A poll conducted Dec 13-14 among 2000 registered voters included the question:
Do you think that Jews as a class are oppressors and should be treated as oppressors or is that a false ideology?
Among respondents aged 18-24, 67% believed that Jews as a class’ are oppressors. Note well: the questions was not about ‘Israel’ or ‘Israelis’ or ‘Zionists’, it was about Jews, plain and simple.
Michelle Tandler responded: “This is extraordinary. How did Gen Z come to believe that Jews are oppressors? Is that being taught somewhere..?”
What is being taught, pretty clearly, is that people are primarily defined by their ethnic and gender identity…there are no individuals, there are only ‘communities’ defined by these demographic categories. The more successful groups are defined as oppressors of the less-successful groups. Even the behavioral attributes required for success are viewed pejoratively; see for example the Smithsonian on ‘whiteness’. If values such as ‘hard work’, ‘rational thinking’, and ‘future orientation’ are considered as ‘whiteness’, then Jews ‘as a class’ certainly exemplify that attribute, regardless of the shade of any particular individual’s skin. And if whites as a class are oppressors, then Jews as a class must be meta-oppressors.
This kind of thing clearly had its origins in academia. As John Ellis notes at the WSJ: “Campus antisemitism grew out of ideologies like “anticolonialism,” “anticapitalism” and “intersectionality.”..The radical left is the cause, most obviously through the one-party campuses having graduated an entire generation of young Americans indoctrinated with their ideas.”
Academia, and the K-12 schools which are repeaters of its ideologies, are of course not the only factors in this shocking rise in anti-Semitism. The rise of TikTok, with its emphasis on pre-literate modes of communication and the behavior of its algorithms–are they purposely malign toward American interests?–is surely a factor. See this comparison of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views among TikTok users and users of other platforms…see also this WSJ study of what actually shows up in the TikTok feeds of people registered as 13-year-olds.
Also–given that there are many nations–and not only Muslim ones–where anti-Semitism has been more pervasive and accepted than in the US, it is likely that the presence of large numbers of immigrants and foreign students has played a role in moving the Overton Window to a worse place: ‘Personnel is Policy.’
And, historically, societies in which people lose a sense of hope for the future, that they feel that they are facing pervasive decline, have been especially likely to be prone to anti-Semitism. There are a lot of people in the US today who are not optimistic about either our national future or their personal futures.
While there are all these factors–and doubtless many more–behind the upsurge in anti-Semitism and the support for extreme groups such as Hamas, I believe that the ideology of Indentity Politics is the primary factor. The prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz went so far as to say DEI is the incubator of anti-Semitism.