Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

Bipartisanship in Washington – could it be?

In mid May, Biden signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act to study and combat anti-Asian hatred. The bill passed overwhelmingly, receiving only 63 nay votes between both houses of Congress.

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The new law is a noble cause for a country: to help make sure its minority members don’t feel like people can targeted them with impunity. And anti-Asian hate is on the rise. According to one report, incidents jumped from 49 cases in 2019 to 122 in 2020.

But – and yes, this will sound petty – can we please get an anti-Jew-hatred bill?

You see, for years, proportional to our population numbers, Jews have been the target of hate crimes far more than any other group, according to a study by the American Enterprise Institute based on the FBI’s hate crimes data. (We make up just two percent of the population, but we’ve been the victim of 60 percent of reported anti-religious hate crime.)

In raw numbers, according to the ADL, there were nearly 8,000 separate antisemitic incidents across the country between 2017-20.

But lately, a whole new level of hostility has come to the fore. During the two weeks of Hamas’s terror campaign, antisemitic activity – including physical attacks and synagogue vandalism – rose more than 60 percent over the previous two weeks. That’s sixty percent more than what was already an enormous number.

I apologize for playing the grotesque game of oppression olympics, but the moral failure here is too consequential to ignore. And so are the fun-house mirror absurdities in which progressives have engaged.

Like it or not, Americans are increasingly living in a Progressive Moment, where intersectionality means every marginalized group gets their week or month. But Jews, victims of the oldest hatred in the world? Meh.

Maybe everyone is just exhausted.

And it is exhausting. The explosive device thrown into a crowd of Jews in Manhattan; the Jews who were physically attacked while dining in West Hollywood; the brick thrown through the window of the kosher pizza store on the Upper East Side; the concrete slabs thrown at the shul in Los Angeles; the shuls in Tucson, Salt Lake, and Skokie that were vandalized; the Jewish man in L.A. being chased down by two vehicles as the passengers waved Palestinian flags; the professional soccer player who was cornered by a gang with knives asking if he was Jewish; the swastika and the words “Jews are guilty” graffitied on a Holocaust museum in Florida; the invectives and threats hurled in cities across the country.

Between May 7 and 14, the ADL found more than 17,000 tweets with some variation of the phrase “Hitler was right.”

Over these past few weeks, the ACLU, the iconic bulwark against hate in the U.S., could not find the time – among tweets denouncing ICE, racism, and military detention of Muslim men – to tweet out support for Jews who were facing a barrage of attacks.

No, wait. Actually they did: “Hate crimes in the U.S. are at the highest point in more than a decade,” the group tweeted on May 27. “Increasing attacks on Jewish people, Muslims, Asians and other marginalized communities have no place in our society.”

You may recognize such equivocating cowardice. In 2019, after one of Ilhan Omar’s many dabblings in classic antisemitic tropes, the House of Representatives was initially going to condemn her remarks and pass a resolution denouncing antisemitism. But since progressive orthodoxy dictates that you cannot condemn antisemitism without throwing in other forms of oppression, the resolution condemned all hate:

“Whereas white supremacists in the United States have exploited and continue to exploit bigotry and weaponized hate for political gain,” the resolution said, “targeting traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence…”

Hey, I think I see Jews on that list!

To paraphrase Syndrome from The Incredibles: If every hate is condemned, you’ve effectively condemned no hate.

Watered-down condemnation of antisemitism was on full display in the last few weeks on Twitter. To wit:

Rep. Ayanna Pressley: “I strongly condemn the rise in anti-Semitism and islamophobia we’re seeing across the country.”

Rep. Cori Bush: “The work of dismantling anti-Semitism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian racism, and every other form of hate is OUR work.”

Rep Marie Newman: “Over the past several months, we’ve seen a rise in antisemtic and Islamophobic attacks across the country.”

Julian Castro: “…we must forcefully condemn anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks.”

And this peach from NYC Councilman Brad Lander: “We’ve seen far too many acts of hate this year fueled by political rhetoric, whether assaults on Asian New Yorkers, anti-Semitic violence in Midtown, anti-Palestinian hate sprayed on mosques, or anti-Black slurs. NYC, we stand together against any form of identity-based hate.”

Of course, Bernie Sanders, godfather of the Squad, had one too: “We’ve recently seen disturbing anti-Semitic attacks and a troubling rise in Islamophobia.”

(Sanders, for the record, also said this in a New York Times op-ed, “No one is arguing that Israel… does not have the right to self-defense or to protect its own people.” Um, Bernie, but people are arguing this, and the chants are coming from inside your own supporter base.)

Many campuses, which for decades have been at the vanguard of double standards toward antisemitism, continue to treat their Jewish students as less-than. Last week, the chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Christopher J. Molloy, issued a statement expressing concern regarding the rise of antisemitism. Mind you, the statement put the concern in the context of “racial injustices” and “oppression and other assaults against Hindus and Muslims,” and concluded with the expected “We call out all forms of bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, xenophobia, and oppression…” Still this was not enough for the Jews-must-never-garner-sympathy mob.

The next day, after the Students for Justice in Palestine group released a lengthy denunciation of the chancellor, Molloy said, in part, this: “In hindsight, it is clear to us that the message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused.”

Something is different and scarier now, something that our brothers and sisters who live in Europe recognize well, but that we have not seen in the U.S. in most of our lifetimes.

In 2019, disaffected youth tormented and attacked mostly chassidic Jews in Brooklyn, in one of the worst waves of antisemitic attacks in decades. As vile and menacing as they were, at least no one in power supported them (even as many on the Left ignored it, too busy focused on blaming all antisemitism in the last five years on Trump).

But this new form has the weight of powerful support on its side, receiving tacit approval from members of Congress and almost explicit approval from other institutions of power. Influencers with tens of millions of followers have been among those posting that Israel had no right to exist, and that the Nazis should have finished the job.

The New York Times followed its decision to title one of its opinion columns “Attacks on Jews Over Israel Are a Gift to the Right,” with disgraceful coverage – including yet again publishing a fake picture of a Gaza victim – which has indirectly led to attacks on Jews in the streets of America.

As the U.S. enters a new, very dangerous moment of Jew-hatred, Jewish leadership and concerned Americans in power must come up with concrete steps to keep the assaults and hatred at bay.

And as citizens figure out the right things to do individually to address the hate, there is one thing not to do: Don’t become complacent.

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Shlomo Greenwald is the senior editor of The Jewish Press.