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The Far Left and the Far Right Agree on Jew Hatred

Mona Charen 10-13 minutes 12/6/2023
Protestors demonstrate at City Hall during a ‘Children's March for Palestine’ on December 2, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

THEY CAME WAVING PALESTINIAN FLAGS and clad in the keffiyehs that have become a symbol of the Palestinian cause. Dozens of chanting protesters crowded the street outside Goldie, a vegan restaurant serving Israeli-inspired dishes in central Philadelphia, blocking traffic and chanting “Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.”

What does this restaurant have to do with the war in Gaza? Nothing. It serves falafel to Philadelphians. It is owned by a Jew, who was born near Tel Aviv. And that’s enough.

Goldie is hardly alone. Across the United States and around the world, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, Jewish-owned businesses, and individual Jews are facing harassment, vandalism, and even murder in the aftermath of the October 7 attack on Israel. Just two days after the Hamas terror attack, a Jewish student who tried to paint the Israeli flag on a “free speech rock” at Wayne State University was shoved and called a “fucking Zionist.” A week later, a woman was punched in the face at Grand Central Terminal. When she asked her attacker why, he said “Because you’re a Jew.”

In Brooklyn, three teens on scooters beat up a 40-year-old worshiper as he was exiting a synagogue. They later attacked a 15-year-old, shouting, “Free Palestine!” In Manhattan, a Jewish woman who objected when two others tore down a poster of a kidnapped Israeli child was set upon by the two women, who punched her, scratched her face, and pulled her hair, yanking off her star of David necklace and shouting “Fuck Israel. Fuck your white privilege.”

In Omaha, a vandal spray-painted a home next to a synagogue with a hateful message. The homeowner isn’t Jewish, though he had put a sign on the lawn reading “In this house, we stand with Israel.”

At the University of Minnesota, the Jewish student center erected a display showing the faces of children kidnapped by Hamas. It’s been kicked over and damaged twice.

In Pittsburgh, just a few blocks from the Tree of Life synagogue, scene of the deadliest attack on Jews in American history, homes were defaced with graffiti proclaiming “Free Palestine,” “Death 2 America,” and “I stand with Gaza.”

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In Thousand Oaks, California, a pro-Palestine demonstrator struck a 69-year-old Jewish man in the head. He later died of his wounds.

In Williamsburg, Virginia, a local rabbi asked the organizers of an annual music and arts festival if it would be okay to light a menorah for Hanukkah. He was told that he could do so only if he also displayed a “ceasefire” banner.

These are snapshots of a broad phenomenon. The Anti-Defamation League reports that anti-Jewish acts—harassment, vandalism, battery, and murder—have increased more than 300 percent since the 10/7 attacks. In London, the Metropolitan police tracked a 1,353 percent increase in antisemitic acts in the first week after the 10/7 attack. Germany reports a 240 percent increase. The figures are similar in France, Italy, Australia, and other countries.

The Israel/Hamas war has also inflamed anti-Palestinian rage—at least in the United States. In one case, this led to a horrific murder. A six year old child whose parents were from the West Bank was stabbed and his mother seriously wounded by a knife wielding landlord in Illinois. The 71-year-old assailant, who has been charged with murder and attempted murder, said he was upset about the news from the Middle East. And in Burlington, Vermont, three Palestinian college students were shot on the street simply for being identifiably Palestinian. All survived, but one may be paralyzed from the waist down.

There are also reports of an increase in threats against American Muslims, though, aside from the two terrible attacks in Illinois and Vermont, there doesn’t seem to be a great wave of anti-Muslim sentiment surging in the nation or the world.

What would the response have been if we had seen one? If, in the wake of 10/7, we had seen mosques defaced, Muslim students harassed and made fearful, Muslim homes vandalized, posters of kidnapped Palestinian children ripped down (work with me here), death threats posted online against Muslim Students Associations, individual Muslims shoved, slapped, and punched “because you’re a Muslim,” and hordes of protesters carrying Israeli flags and chanting “From the river to the sea, Israel will be Arab-free!” we’d have no trouble labeling what was going on, would we?

Admittedly, there might have been a smidgeon of understanding; talk of “contextualizing” the response in light of the savage, sadistic nature of the Hamas attack on innocent Israeli men, women, and children—but still, most fair minded people would have no difficulty identifying the response as straight up anti-Muslim bigotry. Because whatever one’s feelings about the rights and wrongs of the Israel/Hamas conflict, it’s obvious that any individual Muslim cannot be made to bear the guilt of what his co-religionists have done or are doing.

