To say we’re living through a unique period of time is an understatement. Unfortunately, what’s not unique is the pervasive anti-Semitism in certain sectors of the country and the failure of many Jewish organizations to tackle it.
In May, numerous synagogues and Jewish-owned buildings and stores in L.A. were defaced – in some cases, torched. Many were desecrated with vile anti-Semitic graffiti.
Paul Koretz, a Fairfax district councilman, said, “[T]he Kosher Mensch Bakery and Kitchen and the Jewish-owned clothing store Go Couture were destroyed. Stores on the fashionable Melrose Avenue, were also damaged, as were multiple Jewish institutions in the area: Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Tivereth Avi/Morasha Educational Centre, Shaarei Tefilah Synagogue, and the Shalhevet school for girls.”
Jonathan Friedman, owner of Syd’s Pharmacy, stood helplessly with his friends as a mob broke into his pharmacy on Beverly Blvd. As reported in The Forward, Friedman stated, “They stole all the narcotics and damaged the floors and entrance. I estimate the damage is over $100,000.”
Absurdly, some would have you believe they were just memorializing George Floyd.
Marnina Wirtschafter, a 26-year-old Jewish resident of L.A. was outraged and felt it was her duty “to show up for others” because “it’s the Jewish thing to do.” Shamefully, she wasn’t referring to the aforementioned anti-Semitic riot. Instead she was referring to a Black Lives Matter (BLM) march at which Wirtshafter pontificated: “We need to continue to read and uplift black voices. We need to…let your own community know that you are no longer willing to be complacent in racism.”
Another Jewish woman, Kelsey Goldberg, 31, chimed in that she has attended many Black Lives Matter protests and has been involved with social justice activism for several years.
Why weren’t these ladies outraged over the injustices their fellow Jews had just suffered by the very group they were marching with? Aren’t Jews living in their own town also entitled to justice?
In a tweet, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, pointed out what should have been obvious to all: “BlackLivesMatter is an anti-Semitic, Israel hating, Soros funded, racist, Israelophobic hate group.”
For expressing what only the willfully blind could deny, Klein was subjected to an anguished outcry of hate. Vociferously, he was denounced as a racist, bigot, and xenophobe. But if you think the recriminations came from BLM, you’re once again sadly mistaken.
Sixteen of the 51 member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a letter condemning Klein’s comments and calling for the ZOA’s removal of the from the Conference of Presidents. Not one word was said by any of these 16 groups about the anti-Semitic riots just days earlier.
This past December, a black man named Grafton Thomas crashed a Chanukah party at the house of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, NY. Brandishing a butcher knife, he immediately began stabbing five people, one of whom, Rabbi Josef Newmann, succumbed to his injuries.
Investigators found handwritten journals expressing anti-Semitic views, including material about Adolf Hitler and “Nazi culture” among Thomas’s possessions. With so much evidence and numerous guests at the party who could identify him as the assailant, you would think it was a slam dunk case. Guess again.
This past April, a federal judge ruled Grafton was incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to be hospitalized in a mental facility. He certainly was competent enough to research Nazi culture, cross state lines, seek out the rabbi’s address, and commit murder. But he evidently is not competent enough to stand trial.
There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t heard of George Floyd. Why isn’t the name of Rabbi Newmann equally familiar? I think all unbiased, serious minded people know the answer to this question.
Too many Jewish leaders fail miserably to confront the scourge of anti-Jewish violence, opting instead to support groups such as Black Lives Matter that inspire the anti-Semitism we’re now witnessing.
The opening paragraph of a recent news article reads: “More than 400 Jewish organizations and synagogues in the United States…have signed on to a letter that asserts unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.” Regrettably, not one word about the outrages committed against Jews by members and supporters of this group.