Last week’s editorial (“Trump in denial over rising American antisemitism,” The Jerusalem Post, February 19) blasted US President Donald Trump for not answering questions regarding antisemitism in America. It claimed that Trump’s campaign “Was perceived as a dog whistle for the so-called alt-right and its fellow traveling, dyed-in-the-wool antisemites,” raised the fact that Trump omitted specific mention of the six million Jewish victims of the Nazis on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and implied that he is paving the way for the growth of antisemitism in America.
It is trivial, however, to establish that the rise of antisemitism in the US is not attributable to Trump. He has been in office for less than a month now, and even if we factor in his campaign the fact is that antisemitism in the US has been on the rise for many years.
Interestingly, almost by-the-way the editorial gives us a different cause for the rise of antisemitism, without even noticing it:
“Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt was one of many who were appalled by the president’s response. He told the ‘Never Is Now’ Summit on Anti-Semitism on Friday that ‘over the past few years, we have seen the growth of ugly campaigns on our college campuses, efforts that seek to delegitimize Israel and to reduce the Jewish state into some kind of taboo. This virus has spread and made some of greatest universities hostile to Jewish students and those who support them.’”
So here is Greenblatt saying young Jews are not safe to express their views on campus, that there is hostility toward Jewish students at US universities and this is going on for years. What could have caused this hostility? Is it the alt-right? Is it neo-Nazis protesting against the Jews and Israel? Is it Brietbart or Steve Bannon calling out for the boycott of Jews and their goods? Who is intimidating Jews on US campuses?
The answer is clear: the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its Muslim counterparts have raised antisemitism in the US to levels we have not seen since 1930 (ADL’s stats).
BDS shuts down debate, boycotts Jewish goods and services in Israel and is responsible for academic boycotts against Jewish academics living in Israel and Israelis abroad.
In the beginning some people were fooled into thinking BDS was a human rights organization promoting peace in the Middle East, but it quickly became apparent to all that this movement is blatantly antisemitic and has poisoned millennials all over the US.
President of the World Jewish Congress Ron S. Lauder wrote a piece in the Post about BDS (“BDS is the modern form of antisemitism,” March 28, 2016) in which he states clearly: “What is BDS? BDS is nothing more than a dangerous new strain of an age-old disease. And that disease is antisemitism”
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the UK, said: “Anti-Semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.”
The writing was on the wall: demonization of the State of Israel by antisemitic movements masquerading as anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian groups would give rise to a hydra endangering Jews all over the world.
But the greatest hypocrisy is that it is the Jewish movements that sided with BDS in the beginning and were warned about their affiliation with pro-Palestinian anti-Israel movements that are now crying about the supposed increase in antisemitism under Trump.
J street claims not to be affiliated with BDS, but at the same time it promotes boycotting specific Jews: “It is critical to maintain the distinction between boycott and divestment efforts which work against the interests of Israel, and initiatives which are limited to opposing the occupation” (J Street website).
There are no halfway measures in the eyes of antisemites. They do not differentiate. Once the anti-Semitic beast is out of the box it does not stop at any red line.
The same J Street is crying about the rise of antisemitism in the US and attributing it to Trump. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.
The Reform Movement, too, is in bed with the anti-settlement movement. Although it opposes BDS entirely and is a strong ally of Israel, what the Reform Movement doesn’t understand is that in dealing with antisemitism there is no room for error. Criticizing Israel and the Jews that live in Judea and Samaria will add fuel to the racist fire lit by BDS.
Reform Movement President Rabbi Rick Jacobs sums up his view on the subject: “Many Jewish students on campus believe, as do we, that their love for Israel not only justifies rebutting BDS, but requires them to challenge troubling Israeli policies that fail to live up to the Jewish tradition’s highest ideals, and which alienate many who otherwise would more assertively support Israel.”
Now let us ask this: when an old-fashioned antisemite sees the condemnation of Jews that arises from the BDS movement, whether out of hate of Israel or, in the case of the Reform Movement, love of Israel, do you think he cares about the distinction? The result is the same: more fuel on the antisemitic fire.
The same Reform Movement is wondering why there has been a rise of antisemitism on campuses; it has the chutzpah to attribute it to Trump and the alt-right, writes a letter banning the appointment of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel. The antisemites are having a field day. Dear Reform Movement: stop complaining about the rise in antisemitism – you have helped prepare this dish, now you have to eat it.
And to the “alt-left” Jewish movements: don’t be surprised about a rise in antisemitism. If you go to bed with dogs you wake up with fleas.
The first response of the alt-left to this article will be “how dare you blame the victim,” but in their hearts they understand that they have to recalculate their course. The majority of Americans love Israel as the natural homeland of the Jewish people. It has always been a bipartisan notion hardwired into the character of the great nation of America. The alt-left should stop inciting, sanctioning and targeting Jews of any sort in Israel because it will always come back to haunt Jews in their own country.
Therefore the proper response for the president of the United States is that there is zero tolerance for BDS and other movements on university campuses that single out Jews and their sovereign Jewish state. Any action against the Jews in their homeland will be considered antisemitic and will be dealt harshly, including alt-left Jewish movements that incite boycotts and sanctions. Israel and Jews living there will always be supported by both sides of the aisle.The author is an educator, writer and political commentator who has served as spiritual leader and educator in Israel, Russia, South Africa and Hong Kong. Today he works to educate toward a better future between secular and religious Jews in Israel. He is currently the spiritual leader of the Kfar Shmaryahu community.