Antisemitism is Now Very Real
Closing ThoughtsOpinion

Antisemitism is Now Very Real

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol helped to support the Hamas attack on Israel.

Allen H. Lipis
Allen H. Lipis

Antisemitism has been a continuing problem for Jews since the days of Jesus. People don’t like us and over the course of history we have been attacked in words and in deeds again and again. We were killed for being Jewish by the Romans, by the Spanish Inquisition, by the Egyptians, and by Hitler to name just a few, because we were different, we were too powerful, we were too successful and for other reasons. Some people are probably jealous of us.

Many of us Jews thought that it was different in the United States, that it couldn’t possibly happen here, but it is happening here right now. Antisemitism is moving out of the shadows into the mainstream, and we should be worried and acting to prevent the worst from happening.

Antisemitism became very public with the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. That attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on the truth that Joe Biden won the election, and on the very values this country was founded on: the rule of law, all men are created equal, and freedom. These are the hallmarks of our country. Conservatives, including some judges on the Supreme Court, argue for interpreting the law based on what the original colonists valued in 1776. That belief often translates into a view that this country should be run by a different set of values: let white Christian men run the country. Women, Blacks, Jews, and others do not deserve the power to run the Federal or state governments.

The attack on the Capitol is viewed by MAGA Republicans that it was an attempt to take power back for white Christian men. It didn’t matter if Biden won, Trump needed to stay in power to support the Conservative point of view, even if it undermined the rule of law, democracy, and freedom. That view believes that the voting public does not decide who should be in power.

As a result, antisemitism became very public because it is allied with the conservative point of view of supporting white power. The attack on the Capitol makes Jews more vulnerable to antisemitism because we are viewed by MAGA Conservatives as too powerful, too influential. The evidence from the press indicates that antisemitism is indeed on the rise. It is why we have begun to put serious security in place for our schools, our synagogues, and for Jewish events.

It is not far-fetched to see that Hamas saw the Jews in the U.S. as vulnerable, that Trump is working to overturn the rule of law, moving the U.S. toward a dictatorship. Hamas must have thought that Trumpism will undermine the power of Jews in the U.S., so why can’t Hamas do this against Israel? If the U.S. is vulnerable, then so is Israel, and we, Hamas argued, can make Israel vulnerable. It is not unreasonable to believe that the U.S. insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, influenced the attack on Israel by Hamas a short while later on Oct. 7, 2023.

Antisemitism in the U.S. has become Anti-Zionism in the Middle East, and they are related by Conservatives in this country, though they shouldn’t be. They are related if you believe Jews have too much power in the U.S., and Israel has too much power in the Middle East.

Israel has the power to defend itself against Hamas and others that want to kill Israelis and destroy Israel. In the same way, we Jews in America need to implement whatever power we have to defend against antisemitism in this country. Just as Israel appears vulnerable, so too are we vulnerable to antisemitism here. It is not enough to build security for our Jewish institutions. We need to be on the offensive, making antisemitism a crime nationwide, as we have just done in the State of Georgia. We need to place antisemitism in the same category as defending the rule of law, democracy and freedom, the principles that this country has built its framework on.

It is not enough to be on the defensive alone. We need to be on the offensive, calling out antisemitism wherever it occurs. We are vulnerable and we need to take action not as militaristic as Israel, but with public outcries, demands for public support, and legal action. We have to do more than talk about it; we need to defend against it. We are once again vulnerable. If you value your way of life in this country, then do something to support your way of life.

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