Another Problem in 2020 – Anti-Semitism

Another Problem in 2020 – Anti-Semitism

© David Burton 2020

Jewish Eagle

NOTE: Bold text in directly quoted material indicates my emphasis and not by the originators of the quotations.

     2020 will long be remembered as the year of the Corona virus and the death of an unarmed Black at the hands of a white police officer. The Corona virus pandemic is undoubtedly the biggest problem of the year and, subsequent to the death of George Floyd, much has been said and done about the problem of latent racism in America in 2020. But, we need to raise another issue this year - anti-Semitism. Some may justifiably ask: Has anti-Semitism in America become a bigger problem than the the death of an unarmed Black at the hands of a white policeman?

     “Last year {2019} saw the most anti-Semitic incidents in the United States since at least 1979, according to the Anti-Defamation League {ADL}.
     “The 2,107 incidents recorded in 2019 reflect a 12% increase from 2018 and are more than double the 942 incidents recorded just four years earlier, in 2015. It’s the highest number recorded by the ADL since it began tallying incidents in 1979.
     “Aside from a small dip in total incidents in 2018, the ADL’s annual statistics show that anti-Semitism in the United States has been on a steady climb for much of the past decade.(Ref. 1)

     Now, in 2020, the problem of anti-Semitism in the United States is only worsening with vituperative tirades against Jews and Israel coming from: the Black Lives Matter movement, radical Islam-supporting politicians, Black athletes and celebrities, far right extremists, Neo-Nazis, and even from left-leaning liberal elitists.

     “Last year saw a number of high-profile anti-Semitic incidents. In April, a gunman killed one person and wounded three in a synagogue shooting in Poway, California. In December, two shooters killed four people, including two Jews, in an attack that ended at a Jersey City kosher supermarket. Eighteen days later, an attacker killed one person and wounded four in a stabbing at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York. {Why was there no Jewish Lives Matter movement as a consequence?}
     “The year also saw a stream of anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn, mostly targeting Orthodox Jews. Earlier in the year, and in a different arena, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar made comments widely condemned as anti-Semitic. . . .
      - - -
     “A recently released study by the ADL found that the majority of American Jews have witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism in the past five years. Nearly two-thirds said they’re less safe than they were a decade ago.”
      - - -
     “Last year saw a rise in anti-Semitic physical assaults, to 61 from 39, as well as a 19% increase in acts of anti-Semitic vandalism and a 6% increase in ant-Semitic harassment. The 1,127 incidents of harassment made up more than half the total number of incidents in the report, which also tallied 919 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism, including 746 involving a swastika.
     “2019 is the latest in a string of years when American Jews suffered an attack . . . The previous year included the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, in which 11 Jews at prayer were killed. In 2017, at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, one person was killed and neo-Nazis chanted anti-Semitic slogans.
     “In 2019, New York City was hit especially hard: More than half of the year’s 61 anti-Semitic physical assaults took place in the five boroughs. Brooklyn felt the brunt with 25, more than a third of the total.
     “New York state experienced a total of 430 anti-Semitic incidents, the most of any state and a fifth of the total. The state is home to more than one-fifth of American Jews.” (Ref. 1)

