The Anti-Semitic Wave & U.S. Elections

With the national midterm elections now over in the United States, there are thousands of stories from all the results. There were 35 U.S. Senator elections, all 435 House of Representative elections, as well as many governorships, state senate and assembly races. While there are many stories from these elections, one of the most negative ones I am seeing is that anti-Semitism is becoming more mainstream.

We know what recently took place in Pittsburgh. Dealing with white nationalists has been a struggle for a long time. However, they are not the only threat to Jews (and Americans) contrary to the opinion of Don Lemon. They might not be the biggest threat to Jews either. According to Ben Shapiro, there are 3 types of antisemitism. The three are left wing, right wing (white nationalist/neo-Nazi) and radical Muslim anti-Semitism. While liberals and most conservatives recognize the threats and hatefulness of right-wing antisemitism, many liberals do not often call out or recognize the other two types. We can see examples of this from the midterm elections. While it is being widely reported that the first two Muslim congresswomen ever were elected yesterday, it is not being reported that some of their views, namely on Israel, lean towards anti-Semitism. One of the women, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted out in November 2012 “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Earlier this year she posted a tweet saying how Israel is an “apartheid regime”. These views are not those of someone very friendly towards Israel, and with such harsh language used, not likely to be favorable to Jews around the world.

The other Muslim woman just elected to Congress, Rashida Tlaib, also happens to be the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. She has supported the BDS movement and claimed to support a one state solution. A one state solution means all the residents of Palestinian territories and Israel together, which all but eventually ends the country being a majority Jewish; therefore ending the Jewish country.

The Democratic Socialists of America endorse the BDS movement. One of their top role models and leaders, Bernie Sanders, was just reelected to the US Senate overwhelmingly. Other party stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was just elected to the House (although she has never openly endorsed BDS, she does hang with Linda Sarsour). With democratic socialists and other anti-Israel politicians entering the US government, how far will this go before being rebuked by liberals and especially liberal Jews around the US?

Another former Congressman, Keith Ellison, was just elected attorney general of Minnesota. Ellison is close with open anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan (the guy who in the past few weeks has called Jews termites and chanted death to Jews with Iranians). Farrakhan is not scared of showing how anti-Semitic he is, yet he remains a popular figure among democrats. Last month he shared a stage with former president Bill Clinton at a funeral.

Last week, of all newspapers the New York Times published a piece about is it safe being Jewish in New York. The piece mentions, “During the past 22 months, not one person caught or identified as the aggressor in an anti-Semitic hate crime has been associated with a far right-wing group.” Just this year there were 142 crimes motivated by bias against Jews in New York. If these crimes didn’t come from the far right, where did they come from? Well, they came from various groups of people including the left. A few days ago, police arrested a man for graffitiing ‘Die Jew Rats’ amongst other things on a Brooklyn synagogue. He was also charged with setting arson fires in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, including one at a Jewish banquet hall. The man happens to be a former Obama volunteer and anti-hate crime intern in New York. While it is reported he has mental illness problems, that does not excuse his behavior. Similarly, when white nationalists have mental illnesses and commit hate crimes, we should not excuse their behavior.

My overall point is that Jews in New York and across the United States should recognize and fear not only right-wing anti-Semites, but anti-Semites of all ideologies and backgrounds. The commonality is that many people hate Jews, and most of them hate Jews for irrational reasons. In the past couple weeks many American Jews have suddenly woken up and realized anti-Semitism still exists. It does exist and has always existed. While the mass shooting in Pittsburgh was a brutal atrocity, it is not the only anti-Semitic attack that the US has ever seen. American Jews and non-Jews alike should call out all anti-Semites around the country regardless of them being right wing or left wing, black or white, Muslim, Christian or even Jewish. I hope one day hatred of Jews around the world is wiped out completely. Until then we must call it out when we see it and try to eradicate those who wish to do us harm.

About the Author
Zander Wold is a Jew from Los Angeles currently living in Haifa.
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