In the last few days, we have seen disturbing incidents of anti-Semitism daily. Anti-Semitic rioters have been attacking Jews on the street, in restaurants, at business, virtually anywhere and everywhere with no provocation. People have been accosted even if they “looked” Jewish or “acted” Jewish. Some politicians and those in the media have coined a new term to describe this – “visibly Jewish.” What does that even mean?! I suppose if one dresses, acts, or looks like a bigot’s preconception of a Jewish person or lives in a certain neighborhood they are “fair game.” Talk about racial stereotypes! These incidents have been occurring not just in the US but also all over the world.
In the course of researching for this blog I came across one of several websites that track such incidents worldwide. My plan was to feature a few of them as representative examples. I was astounded by the sheer volume of incidents, which required me to revise my plan. It would take a book to discuss all of them. For instance, one of the aforementioned websites called the “Anti-Semitism Monitor” listed hundreds of examples, just in 2021. Moreover, these were not limited to the usual suspect countries, such as Germany, France, or Middle Eastern or predominantly Muslim countries. The website listed many examples in virtually every country, even the US, and not just one or two, but every few days. Most of these incidents “fly under the radar.” Only those that are sufficiently heinous or involve a famous person, such as Tlaib’s inane characterization of Israel as a “racist state,” are reported by the general media.
As we know, anti-Semitism is not new. It is virtually as old as the world, itself. It has always existed, and I believe it always will. Sometimes, it is covert; sometimes, it is overt. But, it is always there, bubbling just below the surface hidden from view, like an inactive volcano. Historically, occasionally, something, such as a war, natural disaster, plague, or economic recession, has occurred to set it off, bring it out into the open. Relatively recent examples of this include, the Spanish Inquisition, the pogroms of Russia, Poland and other Central and Eastern Europe countries, and the rise of Nazi Germany. Jews have always made a handy scapegoat. In fact, some historians have cited the need of a scapegoat as the reason why some rulers tolerated them in the first place. (A bad harvest? Don’t blame me. It’s the Jews.)
It is human nature to distrust and dislike those who are different, and Jews have always been different. Not better or worse, just different. Different religion, different God, different holidays, different customs. I recall an incident in which a woman asked a Jewish acquaintance if she could feel her hair. Why? Well, to feel her horns, of course. This is shocking, but even more so because the incident occurred, not in a third-world country, not in the Middle Ages, but in the 1960s at a college in the US.
So what is happening now to bring anti-Semitism out into the open? Glad you asked. I believe the major factors are as follows:
The conflict in the Middle East between Hamas and Israel.
The anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic bias in the news media.
The overt anti-Semitism exhibited by prominent politicians such as Cortez, Tlaib, and others.
The failure of moderates to speak out against the violence.
The failure of President Biden to exhibit strong leadership. More on that below.
This is exactly the time when Biden, as President, needs to exhibit strong, forceful, unequivocal support for Israel. He needs to condemn, in the strongest possible way, anti-Israeli and anti-Semitism actions. The weak, wishy-washy actions he has taken so far have been pathetically inadequate. Hamas and Israel are not equal in this matter or in any other respect. Putting it as bluntly as I can, Hamas is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. They are not seeking to improve the lives of their supporters. They want to destroy, destroy, destroy. They are an ally of Iran, which is the nexus of all violence in the region. They are supported by Russia and China who are not our friends.
Israel is our staunchest ally in the region, the only one we can, have been and will be able to depend on for support. Hamas has been the aggressor. Israel has been defending itself. Hamas does not want peace; they have consistently denied Israel’s very right to exist. Israel is seeking peaceful co-existence. Hamas fighters launch their missiles from schools, places of worship, and other “civilian” venues in hopes that a counterattack will result in casualties that evoke sympathy. Israel tries its best to avoid civilian casualties. Let’s face it. Israel has shown great restraint. If they wanted to they could wipe out Hamas in hours.
Biden needs to exhibit strong leadership domestically by reining in the far left, anti-Semitic members of the Dem Party and his own White House staff. He needs to tell them in no uncertain words to tone down the rhetoric. His failure to do so serves no purpose except to embolden those who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes and incite violence. In my opinion, his failure to act is directly responsible for the current rash of anti-Semitic attacks we are now seeing. They will not stop until he speaks out.
All that said, I believe his failure to act decisively in this matter is wholly consistent with his other actions and non-actions as president as I described in my most recent blog. I wonder when Biden voters, particularly moderate Hispanics, Blacks and Jews, will realize they were “duped.” The moderate Joe Biden they thought they were voting for is long gone.
I hope the country we know and love can survive until 2024.