     Anti-Semitic hate crimes have been rising at an alarming pace. In May of 2020, “as protests raged across our nation, Los Angeles experienced an explosion in antisemitism as kosher stores and synagogues were vandalized, looted, and burned.
     “The same has happened in cities across America as antisemitic incidents are sadly becoming more commonplace around the United States.
     “The problem is, instead of the Left condemning and strongly opposing these attacks, antisemitism has found a home in the Democratic Party and has become a shameful problem that the Left must confront.
     “Outright antisemitic statements from Democratic members of Congress have either been ignored or dismissed by party leaders and even if it is condemned no action is taken. The lack of action will doubtless lead to a rise in antisemitism in the party if Democrats continue to avoid the underlying problem. Politicians who spout any kind of antisemitic rhetoric must be shunned by both parties or else it slowly becomes accepted and normalized when party politics become more important than rejecting antisemitic hatred.
     “Democrat representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have both come under fire during their first term in office for prejudice towards Israel, support of the BDS movement, and outright antisemitic comments.
     “Early on in her time in office, Ilhan Omar portrayed American supporters of Israel as having been bought off by Jews . . .
      - - -
     " ‘The Democratic Party failed to condemn antisemitism, and that failure sent a message which Omar and Tlaib heard quite clearly. They were given a free pass to traffic in and promote antisemitism. ’ . . .
     " ‘The Rubicon has been crossed. One of the two major political parties in this country is openly accepting of antisemites in its midst. . . .
     “The outright hypocrisy from the Left when it comes to antisemitism is also outright alarming.
     “In June, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees . . . said that he ‘will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.’ He came under unbelievable criticism for these comments as teammates and the media alike slammed him for ‘insensitive remarks’ causing him to retract his comments several days later.
     “However, recently, openly antisemitic quotes attributed to Hitler and Louis Farrakhan posted on Instagram by Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson, not only received far less backlash but were also defended on live television and by teammates.
     “Teammate . . . not only defended Jackson, but he also defended one of the most notorious antisemitic speakers in the world, calling Louis Farrakhan ‘honorable’ in response to Desean Jackson's post.
      - - -
     “Why is it okay to rip a player for respecting our flag . . . and then just weeks later downplay antisemitism and say that it's not important? You can’t condemn one type of hate while accepting or downplaying another.
     " ‘Silence is compliance.’ That’s a popular sentence today. But you can’t be selective with your noise. Not against hate. For all the bigoted garbage stirred up against Jews last week, it was disturbingly quiet out there. We should think twice about why that is.
     “Where is the outrage from the media over this? Where are the teammates coming out to slam these vile and disgusting comments? Where is the mass outrage from the NFL? Where is the cancel culture mob who so viciously attacked Drew Brees just weeks ago? The double standard when it comes to antisemitism versus other types of hatred is glaringly obvious and equally atrocious.
     “Apparently to the Left, it is not that big of a deal to post outright antisemitic images online, but when you support our flag, our country, and the people who died for it, that is unacceptable, hateful, and insensitive.
     “The BLM movement also has deep roots of antisemitism in their organization. At anti-racism protests around the country, antisemitic chants and signs were seen and heard as antisemitism was a major theme in many of their protests.
     ”In Washington DC, black lives matter protesters marched while chanting ‘Israel we know you, you murder children too’ . . . This is happening and is a common occurrence at Black Lives Matter protests across the country . . .
     “An organization that's stated goals are to fight bigotry and hatred, has been hijacked by antisemites spewing just the kind of hate they claim to fight, and for the most part, the leaders of the BLM movement are silent.
     “This applies to all those Democrat leaders who also support the BLM movement without calling out the vicious antisemitic roots embedded in the organization.
     “As the Democratic Party continues to lurch to the Left, they have a growing antisemitism problem which is no longer subtle. Although some Democrats have come out and condemned the antisemitism in the party, as long as they refuse to take action to eradicate it, it will continue to fester and grow. The Democratic Party must show commitment to stand against all forms of hatred, not just the ones that benefit them politically.” (Ref. 2)

     Anti-Semitic incidents based in the Black community have been on the rise in the U.S. despite a long history of allyship between the Jewish and Black communities. But in recent years, there has been a sea-change. There have been several high-profile incidents of Black athletes and entertainers making anti-Semitic remarks.

     “Often, we discuss conspiracy theories as if they are kooky yet benign tales spun by our neighbors, acquaintances, and even friends. But in America’s current political and cultural configuration, prejudice combined with ignorance often masquerades as legitimate thought and leads to devastating outcomes . . . And in a society marked by incessant high-speed information and spin, anecdotal and instinctual bias becomes the basis of bad-faith arguments about free speech and a ‘marketplace of ideas.’ As much as social media has brought us smart thinking by typically marginalized voices, it’s also allowed careless people with big platforms to speak more loudly - and without the immediate intervention of the wiser and better-informed people who may (or may not) surround them.
     “Recently, big-name Black entertainers . . . and even beloved Black author Alice Walker, have spouted age-old anti-Semitic talking points - usually by quoting known bigot Louis Farrakhan - insisting that ‘the Jews’ run everything . . .
     “On his podcast, {Nick} Cannon spoke to {a} fellow anti-Semitic conspiracist agreeing with {the anti-Semite’s} racist view that Jewish people control media . . . On July 4th {2020} . . . a speech by Farrakhan - a man who has praised Hitler and repeatedly calls Jews ‘Satanic’ – {was rebroadcast} in which the Nation of Islam leader called the Jewish head of the Anti-Defamation League . . . ‘Satan’ and claimed that ‘those of you that say you are the Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You are not a Jew. You are Satan, and it is my job now to pull the cover off of Satan so that every Muslim when he sees Satan, picks up a stone {and kills the Jews with it}, as we do in Mecca.’
     “The rapper and actor Ice Cube, for his part, has shared a series of anti-Semitic memes, and even lobbed an anti-Semitic trope at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for denouncing anti-Semitism in a Holywood . . . op-ed {column} . . . accusing him of accepting ‘30 pieces of silver’ in exchange for the column.
      - - -
     “. . . Anti-Black and anti-Jewish racism are not interchangeable realities, but they are related and feed upon each other, undermining the liberation of Black and Jewish people (and, of course, Black Jewish people) alike. Like anti-Black racism, anti-Jewish racism cannot have a place in any legitimate anti-racist liberation movement, yet unfortunately, like with anti-Black racism, those who spout anti-Jewish ideas refuse to acknowledge their prejudice, instead qualifying their hateful words with claims to good intentions.
     “Like anti-Black racism, anti-Jewish racism cannot have a place in any legitimate anti-racist liberation movement. (Ref. 3)

