The Mindset of Our Anti-Semites

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Peruse campus literature. Watch clips from university protests. Scan interviews with pro-Hamas protestors. Read the chalk propaganda sketched on campus sidewalks. Talk to raging students in the free speech area. And the one common denominator— besides their arrogance—is their abject ignorance. Take their following tired talking points:


We are told that the Palestinians after more than 75 years of residence in the West Bank and Gaza are “refugees.” If that definition were currently true, then, are the 900,000 Jews who were forcibly exiled from Muslim countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia after the 1947, 1956, 1967 wars still “refugees?”

Most fled to Israel. Do they now live in “refugee” camps administrated by the UN? Are they protesting to recover their confiscated homes and wealth in Damascus, Cairo, or Baghdad? Do Jews on Western television dangle their keys to lost homes in Damascus a half-century after they were expelled?

How about the 150,000-200,000 Greek Cypriots who in 1974 were brutally driven out of their ancient homes in Northern Cyprus? Are they today living in “refugee” camps in southern Cyprus? Are Cypriot terrorists blowing themselves up in “occupied” Nicosia to recover what was stolen from them by Turkey?

Turkish president Recep Erdogan lectures the world on Palestinian “refugees,” but does he mention Turkey’s role in the brutal expulsion of 40 percent of the residents of Cyprus?

Are there campus groups organizing against Turkey on behalf of the displaced Cypriots? After being slaughtered and expelled, are the Cypriots a cause celebre in academia? Do the “refugee” cities of southern Cyprus resemble Jenin or Jericho?

For that matter, how about the 12 million German civilians who between 1945-50 were expelled, and mostly walked back from, East Prussia and parts of Eastern Europe, some with Prussian roots going back a millennium and more. Perhaps 1 million died during the expulsions.

Are any current survivors still “refugees?” If so, are they organizing for war to get back “occupied”  “Danzig” and “Königsberg” for Germany? So why does the world damn Israel and romanticize the Palestinians in a way it does not with any other “refugee” group?


Israel is said to practice “apartheid,” although since 2005-06 Gaza has been autonomous. Mahmoud Abbas runs in his fashion the West Bank. Like the Hamas clique, he held elections one time in 2005, and then after his election, of course, cancelled any free election in the fashion of the one election, one time Middle East. Who forced him to do that? Zionists? Americans?

At any time, Gaza could have taken its vast wealth in annual foreign aid and become completely independent in fuel, food, and energy, without need of any such help form the “Zionist entity.”

Gaza could have capitalized on its strategic location, the world’s eagerness to help, and the natural beauty of its Mediterranean beaches. Instead, it squandered its income on a labyrinth of terrorist tunnels and rockets. Today, it snidely snickers at any mention of following the Singapore model of prosperity–a former colonial city whose World War II death count vastly surpassed that of the various wars over Gaza.

Are the Israeli Arabs—21 percent of the Israeli population—living under apartheid?

If so, it is a funny sort of oppression when they vote, hold office, form parties, and enjoy more freedom and prosperity than almost anywhere else in the Middle East under Arab autocracies. Are those in sympathy with Hamas fleeing from Israel into Gaza or the West Bank or other Arab countries to live with kindred Muslims under an autocratic and theocratic dictatorship, or do they prefer to stay in the “Zionist entity” under “apartheid?”

Where then is real apartheid?

The Uyghurs in China, fellow Muslims to Middle Easterners, who are ignored by Israel’s Islamic enemies, but who reside in China’s segregated work camps to the silence of the usually loud UN, EU, and Muslim world?

How about the Muslim Kurds? Are they second- or third-class citizens in Muslim Turkey? And how about the tens of thousands of foreign workers from India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries who labor under the kafala system in the Arab Muslim Gulf countries, and are subject to apartheid protocols that allow them no free will about how they live, travel, or the conditions of their labor?

Are campuses erupting to champion the Uyghurs, the Kurds, or the subjugated workers of the Gulf?


Israel is now damned as “disproportionally” bombing Gaza. The campus subtext is that because Gaza’s 7,000-8,000 rockets launched at Israeli civilians have not killed enough Jews, then Israel should not retaliate for October 7 by bombing Hamas targets–shielded by impressed civilians— because it is too effective.

Would a “proportionate” response be counting up all the Israelis murdered, categorizing the horrific manner of their deaths, and then sending Israeli commandoes into Gaza during a “pause” in the fighting to murder an equal number of Gazans in the same satanic fashion?

