Is Antisemitism becoming Mainstream in America?

Only days after the UN special rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, released a report to denounce antisemitism titled "Combating Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief", one would tend to be a bit hopeful for the Jewish people. The report was described by many as "unprecedented." Considering the United Nation's apparent obsession with faulting Israel over any other country in the world, it was indeed unprecedented. The rapporteur understands that antisemitism is often unreported or under-reported. The report delineates the global distribution of almost 15 million Jews and then continues to identify the age-old diatribes against the Jews such as the murder of Jesus (deicide), the blood libel, ritual murder and control of the world.

He continued to expose the lies against the Jews and wrote, "Many of these negative stereotypes were promulgated in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a discredited forgery widely disseminated in the Middle East alleging a secret Jewish plan for world domination, written in the late nineteenth century." He also denounced Holocaust denial and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement. He went on to list global violence and online antisemitism as part of the problem.

Furthermore, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, spent some time reiterating the definition of antisemitism and what constituted acts of Jew-hatred. He also listed the few countries that are said to have taken action against the perpetrators of acts of antisemitism, but very vaguely, if at all, described what the punitive actions were. Finally, he gave some good recommendations such as, "States should enact and enforce hate crime legislation that recognizes antisemitism as a prohibited bias motivation and that is clear, concrete and easy to understand. States should impose systems, routines and training in place to ensure that relevant officials recognize antisemitic hate crimes and record them as such." But frankly, as good as they might be, I fear that they will go no further than the written report.

My reason for not being so hopeful is simply because I have noticed the lack of interest from the main public. People are often apathetic when it comes to antisemitism sometimes they might even be favorable. The issue is not helped by the fact that we have people in the US Congress such as Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and AOC. Their blatant antisemitic stance assures that the anti-Zionist and anti-Israel agendas are being pushed forward and normalized. Antisemitism is rapidly becoming mainstream. When we see Jewish men in Brooklyn being hit on the street at random, swastikas and other antisemitic symbols being written in various places around the globe with almost no reaction from the public, I worry! Not to mention the Pittsburg and San Diego synagogue shootings.

A very good test to determine if we are indeed going in the tragic direction of mainstreaming antisemitism is the 3D test created years ago by Natan Sharansky. The three Ds are Demonization, Delegitimization and Double-standards. Sharansky explains, "There is always place for criticism of Israel, as there is for criticism of any other free society. But it must not cross the line of anti-Semitism. When people talk about Israel, we have to identify whether these three elements of delegitimization, demonization and double standards apply to judge whether that criticism is tainted with anti-Semitism."

I agree with him that criticism of Israel doesn't necessarily need to be always seen as antisemitism. Unfortunately, the BDS movement–as one example– was never intended to bring balance to the Middle East by pressuring Israel with various boycotts. They are not even hiding their agenda anymore when for example, we hear from US university professor As-ad Abukhalil who claims that, "the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel … that should be stated as an unambiguous goal… Justice and Freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel."

The level of creativity or I should say craziness to which Israel haters will go to, never ceases to amaze me. Just when I thought that they reached their apex, antisemites joined a conference called " Global Climate Strike" to accuse Israel of "Climate Apartheid." For obvious reasons of exposure to the world, the conference took place at the same time as the United Nations General Assembly in New York from September 20-27, 2019. It was geared to motivate young people to speak up on the issue of climate change. What in the world is "climate apartheid against Palestinians" anyway?

This is part of what is being stated by the conference organizers," been engineered by complicit corporations and governments that put profit before people and planet. The least powerful are the most affected by the climate crisis. With no control over their land or natural resources, indigenous Palestinians under Israel’s repressive regime endure climate apartheid. Multinational corporations invest in fossil fuels and in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people, pillage of Palestinian natural resources, and exploitation of Palestinian land."  Nobody is questioning the usage of the words "indigenous Palestinians." Why? because it is an accepted fact-unprovable culturally, historically or archeologically, but accepted nonetheless.

This "climate apartheid against Palestinians" is coming from people demonizing Israel and completely ignoring the health hazard created by the thousands of tires burned almost daily by Palestinians all along the Gaza border. It is the epitome of hypocrisy. If that is not Double-standard, I don't know what is!

