Are you an auto-anti-Semite? Take this simple test

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Earlier this week, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett coined a new term to describe Jews who oppose religious instruction in the Israeli curriculum: “auto-anti-Semitism.” The term is a marked improvement in diagnostics over the old expression, “self-hating Jew,” and Bennett provided this definition:

Auto-anti-Semitism is a social-psychological phenomenon in which a Jew develops obsessive contempt and hostility towards Jewish tradition, customs, and observant Jews.

The Education Minister was not specific, so we were hoping to flesh out the definition. Here is a checklist of ten signs that you may be developing Auto-anti-semitism.

1. You don’t look at old movies and tell your partner, You know, his real name was Julius Garfinkle!

2. When Benjamin Netanyahu says that he is the leader of the Jews of the world, you gag.

3. When you read the famous exchange of letters between Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt in which Scholem accused Arendt of showing insufficient love for the Jewish people, and Arendt responded that “I have never in my life ‘loved’ some nation or collective — not the German, French or American nation, or the working class, or whatever else might exist.  The fact is that I love only my friends and am quite incapable of any other sort of love” — you find yourself agreeing with Hannah Arendt.

4. You do not believe that Israel turned the desert green, is in a tough neighborhood, or was a land for a people who didn’t have a land. 

5. When you see photos of shuttered Palestinian storefronts in Hebron spray-painted with Stars of David by Israeli settlers, you feel shame.

6. You agree with scholars and clergy who say that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the name of “the Jewish state” and “the Jewish people” is fostering the rise of anti-Semitism globally and even making Jews in the west unsafe.

7. You do not think that hummus, shakshuka, falafel, tabouleh and the cherry tomato were invented by Israelis.

8. When you see a Palestinian youth throwing stones to repel armored Israeli tanks from their land, you wonder how you would feel about violent resistance under those circumstances.

9. You think the words “Never again” do not apply to just one people.

10. You think equal rights for Palestinians and Jews is not a bad idea.


1-3 You’re following the wrong people on twitter. 

4-6. Run, do not walk, to the nearest offices of Hillel International/The David Project for deprogramming.

7-10. You have a full-blown case of auto-anti-Semitism, there’s no hope for you…

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Humorous or obnoxious? or both.

Hannah Arendt’s performance in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem has something a bit wrong with it. Can’t put my finger on it. (It smells of the disdain that german jews had for ostjuden.) Your bland endorsement of her attitude in that book is superficial.

My score is 9. Obviously, number 5 cannot apply to me because I’m not a Jew. Besides, I don’t think that anti-Zionist Jews should feel shame when they see how the Zionists use the Star of David. Anger or disapproval would make more sense. As the Star of David is the main element of the Zionist flag, I perceive it first and foremost as a Zionist symbol anyway. Not as a Jewish symbol that is… Read more »

Baruch hashem scored a zero

Naftali Bennett would certainly agree these are all symptoms of auto-anti-Semitism. Other items could be added to the diagnostic list, such as 11. You don’t believe Jews are Biblically entitled to slaughter Palestinians and take their land. Once Israeli researchers determine that these symptoms do indeed correlate with auto-anti-Semitism (how they would do this is not clear), they would still have a further task. That would be to prove there is not some other explanation… Read more »

“a Jew develops obsessive contempt and hostility towards Jewish tradition, customs, and observant Jews.”

One would think such a person would very quickly stop being a Jew, and so the anti-Semitism would no longer be auto. AAS is, then, a transient and self-correcting condition.