Does the U.S. lecture Ukraine not to use to the full extent its lethal U.S. imported weaponry since the result is often simply too deadly? After all, perhaps twice as many Russians have been killed, wounded, or are missing than Ukrainian casualties. Should Ukraine have been more “proportionate?” Has President Biden ordered President Zelensky to offer the Russian aggressors a “pause” in the fighting to end the “cycle of violence?”

Or did U.S.-supplied artillery, anti-armor weapons, drones, and missiles “disproportionally” kill too many Russians? Or does the U.S. assume that since Russia attacked Ukraine at a time of peace, it deserves such a “disproportionate” response that alone will lose it the war?

For that matter, the U.S. certainly disproportionately paid back Japan for Pearl Harbor, and the Japanese brutal take-over of the Pacific, much of Asia, and China—and the barbarous way the Japanese military slaughtered millions of civilians, executed prisoners, and mass raped women. Should the U.S. have simply done a one-off retaliatory attack on the imperial fleet at Yokohama, declared a “cease-fire,” and thus ended the “cycle of violence?”

Civilian casualties

Campus activists scream that Israel has slaughtered “civilians” and is careless about “collateral damage.” They equate retaliating against mass murderers who use civilians to shield them from injury, while warning any Gazans in the region of the targeted response to leave, as the moral equivalent of deliberately butchering civilians in a surprise attack.

So did protestors mass in the second term of Barrack Obama when he focused on Predator drone missions inside Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen to go after Islamic terrorists who deliberately target civilians?

At the time, the hard-left New York Times found the ensuing “collateral damage” in civilian deaths merely “troubling.” No matter—Obama persisted, insisting as he put it, “Let’s kill the people who are trying to kill us.” Note Obama did not expressly say the terrorists in Pakistan or Yemen were killing Americans, but “trying” to kill Americans. For him, that was, quite properly, enough reason “to kill” the potential assassins of Americans.

What would the Harvard President today say of Benjamin Netanyahu saying just that about Hamas?

We have no idea how many women, children, and elderly were in the general vicinity of a targeted terrorist in Pakistan or Yemen when an American drone missile struck. Then CIA Director John Brennan later admitted that he had lied under oath (with zero repercussions), when he testified to Congress that there was no collateral damage in drone targeted assassinations.

Obama was proud of his preemptive assassination program. Indeed, in lighthearted fashion he joked at the White House Correspondence Dinner about his preference for lethal drone missions, when he “warned” celebrities not to date his daughters: “But boys, don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you, ‘predator drones.’ You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking.”

Did the campuses erupt and scream “Not in my name” when their president laughed about his assassination program? After all, Obama had also admitted, “There is no doubt that civilians were killed who shouldn’t have been.” Did he then stop the targeted killings due to collateral damage—as critics now demand a cease fire from Israel?


Genocide is now the most popular charge in the general damnation of Israel, a false smear aimed at calling off the Israeli response to Hamas, burrowed beneath civilians in Gaza City.

But how strange a charge! Pro-Hamas demonstrators the world over chant “From the River to the Sea,” unambiguously calling for the utter destruction of Israel and its 9 million population. Are the Hamas supporters then “genocidal?”

Is genocide the aim of Hamas that launched over 7,000 rockets into Israeli cities without warning? What is the purpose of the purportedly 120,000 rockets in the hands of Hezbollah if not to target Israeli noncombatants? Is all that a genocidal impulse?

Do Hamas and Hezbollah drop leaflets to civilians, as does Israel, to flee the area of a planned missile attack—or is that against their respective charters?

Hamas leaders in Qatar and Beirut continue to give interviews bragging about their October 7 surprise mass murdering of civilians. They even promise more such missions that likewise will be aimed at beheading, torturing, executing, incinerating, and desecrating the bodies of hundreds of Jewish civilians, perhaps again in the early morning during a holiday and a time of peace.

Is that planned continuation of mass killing genocidal? Does the amoral UN recall any other mass murdering spree when the killers beheaded infants, cooked them in ovens, and raped the dead?

Perhaps students at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and Stanford will protest the real genocide in Darfur where some half-million black African Sudanese have been slaughtered by mostly Muslim Arab Sudanese. Did the Cornell professor who claimed he was “exhilarated” on news of beheaded Jewish babies protest the slaughter of the Sudanese? Did the current campus protestors ever assemble to scream about the Islamists who slaughtered the indigenous Africans of Sudan?

Are professors at Stanford organizing to refuse all grants and donations that originate from communist China? Remember, the Chinese communist Party has never apologized for the party’s genocidal murder of some 60-80 millions of its own during the Maoist Cultural Revolution, much less its systematic efforts to eliminate the Uyghur Muslim population?