     In Philadelphia, the president of the Philadelphia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Rodney Muhammad, released an anti-Semitic meme in defense of black celebrities who had come under fire for anti-Semitism.

     On Rodney Muhammad’s Facebook page, there were pictures of rapper Ice Cube, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and actor/rapper/TV host Nick Cannon - all of whom have been accused of anti-Semitism and/or posting anti-Semitic rhetoric - with a caricature below of a Jewish man with a long and crooked nose wearing a kipah that is engraved on the wrist with a large, bejeweled hand pushing down on a group of people.
     Muhammad’s Facebook page included a quote: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” which is attributed to American neo-Nazi, Holocaust denier and white supremacist Kevin Strom. The page went on to suggest that the repugnance expressed about the anti-Semitic remarks of Ice Cube, Jackson and Cannon was part of a controversy orchestrated by Jews.[4]

     Early in July of 2020, “A top US Jewish group raised the alarm . . . about an ongoing rise in antisemitism across America.
     “ ‘We are outraged by recent instances of blatant antisemitism in America, many of which manifest in actions by anti-Israel individuals and organizations seeking to co-opt the national reckoning with racial inequity,’ {officers} of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP), said in a statement. ‘By taking advantage of the increased media spotlight on social justice they seek to spread their bigoted messages of hatred toward the Jewish people.’
     “ ‘To make matters worse, this comes at a time when Jews are already experiencing sharply increased antisemitism in the US and abroad, including being scapegoated by extremists looking to place blame for the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the CoP leaders added.
     “ ‘The horrific acts of hate-filled vandalism, destruction of property, and flagrant expressions of Jew-hatred, including baseless charges reminiscent of age-old canards such as the blood libel, directly threaten the safety and security of the American Jewish community,’ the statement noted. ‘While it is clear that those perpetrating these acts are a tiny minority whose views are rejected by the vast majority of Americans, we are nonetheless profoundly disturbed by this surge in pronouncements of Jew-hatred.’
     “ ‘ Also troubling is the antisemitism and hate that continues to pervade social media,’ it continued. ‘Recent vitriol from high-profile personalities, some spreading the racist bigotry of Louis Farrakhan, is abhorrent and unacceptable. Those who have influence should not be trafficking in or tolerating the promotion of Jew-hatred, but rather should be vociferously condemning it.’
     “ ‘No group should have to suffer indignities, threats, and acts of violence . . . Every American must forcefully reject this dangerous incitement and denounce these calls for bigotry.’ ” (Ref. 5)

     In 2020, the relations between American Blacks and American Jews has become strained as numerous supporters of Black Lives Matter, Black anti-Semitic demagogues, Black sports figures and Black entertainers have voiced anti-Semitic screeds. Such are the thanks Jews are receiving for the many years of their unstinting support of the efforts to achieve racial equality for African Americans.

