Politicians are known for being able to harness these fears and manipulate us into projecting them onto other issues. Political fear mongering from both sides of the aisle seems to be at one of its highest points in a very long time. Republicans scare people by using migrant caravans and the prospect of a female Speaker of the House to propel their base into action by either donating to campaigns or voting. Democrats are scaring people by constantly reminding them of the poor character exhibited by our President, and accusing Republicans of acting discriminantly towards minorities and women.
It seems as though the only topic that hasn’t been conquered by our politicians’ keen ability to turn anything into a hyper-partisan competition of who can scare the most people into voting, and that subject is Israel. Needless to say, the global Jewish community has been the most violated, abused and oppressed minority group. Jews have survived Egyptian enslavement for hundreds of years, blood libels, the Holocaust, attacks from Christians who believe the Jews killed Jesus and constant scapegoating on everything from the Black Death to the Treaty of Versailles. In the wake of one of the most horrific tragedies in American history, no one’s talking about the state of global antisemitism. The Tree of Life Synagogue attack wasn’t just one crazy man — the shooting was a manifestation of global hatred to an otherwise peaceful people who practice traditional values and acceptance.
The Council on Foreign Relations invited Jeffrey Goldberg, an expert on Middle Eastern politics, to their podcasts to discuss global antisemitism in the wake of the shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue. Goldberg describes the Jewish situation, in Europe specifically, to be so dire that Jews are actually fleeing Europe at alarming rates. Since 1945, the Jewish population in Europe has dropped by over 65% according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center. As memories of the Holocaust fade in Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise.
Marine Le Pen, once a prolific front-runner in the French presidential election in 2015, said that German-occupied France “was not particularly inhumane, even if there were a few blunders.” Across the channel in England, the Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is currently under investigation for anti-Semitic actions that would constitute a hate crime under British law. While it may be difficult to connect anti-Semitism in Europe to one man’s actions in the United States, we must not forget that America is not without sin. This past March, there were “protests” along the West Bank’s border between Israel and Palestine. These protests are still ongoing, but with less violence on both sides. American media outlets reported these events as “A Day of Grieving”, or that Palestinians are “keeping the protests as nonviolent as possible”, and even likening a picture of a Palestinian launching an object towards Israeli defenses as Eugene Delacroix’s famous painting of the 1830 Paris uprising.
While most media outlets both foreign and domestic paint the Palestinians as the victims, a closer examination of the actions of the Israeli forces and the Palestinian mobs reveals what’s really going on. Palestinians demonstrate at the Israeli border every year on the same day, called “Nakba Day” by locals on the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces knew this was coming and prepared accordingly. The Israeli forces set up a tight guard at the border and began dropping leaflets over Gaza City and around the West Bank, begging Palestinians to stay back from the border. The leaflets were clear, if the protestors were going to cause trouble and attempt to scale the border walls, they will be shot without warning. Sure enough, when Nakba day came around, Palestinians became hostile and began attempting to climb the walls. NPR reports that Palestinians were waving kites with swastikas on it to taunt the Israeli soldiers. NPR tries to take a pro-Palestinian stance by asking the kite flyers what they think about Israelis “using [the kites] to discredit you]. By asking this question, NPR tries to give the Palestinian a chance to appear sympathetic to the world. The kite-flyer then replies, “this is actually what we want them to know, that we want to burn them.” Six million Jews died in the Holocaust, and Israel is attempting to defend itself against Palestinians who literally want to scale the border walls and burn every last Jew in Israel. The expressed desire of the Palestinians to burn the Jews in Israel is what gave the border guards good cause to defend themselves and their country from the onslaught that would have occurred had the guards not done their job.
In American society, there is a tendency for people to think that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past since the Holocaust, but the truth is that it’s still around, and likely not going anywhere. A recent op-ed written by the national director for the Anti-Defamation League reported that anti-Semitic attacks on college campuses are on the rise, up 57% from just last year. The fact of the matter is that this issue is nonpartisan, and is deserved of a bipartisan effort to combat hate crimes against the most discriminated minority in human history. The best thing we can do as a society to combat anti-Semitism is to make sure that Israel is safe and the Jewish community is protected. Societal institutions, be it government agencies, officials, or the media must also be indiscriminately reprimanded for their anti-Semitic bias. In the wake of the Tree of Life atrocity, it’s time that everybody recognizes one of the largest injustices in the world. It’s important for all of us to support Jewish advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League and others, as well as supporting all of our local Jewish communities, and calling out those who do not.
Photo contirbuted by Redlands Bulldog photographer Briana Weekes.