I fear for my children and grandchildren. As a child of Holocaust survivors, I was always aware of the history of our people and what my parents survived – and what most of their family did not survive. As a child, I often dreamed of being chased by Nazis. The good thing about dreams is that I was always able to evade capture by simply waking up. But the dreams felt so real to me.
My parents did not talk a lot about their experiences, but what they did say was enough for me to grasp what they had lived through, enough for me to miss the extended family I never had, enough that it became an integral part of my being.
Nevertheless, I was always grateful that my parents started a new life in America where such atrocities could never happen and where we could feel safe. Or so I thought.
I never imagined that anti-Semitism would hit so close to home – in my lifetime – in my country. Never did I imagine that Europe would once again become a breeding ground for anti-Semitism. The Holocaust did not happen that long ago. Surely lessons were learned. Surely the words “Never again!” had meaning. Surely the life Holocaust survivors worked so hard to build would be respected. Surely the State of Israel – fought for with blood, sweat, and tears – would be appreciated for its miraculous achievements, the light unto other nations it is meant to be.
But like a bucket of cold water waking us up from our reverie, swastikas are now defacing property in Paris, cemeteries are defaced, and Jews are attacked – on the streets of Europe and in universities, Jewish centers, and neighborhood streets in the U.S. How could this happen?
In Europe, Jews in Belgium were recently witness to a float at a parade showing chassidic Jews holding money bags, one of them with a rat on his shoulder. The float was meant to protest rising prices and was called “Shabbos Day.” I waited for the media outrage. It never came.
There was always an excuse for anti-Semitism. Jews were blamed for everything from economic depression to unequal prosperity. Jews were always easy targets. Is it different today?
Is it different in America? Anti-Semitism has now become mainstream in the media and Democrat Party. If not always accepted, it is much too easily dismissed or excused. An insincere apology for an outrageous anti-Semitic trope is acceptable enough; let’s move on.
Three proud anti-Semites have actually been elected to serve in the once hallowed halls of Congress. Ilhan Omar has said that Israel has hypnotized the world and that the world should be wary of evil Israel. “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she quipped. Maybe she helped design the float in Belgium. If not, she certainly would have approved of it.
Omar and her colleague Rashida Tlaib have shamelessly aired the old anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalty. The both support BDS – as does self-proclaimed Democrat progressive socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who supports her colleagues. All three ladies have refused to condemn Farrakhan, who has praised Omar and offered his support.
Although anti-Semitism exists on the Right as well as the Left, the root of anti-Semitism today stems from Left and the anti-Semites with leadership positions in the Democrat Party. It stems from the influx of immigrants from America-hating and Jew-hating countries.
Never did I imagine that in the post-Holocaust years – after, “Never again” and “Am Yisrael Chai” –Jews in Europe would be grappling with the decision of whether to flee their homes once again. Never did I imagine that American Jews would be wondering how anti-Semitism could have risen in our wonderful country. But it has, and I am frightened.