     “The lengthy relationship between Jewish Americans and African Americans is a complex and multi-faceted one. It is most profoundly defined by the collaboration on racial justice and civil rights exemplified by the partnership between leading figures like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. This alliance can just as easily be defined by a shared enemy, such as when two Jewish activists, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, alongside with their Black compatriot, James Chaney, while registering Black voters in Mississippi in 1964.
     “. . . {While} non-Jewish Black Americans are shielded from anti-Semitism; some have spread hatred and bigotry and, in a few cases, even committed acts of violence and other hate crimes motivated by anti-Semitism. Condemning hate, directed at any group by a member of any group, should require no hesitation, but recent events have proven otherwise. Thankfully, several Black thought and cultural leaders have shown us how it should be done, and called out those who have failed to do so unequivocally {e.g., Karim Abdul Jabbar.[4]}
     Although much of this article focuses on anti-Semitic acts by and/or in support of Afro-Americans, Anti-Semitism from the white nationalist right - the sort of hate spewed by the terrorist who killed 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh - also poses a significant threat to American Jews.[6]

     “Today, under the banner of “Black Lives Matter,” there is an attempt to single out Jews who have achieved success either academically or financially beyond what BLM deems acceptable.
     “These days, intersectionality is in, but the Black community — at least as far as Black Lives Matter is concerned — has no interest this time around in allying itself with the Jewish community.
     “At a time that the ‘cancel culture’ has not only caused statues to be torn down but people to lose their jobs, the attacks on Jews being carried out in the name of “Black Lives Matter” are a serious threat that adds to the already rising tide of antisemitism and the physical attacks on Jews living in the US. (Ref. 7)

     “For decades, Jews living in the diaspora have spoken about the Jewish community as the metaphorical ‘canary in the coal mine.’ This metaphor accepts the notion that Jews are powerless victims, sacrificed for the benefit of others. Using the powerless canary to symbolize Jews reveals a deeply flawed mindset that paralyzes {them} from properly taking brave action and defending {themselves}.
     “The canary in the coal mine is a practice that dates back to the early 1900s. British miners utilized the sensitive and vulnerable canary to detect high levels of carbon monoxide and toxic fumes. If the canary, helplessly locked in a cage, fell dead, the workers knew they were in danger and would flee the mine. In short, the canary was a dispensable sacrifice for the benefit of everyone except for the canary itself.
      - - -
     “True enough, the amplification of Jew-hatred is a warning sign for all . . . anti-Semitism continues to intensify and suffocate our community. . . .
     “Jews throughout America experience hate and violence daily from radical movements - the far Left, the far-Right . . . radical Islam {and today, even from some in the Black Lives Matter movement}. It’s important to demonstrate to all Americans that these movements not only aim to harm Jews but also threaten to destroy our Judeo-Christian principles and our American way of life.
     “Hate and violence targeted at the Jewish community are the training fields for a larger attack on the foundations of America: our freedom of religion, freedom of speech, equality, and pluralism.
     “So as the perfect storm of anti-Semitism brews against the Jews and Americans, {Jews} must reject {their} historical role as helpless victims, the canaries in the coal mine.
      - - -
     “. . . {American Jewry must} support and expand existing projects and platforms that fight back against Jew-haters and extremists and force them into retreat. . .
     “Like the eagle, leadership, courage, resiliency, and strength are qualities that {are required}. {American Jews} must . . . look over the horizon to detect threats before they occur. {They} must be visionaries of a free and bright future and not wait for the inferno of hate to consume {them}. The future of America {and} American Jewry depend on it. Like the young American nation adopting the biblical eagle as its symbol, {Jews} can {continue to} serve as inspiration for {the} country, this time to sweep back the radical forces of darkness.” (Ref. 8)

     The alarming escalation of Anti-Semitism in America has been going on since well before the recent focus on the condition of America’s Black community. Nearly all of this upsurge of hate came from America’s far-right and far-left whites. Midway through July of 2020, we saw the rise of a pernicious Twitter campaign directed at Jews.

