Jews are under attack across the world

It’s time to speak out against rising antisemitism (nytimes.com).

While Israelis hunkered down in bomb shelters to avoid Hamas’s missiles, Diaspora Jews encountered an antisemitic storm. The sort of antisemitic chants, threats, and attacks Jews have become accustomed to seeing in Europe went global. 

Anti-Zionist fueled antisemitism has very clearly migrated to the New World. At a Toronto rally, “pro-Palestinian protestors beat a Jewish elderly man and assaulted a young Jewish woman.” Montreal saw “rocks being launched against peaceful pro Israel demonstrators and #antisemitic slurs being yelled at them.” 

Things aren’t much rosier in the United States. 

Someone “smashed a window” at a Skokie, Illinois, synagogue and “left a flag and a pro-Palestine sign outside.” Radio host Jason Rantz reported that he was not the only Jew assaulted at a Seattle protest. A van flying a Palestinian flag and marked “Hitler was right” on its side “kept circling” a pro-Israel rally in Boca Raton, Florida. In Bal Harbour, Florida, people screamed at a Jewish family, “F*** you Jew, ‘Die Jew…’ and even threatened to rape the women in the group.”

The New York Police Department had to accompany a bloodied Jewish man to a nearby store after he was chased by pro-Palestinian protesters in Manhattan. They had to assist again when two Hebrew-speaking men faced dozens of hostile pro-Palestinian protesters. “‘Pro-Palestine’ rioters then storm[ed] NYC’s Diamond District—one of its most visible Jewish landmarks—scream[ed] ‘F*** Zionists,’ rough[ed] up Jews, and hurl[ed] a large firework at a Jewish shop.” 

In Los Angeles, an Orthodox Jew was filmed being chased by two cars with Palestinian flags. A pro-Palestinian caravan drove through a Jewish neighborhood, yelling, “F*** the Jews” and “dirty Jews,” with approximately 30 men asking who was Jewish, before attacking a handful of Persian Jews. In a third incident, “a pro-Palestinian convoy stopp[ed] and harass[ed] homes with Mezuzahs in Beverly Hills.” 

The above list is lengthy, and yet, it’s not exhaustive.

Ellie Cohanim, the former deputy special envoy to combat antisemitism, told me that “while these pro-Palestinian supporters may have issues with what’s happening in Israel and the Middle East, they are engaging in classic antisemitism by venting their anger at individual Jews and Jewish institutions.” 

There’s no small amount of anger being vented. But why is it spilling out so brutally against innocent people? 

One reason is that prominent public officials have irresponsibly fanned the flames of resentment. Rep. Rashida Tlaib accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” from her official House Twitter account. Rep. Ilhan Omar recently tweeted that Israel was guilty of “terrorism” and slammed Israel for “blatant crimes against humanity and human rights abuses” on the House floor. Nine liberal colleagues joined them in delivering an hour’s worth of remarks that the Jerusalem Post called “sharply critical of Israel.” 

Plenty of protesters may initially be drawn to the notion of supporting Palestinian civilians. However, these gatherings carry a strong current of violent antisemitism. At one event, a British man called for jihad on “the Zionist entity” while someone waved a jihadist flag behind him. Hezbollah’s flag appeared at rallies in Sydney and New York City. A marcher sported a Hamas headband in Queens, New York. A Nazi flag appearedat London, Ontario’s protest. And protesters wore Saddam Hussein T-shirts and carried an Iranian IRGC flag in London, England. 

There is a clear and troubling pattern of antisemitic harassment and violence happening either at these rallies or following closely afterward. Most liberals won’t police these harms because they believe that unlike other prejudices, antisemitism “punches up.” 

We should demand more leadership against these injustices. Law enforcement should prosecute antisemitic hate crimes to the fullest extent possible under the law. American Jews must think seriously about personal security. Other Americans should educate themselves about antisemitism so that they can better recognize and help combat it. 

In an email, Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory and the author of Antisemitism: Here and Now, described recent events as “deeply disturbing developments.” Lipstadt added, “I just watched a video of Jews being beaten up on the street by Palestinian protesters. If things such as this multiply, it will be very bad. I am very worried.”

This article appeared in the Washington Examiner.

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