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Israelophobia is the newest form of the oldest hatred

The distinction between hating Jews and hating Israel is bogus.

Protesters in Berlin hold a Palestinian flag and the initials of the anti-Israel BDS movement while then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting Germany in August 2019. Credit: Israel Hayom.

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy, in 2018. To access her work, go to:

(August 31, 2023 / JNS)

Antisemitism is a rotten term for the “longest hatred” that targets the Jewish people. For a start, there is no such thing as “semitism” to be “anti.”

The word “antisemitism” was invented by a 19th-century Jew-hater, Wilhelm Marr, who wanted to invest this prejudice with the spurious characteristic of race in order to appeal to a society that increasingly defined itself in scientific terms.

Today, with Jew-hatred having reached unprecedented global levels, the inadequacies of “antisemitism” are becoming ever more manifest. Many wrongly believe that it’s just another form of racism. Few understand that it’s a uniquely paranoid, deranged and murderous mindset.

Because Judaism and the Jews are so poorly understood, few recognize that this unique people is victimized by a unique prejudice. And few acknowledge that the prejudice changes shape as societies change.

Used for the sake of convenience, “antisemitism” fosters further misunderstanding over the issue of Israel. People assume that prejudice against the Jewish people is against Jews as people. Few understand that Judaism isn’t a private confessional faith as the West understands religion to be.

They don’t realize that Jewish religious identity is rooted in the Land of Israel, where the Jews were historically the only people for whom it was ever their national kingdom. So they fail to grasp that Israel is at the very heart of Judaism. Denouncing the right of the Jews to the land is to attack Judaism itself.

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