In “Educators and rabbis respond to the arrest of teen for bomb threats” (March 30), Rabbi Avi Friedman of Congregation Ohr Shalom/ Summit JCC was quoted as wondering, “Will we be the religious minority who cried, ‘Wolf!?’” The good news in that regard is that it is unlikely. The bad news is that anti-Semitic hate crimes continue to be the leading contender in FBI statistics. In fact, it is a dubious distinction that well over half of such crimes are against Jews. In 2015 (the latest year available) there were 731 reported Jewish victims of hate crimes, an increase from 2014’s 648. As bad as that is, consider how things are among our tolerant neighbors to the north. In 2014, the most recent year available, there were 1,627 such incidents targeting Canada’s 375,000 Jews (compared to 99 reported hate-based incidents against 1.2 million Canadian-Muslims). Similar troubling statistics are reported elsewhere around the world. This wolf is real and unrelenting.
However, the dishonest response from this paper, and others, to lay a factually unsupported “rise in anti-Semitism” at the feet of the Trump administration threatens to divert us from the real threats we face as a community. In “Anti-Semitism: Who’s to blame?” (March 30) NJJN continues to force events to fit its narrative that President Trump, Steve Bannon, and others were part of a cabal encouraging and creating an environment for this to flourish. Objectively, we know that this is not so. The editorial again repeats the phrase that “connections were suggested.” Suggestions cover a lot. What connections were suggested in 2015? 2014? In Canada?
There is no particular glory in the truth of these bomb threats. But the failure to recognize the truth may be a bigger problem. Perhaps for those afraid to cry wolf, reflexively blaming the president is part of the problem.