It seems strange that it was only 14 months ago that we lived with a feeling of relative safety. One day we awoke to news of Iranian supplied Hamas deadly rocket-fire (more than 4,000) from the Gaza strip into the rest of Israel. Soon, the social media outlets and Progressive-left seemed to promote a wave of increased Jew-hatred and violence against American Jews that has left us feeling bereft of trust in the society in which we once felt so safe.
Note that we use the term Jew-hatred and not Anti-Semitism, the latter which a German developed to sound more scientific and palatable and less evil than the actual meaning requires. This term anti-Semitism is particularly inappropriate because the term Semites includes people of the Middle East. When other people from the Middle East commit the acts of Jew-hatred, the term anti-Semitism is completely appropriate.
“The term “anti-Semite” was coined in Germany in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr in his pamphlet “The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism” to refer to the anti-Jewish manifestations of the period and to give Jew-hatred a more scientific sounding name. According to historian Deborah Lipstadt, instead of using the word “Judenhass” – hatred of Jews – he chose “Antisemitismus” – hatred of the Jewish race. Lipstadt says he wanted an “all-encompassing word: a word that would include Jews who were no longer practicing the religion, Jews who might even have converted – because he also was influenced by the idea that it was in your blood.”” https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/anti-semitism-or-antisemitism.
Over the past 11 days, we have seen increased anti-Israel sentiment and Jew-hatred over social media, in the news outlets, in politics, and within the entertainment industry.
A 2021 Tel Aviv University study showed Jew-hatred increased during the pandemic, and it followed online. The media outlets downplayed this, and people generally don’t think there is Jew-hatred. American Jewish anxiety has increased from online conspiracy theories to the localized attacks on Jews, such as vandalism, arson, and the threat of personal harm. However, most of the Jew-hatred originates among the political left wing, contrary to many’s incorrect perceptions. Time for Democrats to Address their Jew-Hatred Problem.
Growing up Jewish in California, I falsely believed that we lived in a diverse society in which we were safe from racial bias and Jew-hatred. I have been active in the Jewish Community all of my life and a corporate professional for over 20 years. I grew up and raised my children to be both proud Americans and proud Zionists and Jews.
When I recall my childhood, the Bay Area seemed an idyllic hamlet, in which we could live together as friends with people of all races and skin tones. The first true Jew-hatred experience scorched into my 12-year-old mind was when the synagogue that I attended burned due to vandalism, which caused significant damage to the structure and shattering my sense of safety. As of 2019, Violence against Jews exceeds all other groups in the USA except for Gays (24.46 per 100,000) and transgenders (17.77). For comparison, violence against Jews stands at 16.55 per 100,000 people, compared to 5.44 for Blacks, and 0.59 for Arabs. FBI Hate Crimes 2019
During the recent Mideast conflict, American Jews felt silenced and bullied by the media, their neighbors, and friends to side with Hamas in the un-warranted attack on Israel. Young people in particular, were threatened and verbally accosted if their views did not align with those who supported the attacks on Israel by Hamas. Supporters held peaceful Pro-Israel rallies throughout the World to show support for Israel, the Jewish homeland, and educate people on the history of the region. Further, supporters tried to reveal the truth about this particular clash that the media wasn’t showing, and as a show of Jewish solidarity across the World. We attended a local Pro-Israel rally, during which non-Jews, Jews, and Israeli’s stood together to promote peace. Though anti-Israel protestors tried to incite violence, the Pro-Israel attendees maintained a peaceful stance and did not engage in any violence.
In contrast, Pro-Palestinian rallies have promoted aggression and violence towards Jews and Pro-Israel supporters. There has been increased pressure from media, politicians and entertainers to “stand with Palestine” against Israel. In the past few days, we have seen video footage of assaults on innocent Jewish Americans from NYC, NJ, and LA in which people were specifically targeted by hoodlums donning the Palestinian flag, chanting “Death to Jews” and “Allahu Akbar”. Diners in an outdoor cafe in LA were asked if they were Jewish, and when the diner responded with “yes”, they were physically assaulted by a gang of Pro-Palestinian Jew-haters.
Even though these incidents are in Southern CA, the Northern California Jews still feel on edge about their safety. We don’t feel comfortable flying the Israeli flag, or announcing that we are Jewish by what we wear or where we go. I have even started to carry pepper spray on my key chain to protect myself in case of racial attacks.
Finally, our enemies stole our sense of safety. Last night, my 23-year-old daughter and her friends went to dinner in downtown Palo Alto, an area known for its world-class university, expensive real estate, diverse population, and relative safety for night strolls and dining. While at an outdoor Jewish-owned cafe, a large group of Pro-Palestinians rioters marched down University avenue, verbally assaulting and harassing the group of friends. Loud chants and drums besieged diners, screamed by aggressive thugs who trespassed into the gated outdoor dining area, stood directly over sitting customers, and accused them of being racists and baby-killers if they would not side with Hamas against Israel. Many threatened diners felt scared for their lives and fled. Eventually, the riotous gang left and moved on to bully other customers and drive them away from the Jewish business.
Why do the general public, so-called “liberal” politicians, the Democrat party, and mainstream media shield and elevate these violent purported “activists” and not protect the innocent Jewish citizens and businesses? It seems to me that when we allow these violent activities to occur and fail to stand against Jew-hatred, it will continue to fester and grow. As Jew hatred spikes, many Jews wonder, 'Where are our allies"?