Being Anti-Semitic seems to be en vogue these days, not that it every really went out of style. Even while our governments were focusing on anti-Asian or anti-Muslim or anti-black hate crimes, the Jews were still at the top of the hate crime statistics. The question is: who is the biggest threat to the Jews in America – the Left or the Right?
It is important to lay down some ground rules for this. No matter the source, Anti-Semitism is intolerable. As a reader, you probably know my history on this subject and know I do not accept hatred of Jews from any source. I have written on this subject many times over the forty years of my columns.
Our federal government and an array of left of center groups want you to believe the problem comes from White Supremacy on the right. That is despite the recent attempt by Democrats to defend a virulent anti-Semite from being removed from a Congressional committee she should never have been on.
There are several problems with this theory. The groups they focus on are made out to have a vast network, but not if you read the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) study on the issue from 2015. They state that the hatred generates from groups originally formed against blacks and then extended to Jews. The report states, “It became increasingly commonplace among white supremacists that whites were being drowned by a rising tide of color—controlled and manipulated by Jews.”
What is the state of these groups? As the ADL study reports, “The reality is that the organized segments of the white supremacist movement today are, for the most part, simply not very healthy. Of the five main white supremacist movements, four are relatively stagnant or even in decline at the moment.”
More importantly, these groups bond together in their hatred for Jews, blacks and/or any other non-white people. Not even the ADL could say they have a political philosophy akin to Conservatives or Republicans. I am sure they would not condone Senator Tim Scott (black) or Congresswoman Michelle Steel (Korean) both Republicans. Why exactly are they branded as right-wing groups? These groups have been disavowed by every Republican of which I am aware.
That being said, where is the problem really radiating from? The Left and largely from college campuses. The crux of the problem here is college campuses are mainstream in American life. Though the numbers are down substantially from pre-pandemic levels, 15.9 million students are attending American colleges. We all know that astronomical numbers of professors and administrators are left-of-center with many being full out Leftists.
Though it rarely hits the mainstream media there regularly are incidents of campus attacks on Jewish students. Much of the hatred is disguised as either anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian. That is just a guise. As this column has described in the past Israel exhibits all the features of Left philosophy. Women and minorities are embraced. Gays and the various categories affiliated with that movement are openly accepted. Religious tolerance for all is accepted including a growing Christian population as they are run out of many Arab countries. The Palestinians harbor none of these beliefs. Makes you wonder what the Left sees in their cause.
The anti-Israel attacks go way beyond the existence of the country. They are clearly attacks on the underlying concept of the country and Jews.
One group that catalogues and confronts the raging anti-Semitism on campus is StandWithUs. They have a broad campus program to help educate students and others about Israel and Judaism while coordinating with other campus-related organizations like Hillel. They have documented hundreds of anti-Israel/anti-Zionism attacks on campuses disguised to hide they are really anti-Jew. Many of these incidents were supported by professors and condoned as campus activities.
StandWithUs has made a major push to communicate on social media with college students as that is where they are receiving much of their communication. They present a counterbalance to the significant levels of anti-Semitic information being trafficked on the various different websites.
Another group, AMCHA Initiative, has a new report delineating how bad things are for Jewish students. A quote from the study well worth reading tells us, “No other campus identity group is routinely subject to the kinds of well-orchestrated campaigns of identity assault that Zionist and pro-Israel students have had to endure for the last several years at schools across the country. These have included efforts to boycott, shut down, or exclude all Zionists and pro-Israel expression from campus, defamatory portrayals of Zionists that use classic antisemitic tropes of Jewish evil, and attempts to erase Zionism from Jewish identity.”
Then there are the activities that are restricted on campus largely against Jews. One infamous incident recently was groups at Berkeley restricting any pro-Israeli speakers. Even the head of their law school, Erwin Chemerinsky, could not call for these groups being kicked off campus though these groups would be if taking a similar position against feminist or gay speakers.
There is significant concern that these campuses and educators are breeding millions of young adults to harbor anti-Israel sentiments, thus anti-Jew. Students are very well aware of the activities on campus, especially the controversial ones, and they see the power structure. None of these activities would exist without the support of the university power structure. Certainly, the acquiescence of the power structure.
The Biden administration will not go after the universities because they are their allies. Deborah Lipstadt, United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, should make this a focus of her efforts, but it is doubtful since she comes from the university environment.
Anti-Semitism will continue to rage as long as our efforts are misdirected by misguided priorities. It is high time to squash it where it is producing the most harm.