Over a century ago, Theodor Herzl sensed impending doom for the Jewish population of Europe after witnessing the Dreyfus Affair in France. In response to this rising tide of anti-Semitism, he published Der Judenstaat, in which argued that the only way Jews would ever be safe was if they returned to the land of Israel and re-established a state of their own. Unfortunately for the Jews of the United States, as World War II taught us, no matter how assimilated we may feel, the world will always see us as Jews.
That is why the defenseless slaughter of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh was not surprising or shocking to many in the Jewish community because we understand one of the worlds ugly truths; that anti-Semitism is omnipresent.
My family lived in the diaspora in Lithuania for well over 500 years, and they were never considered Lithuanians, but rather Litvaks (Jews). Imagine living in America for over 500 years, which pre-dates independence, and still not be regarded as American? Sensing discrimination for Jews is thus reflexive, even if many of us try our best to repress it.
According to FBI statistics, over 54% of religious-based hate crimes last year in America were committed against Jews, far more than any other religious group. To put that in a broader context, not only were there more raw hate crimes committed against Jews than Latinos but when comparing it to hate crimes against African Americans per capita, for Jews it was one incident per 6,385 people, while one incident per 16,554 people for African Americans.
As author and journalist Anshel Pfeffer stated earlier this year: “(Anti-Semitism) is the most ancient hatred which has proved extremely adept in evolving to live in the feverish conspiracy theory marshes of the internet. It’s the template for all hatred towards minorities but also unique in the way it sees Jews as both inferior and all-powerful. Anti-Semitism is both the socialism of fools and the evilest form of nationalism. Which is why those on both the far-left and far-right are particularly susceptible to it.”
Anti-Semitism is thriving amongst the alt-right, who prefer all Jews move back to Israel, and amongst leftists, who prefer all Jews leave Israel. Beyond persecution, the two sides are divided on the solution, but they are both certain of the problem.
While nationalist groups have always been a hotbed of anti-Semitism, its growth on the left is possibly more disturbing. It has grown like cancer in Britain’s Labour party, where an increasing number Jewish party members have recently resigned and where almost 40% of British Jews indicated they would seriously consider leaving the country if Jeremy Corbyn were to become Prime Minister. Similar hostility is now being felt viscerally throughout American liberal circles.
This hostility is partly due to the effectiveness of the intersectionality movement, which intentionally tries to marginalize Jews and redefine them, not as a minority, or as immigrants who largely came to America starting at the turn of the 20th century, but as a dominating power. A people who manipulate American policy, with its elders of Zion pulling strings behind the scene led by a secret cabal of leaders such as George Soros, who just had a bomb sent to his doorstep last week.
While racist and bigoted hatred is seen as the opinions of the unsophisticated, it’s the exact opposite with Anti-Semitism.
As writer Paul Berman stated: “Hatred for the Jews has generally taken the form of a lofty sentiment, instead of a lowly one – a noble feeling embraced by people who believe they stand for the highest and most admirable of moral views.”
The American Jewish community is fooling itself if they think assimilation will cure this ill. We’ve seen this story play out for two millennia, as the objection to the Jew is not religious, but racial and systemic, therefore anti-Semites believe Jews must be persecuted even if baptized.
What happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue should be a call to Jews and their supporters in every walk of life: the movie, media, music, and sports industries; the financial and business sectors; the academics, educators, scientists, innovators in the medical and technological fields; to wake up, speak out, and confront anti-Semitism head on. As we saw in Charlottesville, anti-Semitism is on the march, which is the least surprising thing of all.
– Ari Ingel is an international attorney and foreign policy analyst. Follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/ogaride