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Tags: hate speech | bigotry

Scapegoated Again: Jews, Chinese Targeted in Pandemic

the words prevent bigotry behind a chain link fence

Abraham Cooper By and Harold Brackman Tuesday, 19 May 2020 08:16 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In the era of the coronavirus, we are witnessing the targeting of two groups who know all too well the devastating power and danger from hateful scapegoating — Chinese and Jews.

In the 1880s, when the U.S. passed the Chinese Exclusion Act imposing racist restrictions exclusively on Chinese immigrants and naturalized persons, a brave Jew saw the dangers not only for the Chinese. As the late UCLA historian Alexander Saxton noted:

"He was a Polish Jew named Sigismund Danielewiz, a Socialist who worked as a barber and sailor and union organizer in California in the 1880s. ... He was one of the founders of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific and helped to build the labor movement in the West. He might have had ships and high schools — and even union halls — named for him, except that he chose to stand for the principle of interracial equality. The last reference I found to him indicates that he was out of work in the winter of 1910 and set out on foot for the East."

Back then, the primary rationalization for Chinese exclusion was that Chinese immigrants unfairly competed with American-born workers. But soon after 1900, the additional argument was made that the Chinese were plague carriers. Not until World War II, when "good Chinese" were America's allies against "bad Japs," were restrictions eased.

As Danielewiz feared, 1882's Chinese Exclusion Act was but the first step toward draconian racist immigration laws during the 1920s that cut off all immigration from East Asia. It also reduced to a trickle immigration from much of Europe, a move which would help seal the fate of Anne Frank's family and hundreds of thousands of other Jewish families desperately seeking to escape Nazis. Anti-Semitic senior State Department officials did the rest, seeing to it that even the paltry quotas from Europe were never filled during the Holocaust.

Not until the passage of the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 did America move towards the ideal of "a nation of immigrants" in which newcomers, no matter their color or creed or where they came from, would not be discriminated against. That ideal should always serve as a baseline for future U.S. immigration policies.

In 2020, the coronavirus aka, "the Wuhan virus" or "Chinese virus," perhaps released intentionally or not from the communist regime's biochemical labs, were quickly leveraged and disseminated by anti-Semites and conspiracy meisters. In normal times, Alex Jones allegations that Bill Gates is behind the global pandemic would be laughed at, but not in these fearful and uncertain times with desperate people seeking quick answers to their suffering.

Meanwhile, some social media postings by Jew-haters are urging lone wolfs to take direct action to infect Jews and Muslims. The Simon Wiesenthal Center was so alarmed by these postings on Telegram and other social media outlets, that we shared a list of 45 social media channels broadcasting the hate 24/7 with U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Homeland Security and NYPD hate crime specialists.

This big lie surged halfway around the globe. Mufti Abu Hisham Masood is a leading voice of the Pakistani terrorist movement affiliated with Afghanistan's Taliban. His "Coronavirus or Virus War?" argues not only that Jews created COVID-19, but will control any future vaccine to further their age-old goal of world domination, a goal, he alleges is as old as King Solomon.

Meanwhile, our Chinese-American neighbors have been threatened by growing anger that should be targeting the Chinese communist government not Chinese people. One study conducted in the early weeks of the emerging deadly pandemic found that many didn't bother to differentiate. There was a 900% spike in hate speech on Twitter against China and the Chinese; a 200% increase in traffic to hate sites and posts against Asians; a 70% spike in hateful online chat exchanges among kids, and a 40% increase in toxicity on popular gaming platforms, like Discord.

All this before the full horrors of the pandemic hit our nation.

Should anyone have been shocked when a man attacked an Asian-American family of four in a supermarket-stabbing three of them, including a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, claiming they were responsible for spreading coronavirus.

An anti-racist Asian website has fielded over 1,500 recent hate reports. New York City logged at least 11 anti-Asian hate crimes. These outrages are particularly galling when 17% of doctors and 10% of nurses in our country — those brave people putting their lives on the line every day to help protect our families and neighbors from the virus — are Asian-American.

There are signs that a game-changing vaccine could be on the way. But no one ever found a cure for history's oldest virus — hate.

We can each do our share to fight the hate. First, report any hate incident to the proper authorities. Submit anti-Asian American incidents to Stop AAPI Hate website. If you experience anti-Semitism online or on the street, contact ireport@wiesenthal.com.

The pandemic brutally reminds us that we are all in the same boat. Let's be sure we don't allow bigots to exploit this crisis. By showing we that care about each other, we will emerge from this pandemic to an America that Sigismund Danielewiz would be proud of.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean, Director Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization. Abraham Cooper has been a longtime activist for Jewish and human rights causes. His extensive involvement in Soviet Jewry included visiting refuseniks, helping to open Moscow's first Jewish Cultural Center, and lecturing at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Sakharov Foundation. In 1977, he came to L.A. to help Rabbi Marvin Hier found the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and for three decades Rabbi Cooper has overseen the Wiesenthal Center's international social action agenda including worldwide antisemitism and extremist groups, Nazi crimes, Interfaith Relations, the struggle to thwart the anti-Israel Divestment campaign, and worldwide promotion of tolerance education. Widely recognized as an international authority on issues related to digital hate and the Internet, Rabbi Cooper was listed in 2017 by Newsweek among the top most influential Rabbis in the United States. Read Abraham Cooper's Reports — More Here.

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There are signs that a game-changing vaccine could be on the way. But no one ever found a cure for history's oldest virus — hate.
hate speech, bigotry
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 08:16 AM
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