Choose Your Poison
Unchallenged Squad, Silent Pols, Depleted Police, Duplicitous Social Media Are Perfect Storm for Antisemitism
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean and global director of its Ed Snider Social Action Institute
What’s more lethal? A Hamas missile. The Squad’s tropes. Pols’ silence. Media’s collusion. Influencers’ ignorance. Twitter’s hypocrisy.
Choose your poison.
There’s a lot of wishful thinking out there that if, please G-d, this cease-fire between Israel and Hamas brokered by Egypt holds for a while, things also will quickly quiet down for Jews in the Diaspora. I, for one, am not so sure.
Of course, the current global pogrom raging against the Jewish people was ignited by the Hamas war but it did not happen spontaneously and won’t just melt away. To cite some of the shocking blows absorbed by our people:
In German cities they chanted “Death to the Jews,” echoing the Nazi era; and in Dusseldorf, today’s Nazis set fire to a memorial to a synagogue burned to the ground on Kristallnacht;
In Austria, 2,500 demonstrators heard this chant: “Jews remember Khayber, the army of Muhammad is returning,” referring to a battle fought in 628 CE between the early Muslims and Jews living in Khaybar on the Arabian Peninsula in which Jews were slaughtered and surrendered;
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went on an anti-Semitic rant that reverberated throughout his country, through the Muslim world and across Europe, in which he said of Jews: “They only are satisfied by sucking blood;”
In Los Angeles, today’s Nazis/pro-Hamas thugs jumped out of a caravan of SUVs while spouting anti-Semitic rants and attacked Jewish people having dinner in the heart of the city;
Also in Los Angeles, the night before, on Shavuot, a Hasidic Jew and father of six had to run for his life to escape anti-Semites pursuing him in vehicles adorned with Palestinian flags;
In New York, a young Jew was badly beaten by pro-Palestinian attackers, sending him to the hospital with a concussion, and Hamas supporters did their dirty work in the heavily Jewish Diamond District of Manhattan;
Even the normally quiet Toronto, Montreal, feels the sting of Jew-hatred and Chicago sees two synagogues attacked.
How did we get from there to here? For years, major American media largely ignored or belittled facts provided annually by the FBI. Every year, way before and even during the COVID-19 pandemic, two truths were confirmed, over and over again: African Americans were the No. 1 target of race-based hate-crimes; and American Jews, comprising less than 2% of the population, were the No. 1 target of religion-based hate crimes.
In 2019, a year before the coronavirus pandemic, 62% of all hate crimes based on religion were against Jews. It is true, that the mass murder of 11 Jews at prayer in Pittsburgh was heavily covered by the media but if it didn’t bleed it didn’t lead and not much was made of desecrations of synagogues during Black Lives Matter-related unrest or arson attacks against Jewish houses of worship from Delaware to Oregon. And despite the continuing physical attacks against religious Jews in New York, anti-Semitism rarely made front page news with the significant exception of The New York Post. While the New York Police Department tried mightily to make a difference, changing winds of woke kept antisemitism off the front burner of the media or the political elite they covered.
Speaking of woke: The media, and many pundits and observers, missed a crucial seminal change in the American political landscape. Not so long ago, debates about the Holy Land focused on east Jerusalem, “occupation,” the fate of the Golan Heights and, of course, the ultimate barrier to the Messianic era – those nefarious Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Only problem was that the 4,000+ terror rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza over 11 days weren’t hurled at any settlements but into Israel’s internationally recognized heartland. Just like that, all the talk of a two-state solution evaporated and instead we have been fed a steady diet of Hamas talking points from The Squad, woke entertainers and social media influencers. Israelis were cast as apartheid apparatchiks and latter-day Nazis. Forget that Israelis didn’t start the fight and that they have been pummeled and dehumanized on social media – music to the ears of Jew-haters across the social and political spectrum, and among Palestinians and their supporters.
And while it is important to acknowledge that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both defended Israel’s right to defend herself, neither took on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Rashida Tlaib’s slanders against the Jewish state.
Finally, we come to the duplicitous role played by social media giants. For years they have told us that fully monitoring, let alone blocking, genocidal anti-Jewish postings is technically unfeasible and, besides, there are First Amendment issues.
Lies. These companies decided in one day to take down a sitting president of the United States but continue to allow Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, the Holocaust-denying, genocide-seeking godfather of terrorism, to continue to spew his hate on Twitter.
And those incendiary, real-time postings of shootings, beatings and maiming of Jews hurl forth online from Melbourne to Toronto, to Chicago to Lod in Israel.
As Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and CEO of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, warned: “History has taught us that we must stop anti-Semitism now in its early, ugly stages or it will escalate and become an accepted norm.”
For world Jewry to stop the scourge of this hatred we need to honestly appraise from where it emanates and fight.
And as the late Simon Wiesenthal himself said: “When we have to battle anti-Semitism in the future, we will need new friends and allies.” This article and many others of great importance can be found on The Media Line. A trusted Middle East News platform.