It feels like a violation of a safe Jewish community space when antisemitic Op-Eds find their way in. Ms. Nina Tannenwald has written to this paper a number of times, and recently targeted Jews in her writing of “The Jewish Community and the Stain of Denial.” [March 2020]
She sees the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as flawed because, in her opinion, it “focuses excessively on stigmatizing criticism of Israel.” However, the antisemitic bit was not her criticism of Israel, but her pointing of criticism directly at Jews.
The definition makes it clear that holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel is antisemitic. Ms. Tannenwald did this by calling Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “the single biggest moral stain on the Jewish community today” and by stating that, “Jews pretend that international human-rights standards do not apply to Israel.” The definition expertly makes the distinction between criticism of Israel and true antisemitism, which she clearly exemplified.
Why is she writing to our Jewish newspaper and what place does it have here? She has exhibited a pattern of writing to our community with blatant antisemitic language. Another Op Ed, listed on her Curriculum Vitae, is titled, “Israeli Elections: Is Racism a Jewish Value?”
I question what her Brown University students think of her barrage of antisemitic pieces, as they try to understand geopolitical tensions halfway across the globe. With antisemitic attacks on the rise, we need to be diligent in calling out antisemitic language that may incite further violence.
Ms. Tannenwald needs to be held accountable. Our local community, our newspaper, Brown University, and Brown RISD Hillel should all be taking a look at her targeted statements and demanding fair treatment of the Jewish people. Enough is enough, Ms. Tannenwald.
North Attleboro, Mass.