Antisemitism From the Left
Betsy has had a distinguished career but she seems unaware that antisemitism has always had its principal home on the Left. Karl Marx himself despised Jews even though he was one. And Hitler was a socialist.
By comparison, antisemitism among conservatives was always a token thing, a hangover from Christian enmity towards the people who had slain the Christians' God. So the British Conservative party made a Jew their Prime Minister in the late 19th century and Neville Chamberlain had some antisemitic views but he was the British Prime Minister who declared war on Hitler
Jews are feeling increasingly afraid and unwelcome. Last week, girls on the basketball team of a Jewish private school in suburban Hartsdale, New York, were jabbed and hit with antisemitic slurs by players from Yonkers' Roosevelt High School. "I support Hamas, you f---ing Jew," a Roosevelt player snarled. The game had to be called off in the third quarter, and the Jewish girls needed school security to help them leave.
Antisemitic incidents were already on the rise in 2021 and 2022. Now they are up nearly 400% year over year since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack against Israel, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt explains, "I am not talking about, you know, stores producing IDF T-shirts. I'm talking about a coffee shop on Long Island, an ice cream parlor in the Bay Area, a restaurant in Chicago." It reminds him of his grandparents' barbershop, which was vandalized by the Nazis in Germany. "I can't believe this is happening in our country today."
The mainstream media choose to downplay it and the Democratic Party is, at best, divided. Antisemitism has often come from the Right, but it appears now to be coming from the Left.
When the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania caused outrage by saying at a congressional hearing in December that calls for Jewish genocide don't necessarily violate campus policy -- "it depends on the context" -- Democrats' reactions were mixed.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) had no problem with moral clarity. "There is no 'both sides-ism' and it isn't 'free speech,' it's simply hate speech," Fetterman said. It should be "reflexive" to "condemn antisemitism."
But former President Barack Obama, the titular head of the party, had a different response. He reached out to Harvard and made a behind-the-scenes effort to save President Claudine Gay's job.
On Dec. 13, the House of Representatives voted on a resolution to condemn antisemitism on campuses and demand the resignations of the presidents of Harvard and MIT for tolerating it. Democrats split, with 84 supporting the resolution and 125 opposing. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called it a "gross overreach" to tell colleges whom they should hire.
Sorry. If the discrimination had been against black students, the vote would have been unanimous, and Democrats would have clamored to pull federal funding from the colleges. But Jewish students can pound salt.
Jewish hostages, too. The public's indifference to the eight American Jews captive in Gaza, the media's silence and President Joe Biden's tepid efforts to get them released, are telling.
Recall that during Jimmy Carter's presidency, 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and endured 444 days of captivity.
During that ordeal, Americans tied yellow ribbons around trees and Walter Cronkite announced on the nightly CBS news how many days the hostages had been captive. Carter's failure to get them out contributed to his landslide loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980.
That's unlikely to be a factor this November because this time, so few Americans care.
Granted, there are only eight hostages, and they were not serving the U.S. in an official capacity when they were taken. Even so, the silence is troubling.
In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama made it a cause celebre when 200 Nigerian school girls were abducted. They weren't Americans, but she said, "In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters."
Prominent Democrats today are not holding signs saying "Bring Back Our Hostages." Families of the American hostages released an ongoing TV ad on Jan. 7 to fill the void and build awareness.
Over the centuries, hatred of Jews has come from many directions. The latest wave appears linked to progressive opposition to Israel's treatment of Palestinians, according to a study done by Arie Perliger, director of security studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. All Jews must bear the guilt, the thinking goes.
By failing to condemn antisemitism, politicians, academics and their media allies are doing our enemies' bidding. One week ago, ISIS released a 67-minute diatribe calling for the destruction of Jews worldwide to avenge Israeli strikes against Gaza. The message was "kill them wherever you find them."
Meanwhile, Jewish families privately talk at the dinner table about Anne Frank, hiding in attics, and where this new wave of antisemitism could lead.
It's time for all Americans to denounce it.