It necessary to face the fact that Anti-Semitism is clearly on the rise in the United States. It is not the left or the right. Anti-Semitism is emerging from racists, White nationalists, Black nationalist supporters of Louis Farrakhan, anti-Israel BDS supporters, leaders in the Women’s March, and even in the tweets of super stars in the National Basket Association. It is not disguised or hidden but rather blatant and unashamed. The manifestations of this anti-Semitic behavior exhibit all the classic anti-Semitic canards which have beset Jews throughout their history.
Jews are not being rounded up and thrown into concentration camps nor are there Cossacks marching through the cities. Yet the incorrigible rhetoric being bandied about by these various groups against Jews, would never have been tolerated were similar types of verbal attacks slung against Blacks, women, LGBTQ’s, or Latinos.
It is identical to the diatribes which have been used against Jews throughout history. Cemeteries are being defaced, swastikas are painted on synagogues, and Jews are being stigmatized as being the monied controlling class in America. Furthermore, Jews are being accused of exaggerating these attacks. The problem is that even if it were the case, why are there virtually no voices in the African American community, the Hispanic community, or the women’s movement condemning the transparent slurs circulating about Jews.
Lebron James knows full well the depth of his following, especially within the African American community. When he “erroneously” sends an anti-Semitic scree about Jewish money on Instagram to his 45 million followers it penetrates into the community; belated apology or not. When White nationalists march to the sound of “Jews will not replace us” it resonates deeply among many lower middle-class Whites. Intertwining a pro-Palestinian—anti-Israel—plank in the women’s movement, in the name of opposition to the BDS movement, is only another effort to attack Jews.
The leadership of the Women’s March has not learned a thing from last year’s march. The leaders continue to praise the Nation of Islam’s leader Louis Farrakhan and much of his deeply anti-Semitic rhetoric. They parrot his message of Jewish control of the slave trade and continue to attack Jews as a powerful controlling force in the prison industry. The overall suggestion being that Jews are interested only in making money regardless of how they obtain it.
To be clear, much has been reported about the Women’s March and the extensive attacks against Jews which have permeated the movement’s leaders. There is now an effort to create a counter or parallel march to avoid association with the anti-Semitic attacks continuing to be applauded by the leaders in the Women’s March.
Women and men of color, political leaders of color, and especially clergy representing many of these groups must condemn the bigotry and prejudice encouraging the growing acceptability of anti-Semitism. There needs, as well, to be an effort made by all political leaders to stand up and speak out unequivocally in support of the Jewish community. Both parties need to broaden the conversation and not marginalize the Jewish community. They need to contribute explicitly to a dialogue on both the left and the right which has made Jews the fall guy. Jews need to feel that their lives matter.