There are all too many signs that antisemitism has morphed into a more sophisticated form and is less of a concern for Americans than it once was. The thinly disguised antisemitic venom spewed by some progressives in Congress – they call it anti-Zionism – notoriously goes unaddressed by its leadership. This despite it being long past the time that any serious person believes that their singling out the Jewish state for special criticism has nothing to do with the Jewishness of Israel.
Consider, also, that in the wake of the claims that a mishap in a laboratory in China resulted in the release of the coronavirus on the world, anti-Asian hate attacks began to proliferate. As a result, Congress promptly enacted and President Biden immediately signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. Yet, although appalling as those attacks were, they nowhere approached the number of anti-Jewish attacks over the years, nor the increase during the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas. Yet one does not hear any calls for special legislation.
But here is a more insidious development as well. Thus, as reports mounted of Jews being punched, spat at, intimidated and singled out for violence and harassment, Sen. Bernie Sanders declared: “We’ve recently seen disturbing antisemitic attacks and a troubling rise in Islamophobia. If you are committed to a future of equality and peaceful coexistence, please stand united against anyone who promotes hatred of any kind.”
Similarly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that “antisemitism has no place in our country or world. Neither does Islamophobia.” But where are the reports of an outbreak of attacks against Muslims? Nowhere, but both Sanders and Warren reflect people in high places unable to bring themselves to deplore antisemitism as a distinct problem.
Consider the following incident at Rutgers University. It seems that the chancellor of the New Jersey school issued a statement condemning antisemitism and then, in the wake of flak from a pro-Palestinan group, apologized for it.
The original statement had condemned “all forms of bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, xenophobia…”
The next day, Rutgers’s Students for Justice in Palestine issued a statement condemning the chancellor’s statement, saying that it “conveniently ignores the extent to which Palestinians have been brutalized by Israel’s occupation and bombing of Gaza” and “cannot be separated from widespread attempts to conflate anti-zionism with anti-Semitism and derail Palestinian voices and activism.”
Later that day, the chancellor issued another statement: “In hindsight, it is clear to us that the [original] message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused.”
So it is no longer de riguer to consider Jews as the special targets they have been over the centuries.