The famous playwright and filmmaker Jemima Goldsmith is striving to raise awareness of antisemitism and Islamophobia. A recent X post criticized the binary paradigm of being “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestine,” emphasizing the need for a more holistic approach.
Jemima tweeted, “I don’t like the labels ‘pro-Israel’ or ‘pro-Palestine,’ which imply a binary option. You can support Israel’s safety and Palestinian independence. These two things are interdependent and mutually inclusive.”
Jemima also tackled antisemitism and Islamophobia in a recent Independent essay. The title was “I have a Muslim and Jewish family; I want to talk about antisemitism and Islamophobia.” Jemima described how her Jewish status was used to undermine her ex-husband, Imran Khan, in Pakistan. She showed that opposing politicians and partisan media invented Zionist conspiracy theories, resulting in decades of threats, violence, and a botched assassination. Khan showed the dangers of prejudice and politics and the real-world effects of discrimination.
“Antisemitism is on the rise everywhere, and it is terrifying for Jewish people,” Jemima wrote. Muslim groups also have an underreported antisemitism problem. I personally experienced having my Jewishness exploited against my ex-husband Imran Khan in Pakistan, where Zionist conspiracy theories were invented and opposition politicians and media fueled rage.
The article continues, “Decades of death threats, rape, and abuse against me and my children persist now. Though we divorced, Imran attempted an assassination attempt last year. In his confessional video, the would-be assassin said the killing was motivated by Imran’s ‘support of Israel.'”
Using “Zionism” and “Islamism,” Jemima said they are “used by bigots as a fig leaf to express what is, in fact, prejudice against Jews or Muslims as a group.” She recognized that antisemitism is sometimes used to silence Israeli government criticism. She defended criticizing Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic.
Others have exploited accusations of antisemitism to silence criticism of the Israeli government. Like criticizing Pakistan’s leadership without being Islamophobic, people should be able to criticize Israel’s activities in Gaza without being called antisemitic. Allowing anybody who criticizes Israel to be dubbed ‘antisemitic’ makes it easier to ignore antisemitism, which diminishes a serious and virulent problem. “Read her article.
The former Pakistani prime minister’s ex-wife noted, “Muslim hatred is also on the rise.” She wrote, “It impacts many people I love, especially my children. In recent weeks, three Palestinian students were shot, a six-year-old kid was stabbed to death, and his mother was injured in the US due to their Muslim identity. Trump may reinstate his Muslim ban if he becomes president again, and far-right parties with anti-Muslim agendas are winning European elections for the first time.”
She said, “And just as I have seen a reluctance on the part of some Muslim friends to recognize when antipathy to Israeli policy has become indistinguishable from broader attacks on Israelis or Jews, I have also witnessed a similar unwillingness amongst some of my Jewish friends to accept that Islamophobia is a real thing.”
Jemima saw “selective outrage” on both sides, as people felt reluctant to reject bigotry in their own communities. “This selective outrage and selective failure to be outraged are evident to me on both sides,” she wrote. “It is a measure of the depth of their ideological intransigence, tribal myopia, and fear, inflamed by social media algorithms and reckless discourse, that so many intelligent and typically empathic people have been incapable of grasping the simple truth: that you can oppose both rising antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.”
She added, “You may be appalled by Hamas’ Israeli atrocity and denounce Israel’s murdering of thousands of innocent Palestinians. This war has blinded both sides to each other’s pain and terror.” Jemima concluded by encouraging people to “step outside their tribes, put down their flags, and come together at our vigil, led by Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones in this conflict.”