Illustration: Eran Wolkowski

The Guide to Applied Antisemitism

Anti-Semitism can be handy, if you know how to make use of it. ■ Antisemitism shuts every mouth. It wipes clean each and every question. It completes the wall of lies that closes in on us.

The Palestine Project
4 min readMay 4, 2024


By Yossi Klein • Translated by Sol Salbe

Antisemitism exists. Racism exists. But you have to know how to use them. Antisemitism is insulting and humiliating, but it can also draw the fire away from us, the Jews in Israel, and direct it onto Jews abroad. Does that sound callous? Sure it does, but this is war, baby, and everyone has a role to play. The role of the Jews is to absorb the fire directed at us because of the Occupied Territories and Gaza. It won’t be easy for them. Once again they will be asked about dual loyalty, again they will be asked who they are more loyal to, Smotrich or Biden.

Anti-Semitism can be handy, if you know how to make use of it.

Our government knows. Under the auspices of the bond that it imposes on Jews around the world, it removes its responsibility for our predicament. It was incapable of foreknowing Iran’s reaction to the general’s killing, nor the impact of the war on Jews around the world. Or maybe it did know? Or did it see antisemitism as an opportunity? Or maybe it hoped that Jews would flee the Manhattan protests into Ben-Gvir’s arms? To Hezbollah’s rockets?

Enlightened countries combat antisemitism. They don’t use it as an excuse. They don’t say: Hold me back before I kill a million civilians in Rafah. As far as we are concerned, antisemitism is an official licence to kill. Do you see antisemitism? Don’t talk, shoot. Only we know how to identify it, we catch it hiding behind every difficult question. It is our Hasbara, the way we explain things.

We have no other Hasbara. The IDF Spokesperson never refers to the settlers’ rampage settlers, nor to the killing of “non-combatants,” nor was he asked about antisemitism. It’s very convenient for the government that the demonstrations abroad are against everyone: those who protest against the government and those who are out in the streets in its favour. We are all united around antisemitism. Did you ask for unity? So there you go, you got it.

Students in the US are not protesting because of antisemitism, but because of 57 years of oppression and needless killings in the past six months. So they say the demonstrations are against Israel? Let them say that. But we know: it’s antisemitism and that’s that. However, we don’t fool them, we fool ourselves. It is convenient for us to talk about “antisemitism” and not about abductees and those people displaced from border regions near Gaza and Lebanon. The government nurtures it, the media blows it beyond proportion, deliberately conflating it with anti-Israelism. And we believe it and thus we don’t understand.

We don’t understand the connection between the victims, who are always us, and the protests that are directed at us. We don’t understand that every outcome has a cause. Did we kill an Iranian general? We were hit by missiles. Did we kill “officials”? We coped volleys of rockets. We actually know the reasons for the demonstrations against us, but we suppress it. We have an explanation: we didn’t know, it wasn’t shown on TV, we’re victims too.

We are good at being victims. The perfect victim forgets fast. We forgot the settlers and the Occupied Territories, and we thought that if we forgot, the world at large had forgotten too. Wrong. Even the decent and good among us have forgotten. And now they are offended.

They ask: What, all of us? Even the Kaplan Street demonstrators against the government? We don’t understand how denial of rights and violation of equality bring thousands of demonstrators to the streets. It’s hypocrisy, we say, who protests such nonsense?

You should be able to understand us. What have we got to do with human rights? What have we got to do with equality before the law? What have we got to do with freedom of expression? Would one of our high school graduates recognise them? Where would such a graduate encounter them? In the Occupied Territories? In the Government? Had such a student been familiar with these concepts , they would have refused to serve in the Occupied Territories and joined the demonstrators. Such a graduate would not have been familiar with those concepts because they have been systematically whittled away from the curricula. Generations of students went out to the big world without them.

The concepts do not exist neither in consciousness, nor in education, nor in government. But awareness of a cruel situation is preferable to the belief in an illusory reality. If you don’t know, you don’t understand. But if you do know you see the demonstrations in the US and say: Oh, it’s okay, calm down, they’re just about freedom of expression and antisemitism.

Antisemitism shuts every mouth. It wipes clean each and every question. It completes the wall of lies that closes in on us. It is as useful as the “military pressure” that rescues the abductees and the “yeshiva students” who save us all from harm through the study of the Torah. On the contrary, go and ask why the government sabotages the release of the abductees? Ask why does it ignores settler violence? Let’s see you see you. Antisemites, the panel in the TV studio will scold you.