These examples could easily be expanded. But they suffice to remind us that the Middle-East and Western leftist attacks on Israel for responding to the October 7 mass murdering are neither based on any consistent moral logic nor similarly extended to other nations who really do practice apartheid, genocide, and kill without much worry about collateral damage.

So why does the world apply a special standard to Israel?

To the leftist and Islamist, Israel is guilty of being:

1) Jewish;

2) Too prosperous, secure, and free;

3) Sufficiently Western to meet the boilerplate smears of colonialist, imperialist, and blah, blah, blah.


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49 thoughts on “The Mindset of Our Anti-Semites”

  1. Anthony The Saint

    I’d much rather be called an “Islamophobic” and keep my family safe than to be called an “antisemiti” and be known as a terrorist around the world.

    1. A phobia is an irrational fear. I’m not Islamophobic. My fear of Islam is completely rational. But my fear has melted away and underneath is real anger.

      1. There are 1.8 Billion Muslims in the world. If your fear of Islam has turned to anger how many of that 1.8 billion do you intend to kill? How long until they kill you?

        If Muslims wanted war the world would be burning.
        Is there any problem we face that we didn’t contribute to creating/

    2. Did it ever occur to you that the solution might not be giving someone else’s land to recreate Israel?
      Why did we not do it in the US?

  2. Mr. Hanson, you continue to do the world a great service in exposing hypocrisies. It is incumbent upon the rest of us to forward your words to those we know who may benefit the most from them. Surely most of us know someone who is very Jewish and very Democrat. Your words may be just the push they need.

  3. Thank you for your valuable, well-informed insights. I’m passing this commentary akin to others in the hope that we can bring sanity and reason to the insanity on college campuses and in most media sources of late.

  4. The bullet-like form of the piece is effective, as is the open question technique.

    Hatfields and the McCoys. It will never end. Never. Too much tangled and terrible history, real and fake. Too many parties making money off the status quo.

    The only “solution” is to eliminate one of the parties. But is that possible?

    This situation has been way past the “talking” stage for decades, if not centuries.

    Coming to a neighborhood near you, very soon. Right here in beautiful California.

    Have a good day!

    1. It’s not Hatfields and McCoys; roughly 100% of the time, it’s the Arabs who start things with a murderous attack on Jews. Go back to the 1800s and early 1900s before Israel was established, and there were riots against Jews and expulsions.

      If the Arabs wanted peace, there would be peace.

      1. The same can be said of White Americans against Black Americans.
        White Americans against Native Americans the same thing.
        The revolution of Texas against Mexico was about slavery. In Mexico slavery was forbidden.
        Davey Crockett went to Texas, and died at the Alamo, in the battle to keep black people enslaved.

        When you decide someone else’s life you have to be right all the way, or you are guilty of what goes wrong.

      2. Yes Mitch—If the terrorists stopped fighting there would be peace. If Israel stopped fighting (defending itself) there would be no Israel.

  5. I have always enjoyed Victor’s point of view and defended him to my half-wit leftist professor friends. So I qualify as a “VDH fan.” However, this article caught my eye because it promised to address something called “mindset.” I thought “at last! Now we are going to hear about the psychological foundation of genocidal anti-semitism.” In my view, we did not. VDH did his usual stunning job at laying bare the breath-taking intellectual hypocrisy, but nothing from the deeper level of how what appears like “hypocrisy” to normal, well-balanced people seems so perfectly reasonable and consistent to the “Jonestown crowd.” My request is that we begin to look at the mechanics of crowd- and auto-indoctrination in the absence of humanity’s eight most important qualities: steadiness of mind; joy; empathy, compassion, generosity; and creativity, intelligence, and wisdom in the selection of our goals and day-to-day actions. The questions are: (1) what is the organic source of these qualities; (2) how do we tap this source; and (3) what portion of a community tapping this source is enough to keep those lacking these qualities from growing in number. These questions are not unlike the three questions asked by the ancient Greeks: (A) what is real; (B) of the real, what is genuinely good; and (C) how do we make more of the good? The old, cultural answers to these questions have proven inadequate to balancing out the unintended consequences of scientific materialism.

  6. Victor,
    I flew for the USAF in Yom Kippur in 1973.
    It seems nothing has changed in 50 years.
    Thank You for the bright light you shine on today’s war.
    Phil Foley

  7. Excellent review of many of the deep evils suffered by civilization. Thank you, Dr. Hanson.

    God help the Israeli people, both Jews and the 21% Arabs living there, and who both lost loved-ones to Hamas evil October 7.

