Most people have camera rolls filled with memes, funny Tweets and Harry Styles pictures. Mine is filled with screenshots of antisemitic comments left under my TikToks and Instagram. My existence as a Jewish TikToker has ushered in a hurricane of antisemites just waiting to attack me in my comment section.
Often I wake to comments like “You look like the Happy Merchant” and frequently respond “Okay, Adolf.” When I first joined TikTok, I was excited to be getting comments under my videos. But now when I get a notification for a comment, my heart beats faster because I assume it’s hate.
Before TikTok, I hadn’t experienced much antisemitism outside of social media. Sure, classmates had uttered microaggressions about how I look like Anne Frank and that I’m going to hell for not celebrating Christmas, but nothing to the extent of what I’ve recently experienced.
My comment section is brimming with hate from pictureless profiles of musty incels who comment things like “You should have been gassed” or “Jews destroy every society they touch.” Also known as blatant Nazis.
Then there are those who claim to be on the political left, who believe they are immune from harboring antisemitic attitudes and beliefs because they assume a moral high ground—but this blindness is what leads to greater defenses when confronted about their antisemitism.
I could literally be vibing to the new Bad Bunny album, and someone will see my Star of David necklace and comment “Free Palestine.” When confronted about why they feel the need to derail the topic at hand, their response is “love Jews, not Israel.”
Miss girl, my video was about Chanukah, c’mon now.
This is an important conversation to have, but it is inappropriate to rope all Jews in and to derail ongoing conversations about antisemitism. We are not all Israeli, nor are we all inherently responsible for what is happening.
In fact, many of us speak out against the Israeli government. It is incorrect to assume we’re complicit in the treatment of Palestinians.
Then there’s the antisemitism deniers. These trolls like to tell me that I play the “antisemitism card” too often, and that antisemitism simply does not exist. Further, there are profiles in my comments that love comparing everything to the Holocaust, which is inherently problematic.
Using the Holocaust to push another agenda in my TikTok comments is like wearing socks with sandals. Not a cute look.
I get hateful comments under practically all my videos, and I post around five times a day. Even in videos where I am just dancing, I will receive comments saying I’m responsible for the destruction of Western civilization.
And TikTok doesn’t remove them no matter how many times I report them.
I have to hide my Star of David necklace if I don’t want someone to threaten me with death, or call me an oven dodger. There are days where I am on the edge of an anxiety attack for hours on end because of what people are saying to me. What is there to gain from expressing 3000-year-old hatred and condoning white supremacy?
I have nobody there to defend me except for the other Jewish creators on the app. In fact, I have found a sense of community on Jewish TikTok. Never before have I had other Jews to back me up and fight for me.
Many non-Jews just close their eyes and pretend antisemitism doesn’t exist, as doesTikTok. For every 10 comments I report, I am lucky if one gets removed, and it’s always a comment with a slur. But I at least know I have people to back me up regardless.
Antisemitism has been normalized. TikTok doesn’t even remove comments saying I should be gassed when I report them. The response to white students doing the Sieg Heil salute at my brother’s school was “Boys will be boys.”
Many believe antisemitism started and ended with the Holocaust– that is far from correct.
It shouldn’t be the responsibility of 0.1% of the world’s population to dismantle it. In the U.S. alone, hate crimes against Jews make up 60% of all religiously-motivated hate crimes, despite only being 2% of the American population. That statistic doesn’t include instances online or on TikTok.
Instead it includes Jewish cemeteries being desecrated with swastika graffiti and being called slurs by strangers. It only includes voluntary submissions, and many of us don’t report what we face out of safety and possible gaslighting.
The Jewish community needs your help. Before you boast about wanting to punch a Nazi, start advocating for the people they target. The Jewish community still faces discrimination; we are not doing “just fine.”
There are many opportunities on TikTok to metaphorically punch Nazis while simultaneously learning more about the Jewish community, and it’s time to start taking action.
The first thing you can do is lift the voices of Jewish creators. You can follow me on TikTok @b3cky.dc as well as some of my favorite Jewish TikTokers: @elizaashane, @_levimaxwell, and @thatjewishfeminist.
December 10 is Jewish Creators Day on TikTok. Uplift our voices and interact with our videos so you can learn what antisemitism looks like and be able to call it out when you see it.
Antisemitism doesn’t manifest like other forms of discrimination, and Jewish creators highlight what it looks like when we see it. TikTok is not here to protect us, so we will make sure they hear us.
Following us is not going to end antisemitism, but being aware of what the Jewish community faces and listening to us is a huge step in the right direction. Even reading from the Antidefamation League’s website about how antisemitism manifests is a start.
Once people learn facts, the opportunity arises to fight antisemitism when we see it, and dismantle the system.
Many of my friends have taken information from my page and applied it in their lives, and have consistently had my back in my comment section. That’s an ally.
When a television show or movie is called out for creating characters that follow antisemitic tropes, believe what we are saying.
You can’t claim to be an ally and stay silent when this is what we go through on a daily basis. Calling out antisemites on TikTok isn’t going to end antisemitism, but lifting Jewish voices and listening to us is a step in the right direction.