Fifteen years ago I thought anti-Semitism was on the way out. I watched as anti-Semitism slowly disappeared. Or so I thought.
I was wrong, I was very, very wrong. At the time, I concluded that it was socially unacceptable to express anti-Semitic points of view. Not out of fear of being an anti-Semite, but because it was hateful. Hateful was not P.C.
But something happened over these past few years. And today, anti-Semitism rears its vile, ugly, dangerous head. Anti-Semitism is out there — here, there, and everywhere. Children are exposed to it, not just to shouts and canards about Jews but to violence and killing. They view it on their phones and tablets in the news broadcasts that come to them in snippets. Jewish children see that Jews are being targeted for abuse and for murder simply because they are Jews. Our children, Jews and non-Jews, are watching the horrors of mass, violent attacks on Jews.
This year alone three Jewish venues were targeted — two synagogues, first in San Diego, next in Pittsburgh, and then most recently, a Jewish supermarket in Jersey City. They were the targets of anti- Semites and because of that anti-Semitism, innocent people — mostly Jewish but not exclusively Jewish, were cold-bloodedly gunned downed and murdered.
Despite the magnitude of the atrocity, just feet away from the site of the Jersey City carnage and only minutes after the attack, voices were captured on tape talking about how the Jews brought the murders upon themselves and how more Jews should have been killed. And a member of the board of education in Jersey City reportedly posted an entry on her Facebook page also expressing her belief that Jews were responsible for the attack, that they brought the murder upon themselves.
While the post has been deleted, there are screen shots. In her own words:
“Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were threatened intimidated, and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the jewish community. [sic]”
″[The shooters] went directly to the kosher supermarket, I believe they knew they would come out in body bags. What is the message they were sending? Are we brave enough to explore the answer to their message? Are we brave enough to stop the assault on the Black communities of America?”
The mayor is asking for her resignation but it's not that simple. She is an elected official whose term ends in 2020.
Just yesterday I just watched a Facebook video posted by a woman named Lihi Aharon, an Israeli who reportedly defended a Jew on a NYC subway and was allegedly attacked in the process.
The video shows a black woman shouting anti-Semitic vitriol, vile statements about Jews at a Jewish man — apparently unaware that Lihi herself was Israeli and Jewish. The woman allegedly began her tirade even before Lihi boarded the subway and continued to shout out her vitriol even after police arrived and subsequently arrested her.
Allegedly included in the woman's tirade were statements that more Jews should have been murdered in Jersey City. And she called out to the obviously Jewish-looking man that he was not Jewish because he is white. That particular phrase — that whites cannot be Jewish — is a line from the standard script of many Jew haters, particularly subscribers to the Black Hebrew Israelites, the group the Jersey City terrorist/murderers allegedly belonged to. They believe that Jews are not Jews, they believe that blacks are the true Jews.
The Black Hebrew Israelite movement is gaining in strength. Leaders, especially responsible Christian Black leaders, must stand up and work hard to set the record straight. This hatred must be stopped. Not just for the sake of Jews, for everyone's sake. Hatred begets hatred.
Also in the subway, a poster of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was defaced with words I cannot write and accompanied by a swastika.
And recently, I was accosted on a NYC subway. I wear a kippah and a fellow rider began shouting anti-Semitic epithets directly. He, too, included as part of his tirade statements about how I was not a real Jew and that everyone knows that real Jews are black.
I have confronted anti-Semitism before, but not like this. The anti-Semitism of today in the United States is different. There have been more than 2,000 reported anti-Semitic attacks in the United States in 2019. I am certain that there have been tens of thousands more, situations that have gone unreported. There are those who are quick to blame President Trump. That's too easy.
Something else is happening.
We are living in a time in which hate emanates from communities, even out of church communities. Good people are not stopping or calling out evil haters. Those who preach hatred from pulpits must be called out. Members of their parishes must stand firm and say no. Board members must step up and clamp down on hateful church leaders. Every hater has family and friends who are good, decent, loving people. The parents and loved ones of those people who subscribe to his hatred must make it clear that anti-Semitism is not acceptable. The schools have failed us, but we cannot give up.
We cannot, we should not, let this hatred continue to fester and to grow. It is more than rhetoric. Lives are at stake.
If this scourge of anti-Semitism continues it could very well mean the beginning of the end of society as we know it. History — and I do not just mean the Holocaust, has proven that when Jews en masse are oppressed, others are soon oppressed, and then others, and then others.
The time has come to take note and to act.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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