Are US Jews unable to agree on who is an antisemite? - Analysis

Jewish organizations issue condemnations, but why are they not organizing marches against that type of Jew hatred?

A woman holds candles while standing in solidarity with the victims after an assailant stabbed five people attending a party at an Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, N.Y., on December 28, 2019, (photo credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY)
A woman holds candles while standing in solidarity with the victims after an assailant stabbed five people attending a party at an Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, N.Y., on December 28, 2019,
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY)
On November 20, a 30-year old Monsey man was stabbed on his way to morning services.
On November 29, the Sixth and I synagogue in Washington DC was vandalized, with the world “Jew” carved into a door, along with swastikas.
On December 3, in Glen Cove, New York, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Nassau County was vandalized with graffiti, including swastikas.
On December 10, three people were killed in a kosher grocery in Jersey City. A police officer was also killed.
On December 14, the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills was ransacked, prayer books were shredded, and taillitot and kippot thrown to the ground.
On December 23, a 65-year-old Orthodox man was assaulted, punched in the face and beaten by a man screaming antisemitic slurs in Midown Manahattan.
On December 24, another Orthodox man was punched on the back of the head by a group of people in Crown Heights.
On that same day, in St. Albans, Vermont, signs reading that it is “okay to be antisemitic “ were stapled on telephone poles in the center of town.
On December 25, an Orthodox man was chased down a street in Williamsburg and punched in the face.
On December 26 in Brooklyn, a Jewish woman and her son were attacked by a woman yelling antisimetic slurs who hit the mother in the face.
On December 28. a man walked into the home of a rabbi in Monsey, where a Hanukkah celebration was taking place, and began stabbing people.
Most of the above, but not all, was taken from a list of antisemitic incidents on the ADL website. The above list is only a partal listing of antisemitic events in the US since November 20, and leaves out a swastika dabbed here, an antisemitic epithet and punch aimed at a random Jew there.
Following the attack in Monsey, the ADL – like many other Jewish organizations – put out a statement condemning the incident.
“We are saddened, disturbed, and outraged by last night’s attack in Monsey, NY at a celebratory Hanukkah party. Again, here we are: mourning another act of senseless anti-Semitic violence committed against our community and praying for those who were the victims of this hate,” the predicatable statement read.
“This is at least the 10th antisemitic incident to hit the New York/New Jersey area in just the last week. When will enough be enough? “
But there is another question that the ADL could have asked, but didn't.
When will Jews take to the streets? What will it take to rally the Jewish community to demonstrate and protest and yell and scream – not though communiques, but rather at organized marches  – against the violence directed at them.
When a right wing fanatic and founder of TruNews rants about a “Jew coup” to overthrow US President Donald Trump, or when Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, or one of his followers, denounces Jews as “monkeys” and Judaism as a “satanic religion,”  where is the Jewish outrage on the streets in protest?
Granted, Jewish organizations issue condemnations, but why are they not organizing marches against that type of Jew hatred?
One reason is evident in the following tweeter exchange between the Jewish Democratic Council of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition following the Monsey incident.
“We are deeply troubled and saddened by the unconscionable spate of antisemitic domestic terrorism,” The Jewish Democratic Council of America said in a statement.
“At the same time, anyone serious about fighting antisemitism must also consider the cumulative impact of the most powerful US elected official repeating antisemitic stereotypes, amplifying antisemitic conspiracy theories, equating neo-Nazis with those peacefully protesting them, and espousing xenophobic and hateful vitriol. Anyone serious about combatting antisemitism must start by condemning that which emanates from, and is legitimized by, the White House.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted in response: “It is absolutely deranged to blame President Trump for the attack in Monsey last night. @USJewishDems clearly doesn't care about the Jewish victims of antisemitic hate crimes in New York, they simply care about pushing their partisan agenda.”
With that kind of division among the Jews, is it really any wonder why there has not been more organized Jewish action against the steady drumbeat of antisemitism on America’s streets?
Yossi Klein Halevi, in a piece that he wrote after Jeremy Corbyn was trounced in the recent British elections, praised British Jewry for the way it was able to rally together and fight back against the rising antisemitism in their midst.
They were able to do this effectively, he wrote, because they were able to define the enemy, unite all the different sectors of the Jewish community, and develop powerful non-Jewish allies to support the cause as well.
One reason US Jews are not taking to the streets, is because American Jewry is deeply divided. They cannot agree on who the antisemite is? Or, as Klein Halevi wrote, “American Jews can no longer agree on what constitutes an antisemitic threat, let alone how to fight it.”
So instead of actively fighting it, instead of taking to the streets to fight it, instead of organizing marches and protests on state capitols to protest it, the US organized Jewish community is issuing statements and communiques.
And even those communiques and tweets do not show solidarity in the face of this threat, but rather  a deeply divided community that – at this time – needs desperately to find common ground, put aside partisan politics, and define who really is an antisemite.
    Only then can the problem be tackled, and  -- even then --  without any guarantees of success. But one thing is certain: You can't defeat the enemy if you can't define it. And on something so basic as what is antisemitism, and who is an antisemite, the sad truth is that today among American Jewry there is no agreement – because everything in the US, even that, is now so hyper-politicized.


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