Subsequent to the 1975 U.N. General Assembly vote to adopt the “Zionism Is Racism,” resolution #3379, other forms of anti-Israel condemnations and angry actions have been forthcoming and gaining strength. It’s as if a brewing “perfect storm” of hate may soon be unleashed against Israel. One of the most heinous tactics is the use of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions. Historically, B.D.S. was initiated and perfected in pre-World War II, Nazi Germany. Then the intent was to marginalize their Jews socially, politically and economically, until they were reduced to poverty and became categorically insignificant. At which point, it led to relatively unopposed state sanctioned elimination, an action that has not gone unrecognized by the most outspoken of today’s generation of organized haters of Israel and Jews.
Within the past 4 years, incidents of Jewish property damage, as well as violence towards pro-Israel groups, have dramatically increased in Europe, as well as on campuses across the United States. Meanwhile, those in charge appear reluctant to proactively intervene against such obviously discriminating and dangerous behavior. Recognizing a potential for eventual deadly encounters, and understanding that the provocateurs do not speak for the majority of Americans; the U.S. Congress initiated the, “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (A.S.A.)” in 2016. Th initiative passed the Senate floor vote, virtually unopposed. Among its key elements, was a codification for “anti-Semitism.” This would hold accountable, those who pursue hate-motivated, repetitive attacks against Jews, Christians, Muslims and other faith-based groups, providing the means for recourse.
With challenges of 1st Amendment Free Speech issues expected, the 2016 A.S.A Act House Hearings, side-tracked this initiative into various committees, until eventually it voided for lack of follow-through, within the designated time period allowed. Score one victory for unopposed purveyors of hate.
In 2018, a successor version of the above A.S.A. Act, H.R. 5924 Initiative, was introduced. This legislation has yet to reach the House Floor for a discussion and vote, for the same potential free speech issues that brought down its predecessor. Score two victories for unopposed purveyors of hate.
Meanwhile, and to minimize allegations of antisemitism, confrontations on campuses morphed into a seemingly more socially acceptable, “anti-Zionism,” political platform. This served to deflect attention away from the often spewed vicious, anti-Semitic rhetoric. In this format, the left-leaning press proved more receptive towards the protestors, especially when Zionism was presented in street theater and hand-outs, as a David verses Goliath struggle; with Israel portrayed as the privileged, but brutal aggressor.
Involvement of Congress might not have been necessary had Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 not limited its list of prohibited forms of discrimination to race, color, and national origin. By not naming religious discrimination, both overt and covert acts of such hate became difficult to effectively confront. This oversight may yet be remediated, and without the necessity of introducing additional laws, by amending Title VI, to include acts of faith-based discrimination. When accomplished, all who suffer such indignities can avail themselves with appropriate legal recourse.
Add to the list of well-intentioned congressional initiatives, the recent “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 (S.1), which much like the 2016 Anti-Semitism Awareness Act successfully passed the bipartisan Senate test. Yet, it too is expected to encounter fierce challenges within the newly elected Democratic controlled House of Representatives due to an included provision intended to curb malicious legal challenges to states and local governments’ right to pass Anti-B.D.S. legislation.
It’s important to make crystal clear that Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions targeting Israel, if not effectively opposed, may contribute to the economic weakness of our only reliable, long-time friend, as well as trusted military Ally in the Middle East. Even with its other well-defined and necessary security provisions, the chances of the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019,”passing a House (if it gets that far) floor vote, may very well be in question. Will this prove to be yet another “potential” victory for unopposed purveyors of hate?
For far too long the rights of dangerous perpetrators appear to trump those of their victims. American society is gradually becoming insensitive to the threats posed by hate-motivated groups who feel empowered to deprive others of their basic rights simply because they can do so.
An unwelcome byproduct of the present day contempt towards Israel and Jews is the heretofore, unexpected enmity connection, shared by Islamic extremists; far right Neo-Nazis and white supremacists; elements within the far left, including some newly elected freshman Democrats; perhaps a Republican or two; and the never ending anti-Israel sanctions spewing from the United Nations. This is a particularly dangerous combination especially when egged on with organized agitation from Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace, American Peace Now, and J-Street; each with an agenda that ironically does not appear to promote peace and justice for Israel and Jews.
Are we entering another dangerous era where attacks against law abiding fellow citizens are proceeding, effectively unchallenged and thereby gaining some level of validation? Although experienced much more so in Europe, hostile perpetrators are also gradually testing the waters in the United States, utilizing the same time-tested tactics, as the earlier 1930’s Nazis regime did when they first began targeting Jews and other minorities.
By employing half-truths, misconceptions, misdirection, organized boycotts, divestment, and sanctions; as well as tactics of group demonizing, delegitimizing and double Standards, it has proven easy to mold frustrated, gullible, already angry individuals into the ranks of existing haters. Unquestioning, they succumb to the steady nefarious propaganda that Israel and anyone who supports Israel (Jews) are the primary cause of discontent, particularly in the Middle East. Although a sophisticated society such as ours should be highly suspicious of hostile group labeling practices and totally intolerant of religious scape-goating, yet too many intelligent individuals shut their eyes and close their minds to what is occurring, until they find themselves on the receiving end of ugly behavior.
Sympathies have been shifting, away from Israel and Jews and towards the economically poorer Middle East Arab and Palestinian populations. Frequently labeled as the “new underdog,” they appear indoctrinated to the belief that they will never succeed, as long as they are oppressed by Israel and its Jews; while adding that violence is an acceptable means to achieve parity. Employing the philosophy of former Nazis leaders Gerbils, Himmler and Guerring: “tell a lie big enough and repeat it often enough and people will start to believe and rely on it. Suppress the truth as it is the mortal enemy of the lie; and construct a visible enemy upon which to focus resentment.”
With President Trump’s recent decision to significantly reduce and eventually eliminate our American presence in war torn, Syria, and expecting our European allies to do the same; Iran’s vow to wipe Israel off the Middle East map becomes more of an existential threat to Israel, especially if the Soviets sit on the sidelines. One can foresee the building of the dreaded “perfect storm” challenging the existing balance of power in the Middle East. The threat is firmly entrenched within the psyche of Hizbullah, in Lebanon; and Hamas, in Gaza; each acquiring a seemingly endless supply of ever more sophisticated missile armament. With the I.R.G.C.’s recent access to billions of dollars, courtesy of the prior American administration, in exchange for hard to verify promises to cease enriching weapons-grade fissionable material, the risk to Israel and to Jews rises; especially as Iran continues perfecting their I.C.B.M. payload delivery systems.
Israel is not going to sit passively by in the face of repeated threats to its people and to their tiny refuge in the Middle East. Possessing nuclear weapons and the means to reciprocate, if ever necessary, and living by the code, “Never Again,” Israel’s enemies would be best served to not write them off.
The memory of the Holocaust and what led up to it is fast fading, yet the same evil that brought it about so many years ago is as much present, today, as it was in pre-WWII Germany. The question on the table remains, are we Jews doomed to face another Holocaust?