Andrew Getraer
Andrew Getraer
American, Zionist, Husband, Father, Idealist, Skeptic.

The Global Pogrom

The last few weeks have been exhausting and terrifying for Jews everywhere. We are filled with anxiety and fear surrounding the military conflict between Hamas and Israel, during which 60% of the Israeli population was forced to seek refuge in bomb shelters.  We are shaken by the shocking internal violence between Israeli Arabs and Jews. But there is another phenomenon that has emerged, just as troubling and with enormous implications for the future of the Jewish Diaspora. I am referring to the global Jewish pogrom which has erupted in response to events in Israel.

Jews worldwide feel under attack as anti-Israel protests in Europe, Canada, and America have yielded mini-pogroms, with synagogues vandalized and Jews assaulted. This happens whenever Israel is being targeted – Jews everywhere become a target, too.  Which only underscores the truth that anti-Zionism IS antisemitism.
But this time feels different. The level of anti-Jewish violence has increased. The torrent of hatred spewing from social media is unprecedented. And the lack of support from the media, political leaders, celebrity influencers, and even friends, has been chilling.
A few examples from around the world. First, Europe.
A rabbi in London was beaten following a protest at which the mob shouted “F*ck the Jews, Rape their Daughters!”

Palestinian activists have run down Jews with cars.

In London, Belgium, and elsewhere, mobs have been chanting “Khaybar Khaybar, ya Yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa Yahud!” This is Arabic for “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning!” and refers to the battle in 628 CE when followers of Muhammad massacred Jews. https://twitter.com/i/status/1393564099729051648
In Germany, dozens of men in multiple cities have been arrested for vandalizing synagogues and Holocaust memorials. https://www.reuters.com/world/germany-detains-suspects-stoning-synagogue-burning-israeli-flags-2021-05-12/
And what’s a pro-Palestine protest without a giant hook-nosed, Satanic-eyed, horned Jew? Protests such as this literally demonize all Jews one evil entity. These are not human rights activists. Note the signs: the Freedom for Palestine crowd are also Socialist Workers. Workers of the world unite! – against the Jews, I guess.
ImageAnd now the protests and pogroms have come to America.
This week visibly identifiable Jews in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of LA were attacked in the streets and Jews eating outdoors at a sushi restaurant in the Beverly Grove district were attacked by Palestinian activists.Police Investigate Possible Jewish Hate Crime Attack At Beverly Grove Restaurant Witnesses said a mob of pro-Palestinians attacked a group of Jewish men who were dining at the restaurant. https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/05/19/police-investigate-possible-jewish-hate-crime-attack-at-beverly-grove-restaurant/
This follows MONTHS of assaults on Jews in NYC, attacks which were cravenly ignored by city’s political leadership; the antisemitic murder last year of Jews in Jersey City, Pittsburgh, and Poway, California; and the Chanukah night machete attack on Jews in Monsey, New York.
And that’s not even the scariest part.
The torrent of hatred spewing forth from the online world is unprecedented. It has become a social media pogrom. Here’s a fairly mild example – no swearing, no slurs, no images of Jewish corpses. Just…Hitler. Btw, this instagram post is from a student govt leader at Baruch College in Manhattan. ImageEven more than my generation, young Jews, natives of the digital universe, are overwhelmed emotionally, psychologically, and numerically. How do you cope in a world where just going on Instagram, Tik Tok, or Twitter means being told you are baby killing, colonialist, settler, Nazi, White Supremacist whose family should have been killed by Hitler, but someone else is ready to finish the job?  And what if that post has 2 MILLION likes? 
Sadly, as Jews face this explosion of physical violence, threats, and dehumanization, few allies, political leaders or influencers have spoken out on our behalf.
Perhaps this is out of ignorance – they’re simply unaware that these things are happening. Or perhaps out of fear – the virtual or real mob could come for them next. Or perhaps out of indifference –  the guardians of wokeness have told us that antisemitism is not ‘systemic’ and therefore not significant compared to other forms of hatred and prejudice.
Or perhaps it is worse than that. Worse than we want to believe.
Perhaps a large number of our neighbors and fellow citizens simply believe the libelous narrative that Israel is a Nazi, colonial, settler, apartheid state bent on genocide and, therefore, Jews (cynically reframed as ‘Zionists’)  deserve whatever happens to us.  This was clearly the attitude of the British Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn, who called Hamas leaders his friends. This week the comments and reactions from his ideological peers in the halls of the US Congress smell deeply of Corbynism.
I finish with a plea. Actually, a series of pleas.
To my fellow Jews, though our People are deeply divided in so many ways, religiously, politically, and socially, antisemites provide a cold reminder that we share a common fate. Only by uniting to support each other will we get through these trying times, as our Israeli brothers and sisters have done for 100 years, as our ancestors did before us, across Europe and the Muslim world, in all the lands of our dispersion.
To those who support Israel, a flawed but vibrant democracy, American ally, and the only Jewish majority nation in the world, we need to hear your support, out loud, and in public. Now.
To those who are horrified by the rise of vicious antisemitism on the Right and the Left, who are shocked by attacks on Jews in America and Europe, your Jewish friends need you speak up. We’re shocked by the present and afraid of what the future could hold – and you should be, too.
And to those sincerely motivated by your commitment to social justice to condemn, protest, and make defamatory posts against Israel…fine. But please express yourself responsibly. Because the mobs calling for the rape and murder of Jews, the monsters who are assaulting Jews in the streets – these are your peers and their actions put Jewish lives at risk. Because if you can’t separate from them, if that’s your idea of social justice and human rights, heaven help us all.
About the Author
Andrew Getraer is the executive director of Rutgers Hillel, serving the largest Jewish undergraduate population in America and overseeing the largest Hillel facility in the country. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
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