The memory of the brutal Holocaust may be fast fading; yet, the evil that brought it about appears to be creeping upon us, once again. Hate speech, defamation, history revision and violence are being directed towards Jews of all ages. Perpetrators appear to be gradually “testing the waters” to see what they can get away with before upping the ante of hostilities; especially in a freedom of speech driven America.
Indigenous Israel is and never was merely incidental to Judaism, but rather integral to the Jewish faith and its survival. Our enemies appreciate this reality. The protection afforded is so formidable that those who hate us have come to the conclusion that they must first eliminate Israel before challenging our Jewish viability. To assist in their cause and by trial and error, they came upon diversionary tactics; including cloaking their hostility towards Jews under the guise of ‘Anti-Zionism.’
This augmented with the malicious “Boycott, Divestment and Sanction terror tactics (B.D.S.),” has gained traction within the media and support from some, self-labeled progressive politicians including a number who appear to reside within the legislative branch of our government; if not covertly elsewhere, as well.
Ignoring the present day escalating antipathy towards Israel and by extension towards Jews in Israel, Europe and now in the United States, is only serving to reinforce contempt for them, in general. The ugliness manifests through opportune acts of targeted property destruction, including defacing head-stones of our dead and violence towards our living where they feel they can get away with it.
All of this serves to instill fear and thereby silences opposition. Growing Jewish vulnerability appears minimized, if not dismissed to one degree or another within our Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of our federal government.
Hostile elements; including white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, radical Islamists, Palestinian Jihadists and others appear to first indulge in innuendo, which all too easily becomes threats such as the chants emanating from within Iran, “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
Perhaps, all of this is tied to endless and baseless United Nations Anti-Israel and Palestinian driven condemnations; seemingly most aggressive since U.N. Resolution (3379) passed in 1975; equating ‘Zionism to Racism.’
Agitation and confrontation on campuses across North America openly challenge Israel’s legitimacy and Jew’s rights to organize and to speak in defense of their tiny Middle East heritage. To which, uninvolved bystanders stand down. As a result, and over years, the various obscenities of antisemitism are gaining sports and entertainment adherents.
Does it make them feel emboldened when they frighten young Jews with threatening rhetoric?
At first, groups of angry young people sought to confront pro-Israel students, faculty, and speakers brought on campus to educate others about Jewish issues. Initially, the interactions appeared relatively civil. However, as coverage by press and television crews expanded, the language and violence intensified. With time and silence and little fear of consequences the belligerent ones began to act as if their First Amendment rights gave them the green light to intimidate Jews.
The question is, why did campus authority figures appear to kowtow rather than unite and publicly oppose such obvious discrimination?
Jewish students who thought they were shielded by the traditional protections offered under Title VI of the landmark U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, soon found they were mistaken. Title VI only prohibited discrimination based on race, color, and national origin; not specifically addressing group acts of repeated religious discrimination. Yet, such was separately addressed within Title VII, as discriminatory practices within employment.
This omission may yet be remedied via individual State focused legislative mandates, or better by amending Title VI, to include discrimination based upon religion as a proscribed discrimination. The latter could then offer broader federal protections to “all students, of all religious beliefs” currently experiencing hostile religious environments on campus. Each to the point it violates their ability to be peacefully educated.
Elected politicians with Middle East attachments could have made a significant contribution towards ameliorating antisemitism. Minnesota and Michigan, U.S. Representatives: Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, respectively, instead became hostile entities within the American-Israel-Palestine-Jewish equation.
Instead of demanding better from these and other representatives, the Democratic Party rewarded Omar with an appointment to the powerful U.S House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a wide reaching stage for both to channel their anti-Israel hostilities. Both Representatives deny being anti-Semitic, yet, their rhetoric often suggests otherwise.
The war against antisemitism (not so much with racism) is proving complicated. At the bare minimum, religious and racial discrimination awareness classes should be incorporated wtogether within educational curriculums across America; as well as being required of elected officials serving all levels of local, state and federal government positions.
Effectively confronting hate against Jews may yet better the nature of American spirit as a nation and serve to once again set the bar of fairness for others to emulate.
Bruce Portnoyis author of the Geo-political thriller, First, the ‘Saturday People’,and then the…; and Opinion Piece contributor to the Jerusalem Post, Miami Herald, Washington Examiner and other media resources.