Scott Cushing
Former Newspaper Publisher and Editorial Writer

Will you wake up before it is too late?

Has Jew hatred become mainstream and an acceptable form of free speech? Clearly, antisemitism has found a “safe space” in civil society. In fact, blatant Jew hatred has become a protected format for the far left and right as it is shrouded in coded language of anti-Israel, pro BDS, antizionist rhetoric. For those who question the statement, one need only look to current events and happenings right in our own neighborhoods.

Mainstream Jew hatred has indeed taken a very chilling turn for the worst in recent months. Indisputable violent and menacing incidents have become an ordinary news items.

Sadly, media continues to selectively report on the issue. Their participation is characterized by coverage of a press conference by elected officials where words of indignation sound great, but actual reporting is styled through a ten second comment or casual catchphrase. No longer do newscasts report, they sensationalize, mislead, and play into political talk points. That is why it comes as no surprise that an outlet like CNN has come under criticism for a headline regarding Israel’s defensive use of Iron Dome during the Palestinian Jihad’s rocket attack. According to the CNN banner, Iron Dome is an act of aggression.

A cursory inspection of reporting on Jew hatred attacks barely scratches the surface of the reality Jews face. The depth of incidents being under reported is shocking. The result is escalation of harassment of Jews. When there are no reports and arrests, we lay out the welcome mat for hate. Jew hatred will continue unabated and evolve in scale.

Some have recently critiqued that reporting Jew hatred actually promotes it and give “fuel” to the antisemitic fire that blazes. The reality is people’s lives are impacted and put in danger. We must report incidents and shine the light of truth. Law enforcement needs our help. We must stand up and report Jew hatred- in real time.

Proactive action must also be taken. I would offer the following comments. How do we raise the level of consciousness of Jew hatred and antisemitism? How do we mobilize support to attack Jew hatred and its sources? How can we motivate a cooperative system of reporting with law enforcement? Lastly, how can we engage leaders to bring accountability to the issue outside of the obligatory press conference that fades as the days go by.

Reflect, for a moment, incidents of Jew hatred over the last month. A rapper wears a t-shirt with a Nazi swastika performs during the Osheaga music festival. Groups march at a convention in Tampa replete with Nazi flags and signs with antisemitic slogans. Antisemitic fliers on lawns in Nassau County, Long Island neighborhoods. A Virginia school designs t-shirts for teachers with a chilling likeness of a swastika. Trees at Buchenwald concentration camp cut down deliberately. Young followers of white supremacists video target shooting practice for a social media platform proclaiming that “Ben Shapiro you’ve spun your last dreidel.” An Atlanta school district is publicly embarrassed as a redesign of their logo is an essential replica of a Third Reich symbol. A man is beaten on the streets of New York for simply being a Jew. And the list goes on.

Do you see a pattern?

Concisely, Jew hatred is accepted speech. That should be a clarion call to all Jews. It is mainstream in social media spaces. From comments to memes, it has become an effective form of protest and recruitment tool for the far-right and left. I realize my statement will make some uncomfortable. We need to be uncomfortable. Whether we like it or not, Jew hatred is in style and those who should know better would rather look the other way.

It is about time we channel our inner Menachem Begin — no more faint hearts and absolute strength in the face of oppression. We have to get engaged and use every available tool we have in this fight.

For as long as anyone can remember, the sidewalks and community spaces of neighborhoods were the celebrated locations where debates, protests and forums exchanged ideas. Not anymore. Today, the college classroom is a shielded area where Jew hatred has found a cheerful home on many campuses. New York’s CUNY system has been embroiled in a firestorm of controversy for ignoring Antisemitism. So serious were the charges, the New York City Council held a series of hearings to explore and investigate the claims. The star witness to the session was to be the Chancellor who “welcomed” the invitation to discuss the issue.

Unfortunately, once the depth of the charges was revealed to the public, even the Chancellor of CUNY could not even bring himself to the hearing. He was a no-show. What does that say for the halls of higher education where intellectual discourse is promoted?

Where was the outrage? Where are the social media warriors of truth and justice? The answer is it does not fit the narrative of the warriors. It is about Jews.

For quite some time, Jews have looked to our political leaders for a pathway to combat hate. Unfortunately, modern politics does not lend itself to bold action. That is why it is time for individuals to get into the fight. Through social media platforms, voices and votes, Jews must speak loudly and clearly.

There is some good news in the fight as some groups have taken action. Take AIPAC for example. They outfitted a political arm and force whose sole purpose is to support leaders that support Jews and Israel. It is a political Iron Dome and IDF like political paratrooper unit. So far, they have had stunning success in primaries and are marching towards the general election.

That brings me back to all of us. Jews must get off the sidelines and take action. We must report Jew hatred and take action with every available resource we have. While rockets rain down on cities in Israel, Jew hatred rains down in the United States. Wake up Jews, before it is too late.

About the Author
Michael "Scott" Cushing serves as Special Advisor to the Nassau County Executive on the Combating Antisemitism Task Force. He also serves on the Community Advisory Board of Northwell Long Island Jewish Hospital, Valley Stream, New York. Further, he is former Publisher and Editorial writer for the Gateway-Bulletin Newspapers. He served in senior staff positions for the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate for over twenty years. He is active in Israeli and Jewish affairs in Nassau County.
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