Question and a bit of a rant.
I’m a secular Jew. My grandparents are both Holocaust survivers and still alive. I grew up without a father so they raised me and I feel deeply connected to them. We see each other at least once a week and I currently follow a little project where I interview them on video to secure their memories. It takes a lot of emotional energy and I feel the generational trauma very intensely at the moment.
I found a way to process this by educating people. The good thing is that many people are willing to learn, especially in Germany, where I live.
That being said. There is a lot of antisemitic ignorance. I don’t have a better word for this but there are antisemitic narratives people share and don’t know that they are antisemitic because they seem so normal to them and because they don’t want them to be antisemitic – which doesn’t change the fact that they are of course.
Take the cultural marxism trope for example. There is no doubt that it is inherently antisemitic but people sometimes claim it isn’t because they don’t mean it that way and if you tell them, they are sometimes offended because they think you accuse them of hating Jews, even when you explain that you don’t think that and that you are just pointing out that the narrative they share has an antisemitic core they don’t know about and that it works as a dog whistle for antisemitic circles.
Another example that comes to mind is a debate with Richard Dawkins and the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks in which Rabbi Sacks tries to explain to Richard Dawkins that he reads the “old testament” in a christian way and that his interpretation and sole focus on the “G*d of the Old Testament” in one chapter comes from a christian perspective that is antisemitic. Dawkins is deeply offended and doesn’t understand what the Rabbi is talking about – because he doesn’t understand that he’s a christian atheist who argues against an antisemitic caricature of Judaism.
Other examples are they Great Replacement, the “Globalists” trope and many more. So it’s not about people using badly connotated words or being pc. It’s about narratives and worldviews that have been and are still used to murder Jews.
Now my question. How do you deal with this and how do you make these people understand?
I sometimes try to explain it to people in a calm way, provide data/information and tell them that I don’t think of them as being antisemitic but I want to inform them that they use something that is antisemitic. I often find it difficult because they can sense that I’m annoyed by it and accuse me of being impolite or “too stressed out about something completely unimportant.”
Of course I’m annoyed because I’m traumatized, because I have seen this crap a hundred times and it get’s really annoying over time and because I find it a bit irritating that I have to explain it to them when it should be their responsibility. Sorry that I’m a little bit on the edge here, coming from my grandparents and trying to explain to a german person why I don’t want them to share antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Anyways. Thanks for reading. I just had an encounter with someone like this and writing it down has helped a lot already. But any advice for future encounters is appreciated.