It has recently seemed that not a day goes by without one report or another of a Jewish man or woman being thrown to the ground or otherwise attacked by young hoodlums and their hats and sheitlach respectively knocked off their heads. In the not so distant past, few would have had a problem with the notion of going public with condemnations of such phenomena that most understood to be rooted in a unique, historical Jewish-Christian theological divide that for centuries spawned atrocities against Jews. Nor would there have been much doubt that the recent spate of anti-Jewish attacks made the current situation ripe for such focused interventions.
But according to some in the “woke” community, anti-Semitism may never be a stand alone for attention, even if history and facts on the ground suggest otherwise.
Consider the mess April Powers, the former diversity officer at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a leading advocate for children’s book authors, recently got herself into when, representing the group, she penned a statement denouncing the recent surge of attacks against Jews, but neglected to specifically condemn Islamophobia as well.
To be sure she cited the recent uptick in crimes against Jewish people and also had said in her statement she invited everyone to “join us in not looking away in speaking out against all forms of hate including anti-Semitism.”
Yet the backlash was as swift as it was overwhelming and Ms. Powers promptly resigned and issued an apology to her colleagues saying, she “neglected to address the rise in Islamphobia, and deeply regret that omission….As someone who is vehemently against Islamophobia and hate speech of any kind, I understand that intention is not impact and I am so sorry. While this doesn’t fix the pain [caused]by y mishandling of this moment, I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies…”
It is to be noted that Ms. Powers didn’t cite any rise in Islamophobic acts which is significant in itself. But it was the statement issued by the group’s executive director, Lin Oliver, accepting the Powers resignation, that indicated that there was something else in play here as well. Thus, in her statement, Ms. Lin also apologized to “everyone in the Palestinian community who felt unrepresented, silenced or marginalized….SCBWI acknowledges the pain our actions have caused to our Muslim and Palestinian members and hope that we can heal from this moment.”
So we have a pretty good idea what Ms. Oliver was reacting to – and it was not concern for hate attacks against Muslims on our city streets. Yet why would she expect Powers to have specifically mentioned Palestinians in a statement that was about anti-Semitism – unless of course she agrees that anti-Zionism is a modern form of anti-Semitism. More than likely, she and others consider Zionism an ongoing hate crime against Palestinians.
We must be vigilant about this mindless distortion of what a hate crime is, as it unfortunately seems to be attracting ever greater participants.