A demonstration in Washington Square Park on April 27, 2018. (Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

To the Antisemites Who Sit Next to Me at School

My NYU classmates talk about the 'Zionist grip on the media' and tweet 'death to Israel.'

To my law school classmate who tweeted, “my love language is marg bar [death to] Israel”: thank you.

To the Students for Justice in Palestine, who explained: “Zionism is, by design, an ideology that promotes violence against, and hatred and delegitimization of Palestinians. Embedded in the Zionist supremacy narrative is the orientalist, Islamophobic idea that Azkenazi [sic] Jewish whiteness is fundamentally superior to Palestinian lives, culture, and identity”: thank you.

To the dozen NYU student groups that signed on to their statement defending terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians because “People living under occupation have a right to resist their violent occupation,” and bemoaned the “Zionist grip on the media”: thank you.

To the the Black Allied Law Students Association, Middle Eastern Law Students Association, National Lawyers Guild, Law Students for Economic Justice, Muslim Law Students Association, The Coalition on Law & Representation, and Disability Allied Law Students Association that affirmed: “Palestinians are not obligated to engage in racialized ‘nonviolence’ theory”: thank you.

To the first-year law student who said, “Quiet, you baby,” when a Jewish student pleaded for a bit of sympathy: thank you.

To the 3L who mocked her Jewish classmates when they begged for reassurance that their supposed friends would condemn firing an AR-15 at unarmed men, women, and children, quipping “you don’t condemn an earthquake or a lethal outbreak of flu”: thank you.

To my classmates who lecture their Jewish classmates that “Zionism is a racist, imperialist, white supremacist ideology, not a religious movement,” and those others who insist that Israelis’ sense of victimhood is “delusional” because Israel “colonized Palestinian land”: I thank you.

All of you have done more than I ever could to convince my fellow Jews that the left doesn’t just have a Corbyn problem or a Tlaib problem or a Farrakhan problem. It has a big, fat Jew-hatred problem right in its ideological core. This time it happened to rear its head at one of the best law schools in the country. One where the name Steinhardt adorns the buildings and about a quarter of the students are Jews. Yes, even here. Especially here. 

Thank you for starting one of those “courageous conversations” we’re always supposed to have. This one not about gender or systemic racism or climate change, but about the burning debate over whether it is fantastic or merely acceptable that innocent Jews are being murdered in Israel.

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