Anti-Semitism on the Rise

Anti-Semitism on the Rise

“It’s not exactly a good sign that we seem to be in a growth industry.”- Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

Jack Bernard

“It’s not exactly a good sign that we seem to be in a growth industry.”- Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

As noted in this publication, eviction notices were placed on the Emory University dormitory doors of students who are Jewish (and possibly some others). The fake notice was designed to mock the eviction of Palestinians from their land. Amazingly, the people doing this had a permit from Emory, although it did not give permission to zero in on Jewish student’s residences. Apparently, anti-Semitism is acceptable university policy.

I’m personally 100 percent against the Israeli settlement effort. An equitable two-state solution is the only feasible strategy to resolve the conflict. But, dislike of Netanyahu’s extremist policies doesn’t justify university-sanctioned anti-Semitism at Emory, which is now spreading to actions against traditional Jewish organizations like Hillel. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

After the recent Pittsburg shooting, the worst in American Jewish history, I’m concerned with rising anti-Semitism in the USA. All caring American should be, regardless of your religious affiliation.

The ADL keeps up with these trends domestically. The ADL found that Jews were under attack, with a 60 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents from 2016 to 2017. Some of the over 2,000 incidents were very serious, including 163 bomb threats directed toward Jewish institutions.

FBI statistics paint a similar picture. Per the FBI, whose database under-reports crimes due to victim hesitancy to report, there were over 8,000 hate crimes in 2017, with 21 percent based on religion. Five-eight percent of those 1,679 “religious bias” offenses were anti-Jewish.

Anti-Semitism has also infected the political world. The recent anti-Semitic code words used by Rep. Omar (D) show a disturbing trend on the left to imply that Jews are more loyal to a foreign country than the USA and are using their money to buy pro-Israel politicians. The fact that Majority Leader Pelosi pulled back from a specific declaration condemning anti-Semitism is just as concerning, especially after the House rightly censored conservative Rep. Steven King (R) for his bigoted remarks not long ago.

Likewise, the fact that conservative Rep. Steve Scalise (R) of Louisiana is in a position of leadership in the GOP is troubling. Scalise spoke to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, founded by white power advocate David Duke. According to a reporter, Scalise: “told me he was like David Duke without the baggage.”

Overseas, the situation is much, much worse. France has Europe’s largest Jewish community. (My paternal grandparents and father emigrated from there, avoiding the Holocaust.) Per President Macron, there has been a “resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II.”

Specifically, there has been a tremendous 74 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 versus 2017. Frankly, 541 incidents are 541 incidents too many for a country known for having many Nazi collaborators during World War II.

Britain’s Labour Party has been the traditional home for Jews. But in the last election, only 13 percent of the small British Jewish community voted for Labour. Why? Jeremy Corbyn is now the party leader, the same guy who calls the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends.”

As for Muslim nations, the situation is much worse. Persecution drove most Jews out of the Arab nations that had been their homes for a millennium (Jerry Seinfeld’s Syrian mother was one of them). The Tunisian/Jewish writer Albert Memmi has documented this in his many writings. The few Jews who remained were second-class citizens and persecuted.

We hear a lot about the current Israeli government’s mistreatment of Palestinians, some of which has a factual basis. But nothing about anti-Semitism in the Muslim world. The Arab press and governments share responsibility for promoting hatred toward Jews and Israel.

The ADL reported in its 2014 survey that an incredible 74 percent of people in Middle Eastern Muslim nations agreed with the majority of the 11 anti-Semitic tropes, including Jews being responsible for most of the world’s wars. A 2008 Pew survey found much the same thing, even in our supposed ally Jordan (96 percent negative about Jews).

The point is that bigots are all around us. Patriotic Americans, left and right, must call them out, condemning both their harmful words and deeds. And, that includes specifically recognizing and fighting anti-Semitism at Emory.

Jack Bernard is the former chairman of the Jasper County Republican Party who lives in  Peachtree City.

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