Antisemitism is proliferating in America and Europe. The Anti-Defamation League’s latest global survey of 102 countries and territories found 26% percent of adults are “deeply infected” with antisemitic attitudes. That’s about 1.09 billion people worldwide and, perhaps surprisingly, a great number occupy church pews.
US incidents against Jews surged by 67% the first nine months of 2017 compared to all of 2016, the ADL said, and the trend is continuing to accelerate. Nearly 1,300 incidents included assault, vandalism and harassment, while bullying and vandalism have intensified at US schools and colleges. This is happening not only in America but around the world.
The ancient hatred has become frighteningly commonplace in Europe, where attacks in France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany are provoked by a lethal mix of Islamic ideology and left- and right-wing extremists. Even certain EU media, political parties, and courts have vastly contributed to Jew hatred.
If something is said that supposedly offends a Muslim or paints Islamic ideology in a negative light, it is immediately labeled as “hate speech.” On the other hand, say something negative against Christians or God’s chosen people, the Jews, and hardly anyone blinks an eye.
In Germany, Central Council of Jews president Dieter Graumann warned, “These are the worst times since the Nazi era. It’s not uncommon to hear on the streets of Germany, ‘The Jews should be gassed; the Jews should be burned.’” According to Josephine Huetlin in The Daily Beast, leaders of the far-right political party Alternatives for Germany “believe the Central Council of Jews in Germany secretly controls the entire country.”
Rearing its ugly head on the other side of the Atlantic, this chilling echo of Nazi propaganda has surfaced in the hurricane-battered US territory of Puerto Rico, where shortages and power blackouts persist more than three months after the storm. Locals fault their government or the US for the slow recovery, but El Nuevo Dia newspaper columnist Wilda Rodríguez, ignoring local mismanagement and the island’s aging electrical grid, publicly blames the Jews.
Ridiculously, Rodriguez claims American Jews are “punishing” Puerto Rico because they fear the island may renege on its $70 billion debt.
“Congress will ultimately do what the Jew wants,” Rodríguez said, branding the Jews of Wall Street “the secret structure that governs the United States” – an “exclusive elite” and “parallel government organized by the forces of wealth and violence (war machinery) from Wall Street.”
Conversely, if such vicious claims had been made against adherents of Islam, heads would have rolled.
It’s the old familiar tune. Hitler blamed Jewish businessmen for Germany’s postwar recession woes to stir citizens’ animosity against German Jews. “This was Hitler’s first step in fueling anti-Semitism, long before he moved against Jewish lives,” said author Götz Ally. But it is only one warning sign.
According to the Pew Research Center, EU Muslim immigration rates closely parallel antisemitic spikes along national lines. Germany is the No. 1 destination for asylum seekers; Hungary second, Sweden third and Austria fourth. France, the Netherlands and the UK trail closely behind.
Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis “scoffed when asked if Europe would be a superpower by the end of this century,” said author Christopher Caldwell. “Europe,” Lewis said, “will be part of the Arabic west, of the Maghreb” – a major region of northern Africa historically referred to as the Barbary Coast or Barbary States.
While incidents of antisemitism in the US are on the rise, a 2017 Pew survey yielded interesting but confusing results. From those randomly polled using Pew’s “feeling thermometer,” it was concluded that Jews receive some of the “warmest” ratings of all religious groups in America and, going deeper, this seemed to fall along party lines, with Republicans feeling the warmest.
The poll raises compelling questions about the significance of antisemitism’s “rise” in a country whose grassroots largely express growing positive sentiment toward Jews.
Could one reason for the discrepancy be complacency and passivity on the part of those who cherish tolerance and peaceful coexistence? Groups harboring antisemitism, whether politically or irrationally motivated, tend to be activists who deliberately strategize to foment cultural or religious war. Fueled by hate, they often are aggressive and vociferous, building or infiltrating political and societal structures, to include colleges and universities – seeking influence and allies to spread their message and drive their agenda.
One such group is Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). While it promotes itself as standing for human rights, it advocates for the destruction of Israel, embraces known terrorists as people to be admired and on university and college campuses creates a hostile atmosphere by intimidating and bullying Jewish students and those who express pro-Israel views.
Due to a lack of knowledge of the driving core values of this organization, its influence is growing as liberal academics and others buy into its sugar-coated rhetoric. A case in point is one liberal Democrat senator from South Carolina who is standing in the way of the passage of a bill which would clearly define antisemitism. He’s doing so because he is a supporter of SJP.
You’re probably wondering how this is possible in a state that is pro-Israel. Well, not only is he a state senator, he is also a liberal academic who needs to do a bit of homework on SJP.
Political, judicial, academic and media elites wield undue influence over schools, government, the courts, and information. Islamic State (ISIS) was quick to learn that lesson and we here in America must learn it too, and quickly – especially those in the churches, the legislatures, our institutions of higher learning and the courts.
Words have power and words make a difference – spoken or written, for good or for evil. Complacency and ignorance are humanity’s worst enemies. To remain silent creates fertile ground in which antisemites can smear the Jew through evil words and evil deeds. Who cares? Civilized people care.
The author is an international broadcaster and journalist who has served in senior level positions with four US presidents. Due to his outspoken support for Israel, he has been recognized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a Good Will Ambassador from Israel to the Jewish and Christian communities around the world and named the Voice of Israel to America by former prime minister Ehud Olmert.[email protected]