  8. Thank you so much for this information. I post in defense of Israel often, and didn’t know many of these things. Now I have more information to post for Israel. I have researched the history of the conflict, but some of my old sources seem to have changed. come under different management. I often wonder at how much you know. lol I would be grateful if you could refer me to some sources in re: to this conflict.

  9. 𝙔𝙤𝙪’𝙫𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝘿𝙧. 𝙃𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙤𝙣, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙄 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙙𝙙 1 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙘𝙍𝘼𝙏 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙮 𝙞𝙨 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙢𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙘, 𝙮𝙚𝙩 𝙖 𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙚 𝙣𝙪𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙅𝙚𝙬𝙨 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙪𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙞𝙩 & 𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩 𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙘𝙍𝘼𝙏𝙨. 𝙄 𝙙𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙛 𝘿𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙙 𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙢𝙥 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙤𝙙𝙖𝙮, 𝙊𝙘𝙩𝙤𝙗𝙚𝙧 7 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙙𝙖𝙮.

  10. Great history. You could add in the example of the creation of Pakistan and the Hindus that were expelled back to India, out of a country that was just created with NO historical reason for being. But yet, no one is calling on Pakistan to exit.

  11. I am visiting a Western European Capital city and the small Jewish neighborhood nearby is patrolled by well armed soldiers (not police). It isn’t an ‘Israeli’ neighborhood, but a Jewish neighborhood. The claim that it isn’t antisemitic to want the State of Israel destroyed is belied by overwhelming evidence.

    1. WHAT citizens? Citizens of Israel? Citizens of Gaza? Citizens of the world? How about terrorists? They are citizens of some country. I suppose it’s ok for them to kill and suffer no punishment because they are “citizens” of some country. Justice demands punishment that fits the crime. The lack of swift justice is what is driving many of your fellow leftists out of the very cities they have destroyed and bringing them to “safe” cities that still believe in punishing criminals, yes CITIZEN criminals.

      You belong to the ignorant, arrogant swath of the human race who prides himself on his moral superiority. I wonder if your view will change when YOU become the victim, or when you son or daughter or wife or parents are assaulted by terrorists who are crossing the border by the millions every day. Time will tell because it is certainly coming to a neighborhood near you.

    2. But we can identify certain items of context that enable us to understand why it is moral for a country that has been subjected to heinous terrorist attacks to take retaliatory actions that kill citizens even though they are targeted toward terrorists.

  12. Face it. Israel is constantly violating one of the most important human rights. It was a right that humans cherished and enjoyed for millennia. It was the right to attack and murder Jews with impunity.
    Israel was created to violate this right. The Israeli Defense Force is denying this right every day by its mere existence. That makes many humans very angry.

  13. VDH’s expositions and interpretations of history should be a required, mandatory course for graduation from every college and university in America.

  14. It would be great to have a well researched summary of the origins of respective claims to inhabit the land of the Middle East. I have beetold that there was a brutal cleansing of Arabs from the territory now known as Israel inapproxmatly 1948. Is that the origin of the whole thing? Your thoughts would be great.

  15. Very well said and spot on 1000% I appreciate your knowledge if people would just read about history they might get a clue Israel should do what ever they can to wipe out Hamas all of the indoctrination of students is terrible they should all go and live in some of these countries maybe it would open their eyes

  16. john clay price

    blah blah blah????????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Professor do not get discouraged, to paraphrase Twain, ignorance unlike genius knows no bounds. There will always be those of us who know what you are talking about, and those who will never see the forest for the trees. I remember quite a while back you were interviewed about universities dropping history courses and warned of the reults. We are witnessing those results in real time, and we have not hit bottom yet, not even close.

  17. Matthias Gordon R Mendezona

    Thank you Mr. Hanson. I imagine that in every age there are those such as yourself that point out the ignorance driven actions of entire groups that lead to man’s cruelty to others.

  18. Loved the way you went through history to point out the sanctimonous and disingenuous actions of the left. But I would say you are preaching to the choir as few on the left read the excellent works of Professor Hanson just as few blacks read the outstanding works of Thomas Sowell.
    I agree with S.J. Brown’s earlier ‘thought’ on this thread, that it is incumbent upon us to spread the word.

  19. Great article! Antisemitism and ignorance go hand in hand. Politicians around the world use ignorance to their benefit.

  20. Thanks for the most ignorant piece of writing. Drawing all these comparisons doesn’t negate the fact that Israel is in fact an apartheid state established on the blood of expelled Palestinians. Being pro Palestinian ≠ antisemitism. Maybe you can study up on how Arabs are Semites too.

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