Disturbing Rise in Anti-Semitism Leaves American Jews Vulnerable

A firebomb was thrown in a Jewish Manhattan neighborhood yesterday and popular progressives are still fanning the flames.

Dr. Munr Kazmir
May 21 · 5 min read
Anti-Israel Protest, Washington, DC USA 01965. March 26, 2017. (photo: Ted Eytan)

Elected officials have had a great deal to say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past two weeks.

There has been a reluctance by certain progressive Democratic politicians to blame the latest round of violence on Hamas, though Hamas initiated the conflict by firing rockets at Israeli civilian populations- a war crime as defined by the Geneva Convention.

There have been attempts to draw a moral equivalency between evicting someone from a house and reigning fire and terror down on innocent men, women, and children.

These have been followed by attempts to excuse the violence and terror. Because of Israel’s advanced weapons systems and Iron Dome, Hamas-apologists insist, Hamas is incapable of visiting violence and terror on Israel.

A dozen dead Israeli citizens and their families- including Arab-Israelis- plus innocent civilians on the Palestinian side killed when Hamas rockets misfired and fell on their own people- would disagree, if they were alive to do so.

No one puts it better than eminent Jewish writer Bari Weiss.

In “The Bad Optics of Fighting for Your Life,” she laments the fact that in popular progressive culture 2021, “standing up for the right of innocent people to protect themselves from a genocidal terrorist organization has become extremely risky to one’s ‘brand’.”

“And so lies have replaced truth,” Weiss writes of so-called progressive attitudes about Israel. “Memes have replaced morality. Hashtags have replaced history.”

Anti-Semitism, as Weiss and others have warned, destroyed Corbyn’s progressive British Labour Party and is now threatening to do the same everywhere.

Yet, what many influential and popular U.S. lawmakers have not done, some not at all, some not to the satisfaction of Jewish communities, is to plead for calm, decry the violence and speak up for American Jews- who do not feel safe amid the wave of anti-Israel protests and demonstrations which have resulted in violent displays of anti-Semitism in Jewish neighborhoods.

Now might be a wonderful time to remind progressives demonstrating in support of the Palestinian cause that American Jews, A.) Are not responsible for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, B.) Are not responsible for the actions of the Israeli government or its legal system, and C.) Have no control whatsoever over either.

For some reason, progressive politicians with enormous influence are doing nothing of the kind. Even as the anti-Semitic violence continues to escalate.

One need not look far for the source of this violence.

“People of Jerusalem,” extolled Hamas Political Bureau Member Fathi Hammad during a May 7 rally, “we want you to cut off the heads of the Jews with knives.”

“With your hand, cut their artery from here,” Hammad continued, demonstrating.

In a video translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Fathi Hammad gave these instructions: “A knife costs five shekels. Buy a knife, sharpen it, put it there, and just cut off. It costs just five shekels; with those five shekels, you will humiliate the Jewish state.”

“The Jews have spread corruption and acted with arrogance, and their moment of reckoning has come. The moment of destruction at your hands has arrived,” said Hammad, who has made similar calls before.

“All of you 7 million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up,” Hammad said during a 2019 protest. “You have Jews everywhere, and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, if God permits.”

Nor is Fathi Hammad the only Hamas official fond of making such statements.

“Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters,” said the deputy speaker of the house parliament, Ahmad Bahr, speaking in his official capacity in 2012. “Count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.”

Hamas frequently tries to distance itself from these sentiments, to no avail as they are expressed all too often by those in Hamas leadership- and indeed expressed in the charter of Hamas.

“These statements do not represent the movement’s official positions and consistent, adopted policies that stipulate that our conflict is with the occupation, which is occupying our land and sullying our holy sites, and not with Jews around the world or with Judaism as a religion,” reads the official Hamas statement on the matter.

Not everyone on the left is buying it, however.

“This week’s events are part of a wave of terror led by the terrorist organization Hamas, resulting from reckless and irresponsible incitement to commit violence,” says former New York Democratic State Assemblyman Dov Hikind of the attacks in New York.

Hikind, now heading Americans Against Antisemitism, laid the violence Jews are experiencing in New York, and across the U.S., directly at the feet of Hamas leadership: “Senior members of the terrorist organization Hamas have made public calls for violence.”

It is true that anti-Semitic violence is not an ocean away from Jews in America. Consider this now-deleted post from a New York-based group which instructed New Yorkers concerned about Israel’s actions to, “Find targets nearby, Find where these zionist fools live, and where there offices are, and act!”

The question many American Jews are asking: Who will counter these calls to violence?

There can be little question that this latest spate of anti-Semitic hate crimes and attacks are related to the Palestinian liberation cause. Anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism is the exclusive domain of the progressives left; denouncements of these acts of violence against American Jews need to come from that same source. Loudly and soon.

That these incidents are increasing, in frequency and in escalating violence, indicates a tacit tolerance from the wider, more peaceful aspects of the movement for Palestinian liberation.

“We know that jihadists do not appear in a vacuum; they require a degree of permissiveness within their larger context to exist in significant numbers,” wrote writer, activist and former-Muslim Sarah Haider in September of 2020, warning progressives that the religion of progressive “wokeism” is creating the right conditions for violence.

“We can therefore use the number of jihadis from a particular country as a crude measure of the overall level of liberal tolerance within it,” explained Haider. “The conditions required for the extremists to thrive already exist. The door is open; they only need to walk through.”

Are these attacks a measure of the growing liberal progressive tolerance towards anti-Semitism?

Violence against Jews during the Trump era was blamed on the Republican Party’s willingness to tolerate it. By failing to condemn this latest rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the strongest possible terms, out of a misguided progressive loyalty to the Palestinian cause, Democrats are making the same costly mistake.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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