a magic wand, and blaming the victims of hate crime – something that the Mayor of Malmo does often – is an unacceptable solution.

As Europe’s demography changes, governments have to start systemically educating their citizens that hating Jews is not ok, and that it is unjustifiable. This means going beyond Holocaust education and getting into touchy, hard topics such as Israel and Palestine. If the hate, fear and loathing come from today’s political situation, states have the obligation to make sure their citizens are not being brought up on a diet of racism. That starts with educating each and every child.

Jews not living in Europe have a role to play as well. In America,supporting the office of the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism is a good start. Jews in Europe need the United States and Canada to lobby their own governments to put pressure on the European Union to take the issue seriously. European Jews do not need Israelis or North American Jews to tell them about their own problem, but to support them in helping to make sure that their governments take it seriously.

Lastly and importantly, the global Jewish world must allow European Jews and their agencies, such as the Community Security Trust, to define what constitutes anti-Semitism. The Jews of Europe know their societies, their nuances and cultures better than anyone else. The Jewish world has an obligation to support the Europeans in this existential fight, but they must let the Europeans lead if we are to have any hope of victory.

Jewish conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism

Ha’aretz 9/7/12

As a fan of the first series of Homeland, based off the Israeli show Hatufim, I, along with many of my American compatriots am avidly awaiting the start of season two at the end of September. Having watched a steady diet of 24, Lost, and the X-Files, Homeland marks another great TV milestone in the conspiracy theory genre.

While I love a good conspiracy as a bit of escapism, there are millions around the globe to whom belief in vast conspiracy theories are a bedrock of their worldview.

The belief in grand conspiracy theories, from Free Masons to shadowy Zionists controlling the levers of every major world event are common sense in parts of the developing world, and strongly held beliefs that are being passed on to the next generation.

During my work in the U.K., my colleagues would go to public schools in different parts of the country to do educational sessions around the Middle East conflict and the people it affected. At two of these schools, with a high second and third generation immigrant population from the developing world, the conversation was dominated by questions about free masons. We were asked if we were free masons or if we knew anyone who was. These two schools were in two different parts of the country but the questions from the British kids were the same.

At the Harvard Kennedy School of Government this past year, a classmate of mine who had been working for the UN in Afghanistan remarked that every time he boarded a plane he would inevitably be sitting next to top officials in the Pakistani army. They would, as causal conversation, inform that no Jews were killed in 9/11 and that this proves how they were behind it.

One needs to look no further then the Hamas constitution to see the protocols of the Elders of Zion baked into the text verbatim. Egyptian TV shows profligate conspiracy theories thick with vast webs of shadowy individuals, often Zionist, who are responsible for every misfortune that befalls Egypt.

These beliefs should not be dismissed as fringe, or just explained away as cultural relativism. The public powerlessness at the hands of powerful conspiratorial others breeds victimhood, xenophobia and hate.

These beliefs are just as toxic and noxious as racism, yet they receive far less attention. While the ugliness of racism is spotted and condemned, these beliefs are often seen as kooky and tangential. This complacency is dooming generation after generation, whether in their countries of origin or newfound Western homes, to a culture of victimhood and irresponsibility. How can I be to blame for the misfortunes that befall me if there is always someone else, hiding behind a curtain of secrecy, to blame?

There are fewer thankless tasks that exist than trying to combat a conspiracy theorist. Conversations are circular and often seem pointless. The believers want us to give up, to be so frustrated that we are dismissive, to be so appalled that we just walk away.

We, as a community, have raised, spent and lobbied for millions of dollars to go toward Holocaust education and genocide provention. But the pernicious nature of conspiracy theories have the potential to threaten our educational safeguards. While the means to succeed in combating these viral lies are unclear, the need to do so is undeniable. They will not burn out on their own, especially with satellite TV and the Internet providing a counterculture rich in conspiracies and half-truths.

This task is too large, and the coalition needed to combat these myths is too great to leave the job to our communal institutions alone. Each of us needs to make an effort to highlight the intolerance and hate baked into these theories when we come across them in the virtual or real world. It might be a thankless task, but a vital one if we want to stand any chance at dismissing rumors that breed anti-Semitism like nothing else.