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We don’t hold Muslims in Dearborn responsible for the acts of Muslims in Jakarta. We don’t call in threats to their mosques or harass random Muslim engineers because the Muslim regimes in Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, and Syria are persecuting Christians. Muslims in London are not held responsible for the actions of the Turkish regime, which promotes anti-Christian (and antisemitic) propaganda, far less for the grotesque crimes of the Islamic State.

Nor, of course, did we harass or persecute Buddhists due to the actions of the Burmese regime, which viciously persecuted its Rohingya Muslim minority, or individual Chinese Americans for China’s oppression of the Uighurs, or individual Catholics for the actions of the IRA, or individual Protestants for the acts of the Ulster Defense Association. We don’t harass individual Russians for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

That’s not how this works. In America, we believe in treating everyone as an individual, not as the mere representative of the group he or she may belong to. Every individual has rights and those rights vest when they come to this country. You may hail from Ramallah. You may celebrate Ramadan and wish for the destruction of the Jewish state. But no one can assume anything about you. Your beliefs are your own business as long as you live in peace with your neighbors. No one can molest you for being of Palestinian origin. That’s our creed.

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So why is it so hard to see what is happening to Jews in the United States and around the world for what it is? Individual American (or European or Australian) Jews are not responsible for Israel’s actions. They may support them, though surprisingly often they do not. But that’s irrelevant. Isn’t it odd that the very people decrying what they call “collective punishment” of Palestinians in Gaza can’t see a contradiction in holding a Jew in Los Angeles responsible for what happens in Khan Younis?

There’s another wrinkle here that helps illustrate what is happening. Many of the antisemitic protests and harassments began before Israel retaliated for the 10/7 terror attack. They were, in effect, celebrations of Israeli victimization. They didn’t chant, ‘Not in our name’ after Hamas gang raped women to the point of breaking their pelvises and filled their vaginas with nails and rocks before shooting them in the face. Protesters carried placards proclaiming, “By any means necessary”—as blatant an endorsement of terrorizing civilians as you can find.

None of the protests, as Sen. John Fetterman observed in the wake of the Goldie restaurant demonstration, focused on Hamas. “They could be protesting Hamas,” Fetterman tweeted. “They could be protesting Hamas’ systematic rape of Israeli women and girls or demanding the remaining hostages be immediately released.” There are no rallies in London or Paris demanding that Hamas release the hostages or permit the Red Cross to visit them. And the United Nations organization responsible for speaking up for women? Silence about the brutal, inhuman attacks on Israeli women and girls. Israeli first responders and civic organizations forwarded the evidence, including videos made by the terrorists themselves, to UN Women. Nothing for eight long weeks until Sheryl Sandberg and protesters in the UN lobby shamed them into a belated statement.

No, the upsurge in antisemitism wasn’t a response to the IDF’s campaign to wipe out Hamas. The initial wave was approval for killing and torturing Jews.

Some on the far left couldn’t see that, but guess who could? The far right. Remember Charlottesville? Some of the same lowlifes, like the National Justice Party, are now showing up at anti-Israel rallies. At a D.C. rally, its leader told the crowd that Israel “is a pure genocidal state, make no mistake. We Americans have been snookered into supporting [Israel] by Jewish control of our banks, our media, and our politicians, but we have to say enough and rise up as a people.”

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Another neo-Nazi group, NSC-131, hung banners from an overpass near Boston that read “Free Palestine,” and “End Jewish terror.”

Those groups are fringe, but they have friends in very influential places. Tucker Carlson, for example, has used his X-supported platform to denounce those who warn of rising antisemitism on college campuses as “hypocrites” because they have not condemned the supposed support for “white genocide” at American universities. He then went straight for the antisemitic trope about Jewish money, saying, “You were paying for it. You were calling my children immoral for their skin color, you paid for that. Why shouldn't I be mad at you? I don't understand.” Carlson has brought the “great replacement” conspiracy theory—the belief that Jews are masterminding the import of dark skinned immigrants to replace the white majority in America—into the mainstream. That was the very idea that motivated the Tree of Life killer.

Similarly, Carlson’s patron, Elon Musk, having opened the sluice gates for bigotry and antisemitism on X, endorsed a tweet asserting that “Jewish communities [sic] have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”

The fever swamps are on our phones and in our social media feeds now. When conspiracies are loosed upon the world, it always comes back to the Jews. Whatever side you’re on, if you think it’s only the other side that has this problem, think again.

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