The rash of anti-Semitic incidents in New York is alarming. Worse yet, it is spreading. It did not start in New Yrk City. This modern wave of anti-Semitism in the US has been centered on our university campuses. Now it has metastasized. For years now, Jewish students have felt under threat on our campuses because of the tension over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The pro-Palestinian forces, backed by pro-Arab, anti-Israel faculty (some themselves Jewish), have succeeded in making that far away conflict one of the top hot button issues on campuses around North America, just as in Europe.
Now it it has spread out into the communities, sparked in no small part by the anti-Jewish ravings of so-called leaders like Louis Farrakhan, and sparked in no small part by radical Islamic preachers in US mosques. In the greater New York City area, Jews are now afraid to walk the streets and with good reason. They are getting it from all sides, left-right, black-white, Muslim and on and on.
Just a few years ago people like me were wracking our heads trying to get the message out to the larger communities about what was happening on our campuses to our Jewish students. We were met with denial even from large Jewish organizations like the ADL, the Jewish Federation, and Hillel.
But now it is out there for all to see. And now we are all pointing fingers at each other as to whom is to blame. Typical political horse manure.
But to my point: We have a president (mo matter what you think of him) who is sympathetic to Israel and the Jewish peope. Forget the vicious charges of anti-Semitism levied at President Trump. They are garbage. On this issue, he is on our side. (Full disclosure: When it comes to most issues, I am in agreement with Trump.)
President Trump has a unique opportunity to do something major and significant. It is great that he has moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It is fantastic that he has cut off aid to the corrupt Palestinians. It is great that he has put our universities on notice that they may lose federal funding if they allow Jewish students to be bullied. He must, however, do more to address what is happening right here at home. What should he do? He should use the law to crack down on the perpetrators of these attacks even if most of the crimes are state crimes. Agencies like the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the US Attorney’s office can assist. In addition, he should use the bully pulpit. What I would like to see the President do is make a national TV address to the nation on the problem of anti-Semitism. True, there are many -isms out there that deserve attention, but this particular one is getting out of hand and threatens to explode. We cannot allow our Jews to suffer the same attacks and indignities that Jews in Europe are suffering now. History tells us where this leads, and yes, it could happen again.
So Mr President, please speak to the nation. Let the thugs and the Jew haters know that we stand with our Jewish citizens and will protect them. Let them know that we will devote our law enforcement resources to catching them and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law. Encourage our religious and civic leaders to get involved in fighting this, the oldest hate in the world, which is rising again world-wide. Mr President, set an example for those feckless European leaders who are wringing their hands while Jews pack up and leave the countries where they have always lived because it is no longer safe. Finally, without singling out immigrants in general, the President should inform recent immigrants and would be immigrants that if they hold anti-Semitic beliefs, those beliefs are not welcome here.
President Trump has a unique opportunity and a responsibility to lead the way on this issue for the good. I hope he takes it.