     “While it began with the alt-right as yet another attack against a vulnerable minority group, it quickly made the jump to the ‘woke’ camp of so-called ‘progressives,’ who have embraced it both loudly and publicly.
     “Ironically, hating the Jews might just be one of the few areas where the ‘woke left’ and the ‘alt-right’ have managed to find common cause. This harkens back neatly to 1930s Germany, where Jews were singled out for censure by the Communists for being capitalists, while the capitalists decried the Jews for being Communists.
     “Like a page out of the playbook of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, the new #Jewishprivilege hashtag has exploded on social media. This deliberate attempt to once again segregate the Jews by relegating them to the age-old canard of ‘special status’ is hurtful and dangerous. . .
      - - -
     “To be Jewish in America today is to live in a dystopian world where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to ‘one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character’ seemingly doesn’t extend to {Jews}.
     “. . . in 2019, according to the FBI, 64% of all hate crimes committed in the United States were directed at the Jewish community. Is this part of {the Jews’} privilege?
     “. . . Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson . . . used a quote that was erroneously attributed to Adolf Hitler . . . For this offense, the Eagles gave him a slap on the wrist . . .
     “These insidious attacks against Jews underscore a real problem in our society today, where Jews are somehow expected to answer for {their} privileges as perceived by those self-appointed arbiters of social justice on both the right and the left. On college campuses across the country, {Jewish} students are being told {they} are not welcome in certain conversations because of {their} Jewishness. {They} are told instead to 'check {your} privilege.' What privilege are Jews supposed to be checking?
     “Is it the fear of putting down {their} religion or nationality as ‘Jewish’ on a college application out of fear (firmly rooted in historical precedent for hundreds of years) that {they} won’t be admitted? Is it the fear {they} feel when {they} walk out our door that any visible sign of {their} Jewishness could lead to a verbal or physical attack? Is it the privilege of having to spend millions of dollars a year for heavily armed guards to protect {them} in {their} synagogues, day schools, summer camps and Hillel’s on campus?
     “Does {their} privilege include having to hide {their} Torahs while seeking shelter as white supremacists marched outside a synagogue in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 shouting ‘Jews will not replace us?’ Is it their ‘privilege’ that Jewish parents have to talk to their children about how to behave in public so as not to bring too much attention to {themselves} . . .
     “{Jews shouldn’t have to} apologize for these so-called Jewish privileges, though {they} may ask these so-called representatives of ‘wokeness’ why social justice doesn’t include {them} too. Moreover, {Jews} roundly denounce the notion that {they}, as a people, have anything to apologize for in the first place. . . ” (Ref. 9)

     Throughout the ages, those nations that have tolerated or encouraged anti-Semitism have not fared well (See Ref. 10.) As anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head here in America, so too are America’s problems. Aside from the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic – illness, deaths and an economic nose dive – we are increasingly witnessing an explosive increase in rioting, looting, and violence in our streets. Disrespect for law and order is becoming the norm. And perhaps most pernicious of all, radical socialism is threatening to replace our traditional free market system of democracy – the universal lesson of failed socialism is being ignored. Race relations are worsening, not improving.

     The trees that the anti-Semites of history planted with their seeds of hatred produced nothing but bitter fruit. Can it be that the seeds of anti-Semitism that are today being planted here in America are already producing the bitter fruit of discord and destruction? For nearly four centuries, America’s Jews have lived in peace, prosperity and harmony - and America has prospered. Is all that changing before our very eyes? Today’s encouragement or tolerance of anti-Semitism is not an encouraging sign for America’s future.

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  1. 2019 saw the most anti-Semitic incidents in at least 40 years, ADL says, Ben Sales, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 18 July 2020.
  2. The rise of antisemitism on the Left and in America - opinion , Matthew Wearp, The Jerusalem Post,
    31 July 2020.
  3. The Disturbing Rise of Anti-Semitism Among Black Celebs, Cassie Da Costa, Daily Beast,
    Accessed 17 July 2020.
  4. NAACP refuses to fire anti-Semitic branch president in Philadelphia, World Israel News, 8 August 2020.
  5. Top US Jewish Group Urges Zero Tolerance for Antisemitism Amid Ongoing Surge of Jew-Hatred, algemeiner,
    9 July 2020.
  6. Every Black voice calling out anti-Semitism helps, especially when Black voices spew the hate, Ian Reifowitz, DAILY KOD, 23 July 2020.
  7. About Face: The Changing Face of Black Antisemitism, Bennett Ruda, The Jewish Press, 22 July 2020.
  8. Jews Must Be the Brave Eagle, Not the Sacrificial Canary in the Battle Against Antisemitism, Adam Milstein, ADAM MILSTEIN, 13 July 2020.
  9. #Jewishprivilege: An ugly hashtag unites the woke left and alt-right in their anti-Semitism | Commentary,
    Aaron Weil, Orlando Sentinel, 18 July 2020.
  10. The Bitter Fruits of Anti-Semitism, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 433, 1 September 2020.

  4 September 2020 {Article_434; Israel_48}    
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