It’s been two weeks since Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, spoke about anti-Semitism at the Global Conference on Combating Antisemitism gathered in Jerusalem, were he explained to the world and to the Jewish public here in Israel and abroad that anti-Semitism is not unique in the history of the world but rather is one of the many bigotries expressed in the annals of human hatred. In one swoop Lapid brought to an end the historical uniqueness of anti-Semitism culminating in the Holocaust. Unbelievably and without hesitancy or remorse, he continued and stated:” antisemitism, exists everywhere…. The anti-Semites weren’t just in the Budapest Ghetto”, “The anti-Semites were slave traders who threw chained slaves overboard into the ocean. The anti-Semites were the members of the Hutu tribe in Rwanda who massacred members of the Tutsi tribe. The anti-Semites are the Muslim extremists who killed 20 million fellow Muslims in the last decade. The anti-Semites are Islamic State and Boko Haram. The anti-Semites are people who beat to death young members of the LGBT community.”
Foreign Minister Lapid, a high school dropout and former journalist turned politician dismissed without the bat of an eye the across the broad conclusions of all major historians in the modern era; that anti-Semitism is a murderous ideology that aims to exterminate all the Jews, but instead is nothing more than just another phobia like Islamophobia, or even Homophobia. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Lapid’s comments as “scandalous and irresponsible, warping history and emptying the concept of antisemitism of all content.” Additional oppositional political leaders in Israel accused Lapid of seriously weakening Israel’s and the Jewish world’s ability to combat anti-Semitism.
The late Tommy Lapid, a Holocaust survivor, a former Justice Minister and a journalist turned politician was the father of Yair Lapid. I have no doubt that he is turning in his grave again and again. As Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council back in 2007, Lapid senior spoke on behalf of the survivors during the official state ceremony marking Holocaust Martyr’s' and Heroes' Remembrance Day: “The Holocaust, which we commemorate here today at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel; the Holocaust in which 6 million innocent Jews were murdered, was a unique event in history. This is because in the Holocaust, man used modern technology to annihilate a people [Jews] in a calculated, scientific manner – a death industry. The viruses of the fatal disease known as antisemitism have developed antibodies that are not impressed by the lessons of past events and do not accept today’s norms. Instead, they lie in wait for the day when evil will once again rear its head.” The Late Tommy Lapid had no doubt about the distinctive role that anti-Semitism has played against Jews throughout history, and it would never have crossed his mind to dilute and universalize what has been an exclusive and multi-generational hatred of Jews throughout history.
How are we to understand the sudden burst of revisionist history of anti-Semitism that Lapid junior has brought to the world from a leftist and progressive perspective? At the Global Conference on Combating Antisemitism Lapid insisted that “the cure could not be achieved by Jews changing their behavior” meaning that the Jews are to blame for the hatred expressed by anti-Semites. Sounds very similar to the current wave of Critical Race Theory that has swept America. In the same manner that Jews bring upon themselves the inter-generational hatred of anti-Semites, white Americans have brought upon themselves the violent insurrection by Black Americans that have turned Main St. into Mean Streets. Throughout America, Jews have been getting attacked in the streets: hunted, chased, beaten, burned, and stabbed. French courts have recognized inebriation as a legitimate alibi for murdering Jews and Holocaust survivors. In recent months, we’ve seen Jews assaulted in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. Dozens of “pro-Palestine” rallies calling for the genocide of Israel’s Jews and the murder of Jews everywhere have swept through American streets from the Bay Area to Boca Raton. Jewish students and faculty are bullied, demonized, and terrorized on American college campuses. Corporate America and teachers’ unions are pushing new racialist narratives and curricula that single out Jews as a “white” identity group uniquely deserving of hostility. So what is Lapid getting wrong?
In the summer of 1989, the American magazine The National Interest published an essay entitled "The End of History?” Its author, political scientist Francis Fukuyama, announced that the great ideological battles between East and the West were over, and that Western liberal democracy had triumphed. The ascendancy of Western liberal democracy would not only end the cold war but would lead to a general calming in world affairs. Fukuyama claimed that humanity has reached "not just ... the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: That is, the end-point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."
The "end of history" thesis has been repeated so often over the years that it has acquired a ring of truth, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That is, until the current day anti-Semitic pandemic appeared seemingly out of nowhere in recent years to challenge this almost uncontested given in current modern intellectual thought. The notion that nations and anti-Semites of the world would all adopt a kind of liberal democratic model and join together in a fraternal bond of human society seems to have been largely overlooked by today’s torch bearers of Jew hatred. It seems that the expectation that “the end of history” would sway anti-Semites to succumb to the universalization of Western liberal democracy with its balance of liberty and equality has been proven false. So why does Lapid insist on preaching what clearly is a disproven understanding of history and anti-Semitic hatred?
Yair Lapid has joined the ranks of America’s Jewish progressive vanguard by accepting the new normal in the battle against anti-Semites. His new found progressive understanding of anti-Semitism in the battle against the surge in Jew hatred is based on a simple and dangerous misconception and at the end of the day will only fan the fire of anti-Semitism. Progressive Jews view today’s world exclusively through the prism of oppressors versus oppressed, privileged versus under privileged, black versus white. According to Lapid’s progressive mindset, Jews are guilty of being guilty on all three counts: oppressor, privileged, and white. Extending this condemnation of Jews onto Israeli’s and the State of Israel is the logical extension of this kind of warped thinking,
Yair Lapid is doing nothing more than promoting classical anti-Semitic stereotyping of Jews. These efforts by Lapid will only empower an indifference to anti-Semitic violence and behavior. Voicing concern over anti-Semitism will be treated as an insult to other minority groups. Raising concerns of anti-Semitism or expressing sympathy for Jews who are threatened by anti-Semites will become and has become an indefensible offense. This kind of dangerous thinking on the part of one of Israel’s leading politicians can only be understood as an existential threat for Jews everywhere and for the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.