Kin Lane

Allowing Anti-Semitism To Flourish By Looking The Other Way

I thought I understood anti-semitism when I was younger. You learn about the holocaust, and you hear how Americans came in and kicked the Nazi’s assess in WWII. Right? Done. It’s all over. What could be worst than the holocaust right? Well, as an adult I’ve realized the worst is still out there, and it is something people like me have uncomfortably chuckled at, ignored, and allowed to exist all around us for most of our lives. While the distant holocaust in a time and land that is far way is definitely the worst we can imagine, many of us seem incapable of resisting anti-semitism within our own lives because of some secret code that family and friends are more important than politics, forcing us to accept people who aren’t just quirky and annoying, but down-right dangerous and hateful-—doing our part to make sure anti-semitism is alive and well in this country.

I cringe when I think of the number of times I’ve pretended an anti-semitic slur didn’t just come out of a family members mouth. I am ashamed at the number of people I didn’t call out for anti-semitism because I didn’t want to rock the boat when they implied that the holocaust never happened, and was just made up. I am troubled that I rarely pushed back when I was told about some grand conspiracy existing in the financial system that is perpetuated by Jewish people, and that there is an “alternative” financial system that is somehow more pure and magical over here. What better way to get someone to invest in your financial scam than to prey upon the anti-semitism that exists, labelling your financial system as pure, and everything else something master planned by “those” people. I am embarrassed at my lack of spine in standing up against anti-semitism over the years because of some “not rock the boat” mentality, or family bond that has to exist.

Not calling out anti-Semitism, and actively looking the other way is how you end up with the holocaust. Allowing people to hate at this level within your friends and family circles allows for this toxic reality to not just exist, but flourish in our society. What concerns me is if we are unable to call out the direct anti-semitic language and beliefs in everyday discussions with family and friend, how are we ever going to be educated and equipped to call out and deal with the move covert anti-semitic under currents. The ones used to sell you on the “legitimate non Jewish conspiracy” financial products and investments being peddled by those “in the know”. If we are willing to look the other way and ignore family and friends causal anti-semitism because the are “family and friends”, then we sure aren’t willing to be educated and brave enough to step up for the more difficult challenges. Calling a high school friend out on their anti-semitic jokes in casual conversation should be easy, but some reason it isn’t. If we can’t do this, how are we ever going to show up in the streets to protest, or when the shit really hits the fan and people are being rounded up?

I am happy to say that I have finally made it to a zero tolerance place in my life when it comes to this behavior in my life. Where I call out every anti-semitic belief around me, and work to change my own language and behavior to reprogram myself from what I learned growing up. I do not care what our personal history is, if you believe in grand Jewish conspiracies, and dismiss known facts like the holocaust, you aren’t welcome in my house, or around my loved ones. Period. No exceptions. I strongly believe that we have to isolate people with these beliefs, and cut their ties to society, until they seek help, or just die off. It sounds horrible, I know. However, it isn’t more horrible than the alternative, and I refuse to sit around the dining room table and argue whether the holocaust happened or not in 2020. Sorry, I have more important challenges to deal with over letting that kind of toxicity into my life, and bigger battles to fight in years to come. I should have taken this stance years ago, but I guess I didn’t have the spine. It really was a frog boiling in a pot scenario that I couldn’t see. I can see it clearly now from the outside-in, and there is no going back for me now. I am sorry that other family and friends aren’t aware enough to see this behavior or brave enough to call it out when they do. I refuse to be that anymore.