The enemies of Israel will never cease to invent new plots to delegitimize the Jewish state, and as antisemitism progressively becomes more mainstream, people won't care, won't speak up and pretty soon won't even notice. When Jew-hatred becomes the new normal, who will stand up for my people?

Go ahead, build a security wall…Unless of course you are Israel!

Most people have heard about the Great Wall of China, started in the 7th century AD and continued for almost 1,000 years. It was built to originally protect China from repeated Eurasian invasions and continued to be used for border control over the centuries. It measures over 13,000 miles, which is no small feat.

A much smaller wall is currently being erected in the northwest part of France in the town of Calais. It has already been dubbed "The Great Wall of Calais." This new wall is being completely financed by recently "Brexited" Britain, hoping to protect their autonomy and borders from unwanted, illegal migrants. Calais is situated on the shores of northwestern France and has been a seaport connection between the UK and France for a very long time. Much business has been generated through that two-way venue, as well as much human traffic for work, tourism AND immigration. But lately, it is the immigration aspect of the human ebb and flow that is attracting attention. Britain is worried by the constant influx of African and Middle-Eastern migrants on the shores of Dover.

Thousands of recent migrants congregate in Calais in an area known as "The Jungle." It is unsafe, unsanitary and very difficult to control. France appears determined to put an end to the camps. In the meantime, Britain is building the wall and "flipping the bill." Reaction to this 4 feet high mass of concrete along both sides of the road leading to the port has been less than favorable. Even though the wall won't come to completion until the end of 2016, many think that it is a waste of time, space and money. But the concern is real as migrants build barricades daily to slow down the many trucks on that road and hitch a ride to the other side of the Channel illegally. The area has even been declared a "no-go zone" at night.

The Wall at Calais might or might not become a deterrent for illegal migrants; time will tell. In the meantime, it is receiving a lot of controversial press as well as many opinions about its efficacy or lack of. But one thing that nobody is too concerned about is the potential breech of human rights, unethical aspect of the wall or apartheid attitude of France and/or Britain, like let's say.....Israel!

Israel has been working on their security fence/wall for several years since 2003. Hundreds of lives have already been saved because of the fence. It has been a very difficult diplomatic and political battle for Israel, constantly accused of being an "Apartheid State." Comparing Israel to South Africa is far from honest since Apartheid in South Africa was based on racial tension and falsely assumed elitism, while Israel has been building its wall solely for security reasons. Protecting Israeli citizens–which incidentally include many arabs–has been at the forefront of the wall agenda. I am convinced that if Palestinians stopped the bombings, stabbings and suicide attacks, the wall could and probably would go down.

The double-standard used regarding the building of walls (including the recent one started by Saudi Arabia to also protect itself from ISIS terrorists) is upholding. France and England build a wall to protect themselves from illegal migrants who most likely include sleeper ISIS members, and that's OK! Saudi Arabia builds a 600 miles wall to keep ISIS out, and that's OK! So why is Israel building a wall to keep terrorists out considered to be a human rights violation?

Israel is the ONLY Jewish state in the world. It is the Jewish State from a political perspective (1948), but from a biblical standpoint, it has also been the Jewish land for several thousands of years prior to that time. It appears as if the whole world is continuing to build its wall around Israel to ostracize the Jewish people into a 21st century ghetto. That's the most unethical, dangerous and hateful wall of them all, but nobody really says a word or even cares about that one!

"Israeli Apartheid Week" is not about Social Justice!

For the twelfth year in a row, campuses around the United States and now even around the world are promoting an event known as Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The decade old movement has picked up quite a bit of momentum in the last few years as we can see on their interactive map of events around the world. The vast majority of anti-Israel events will take place in the United States and Western Europe, with more in South Africa and South America. The claim is made that Israel is guilty of apartheid just like South Africa was. In a short video, a spokesperson for the AJ+ news website explains apartheid and leads the viewers to connect South African protest against it to Palestinian protest against Israeli apartheid. While her description of South African apartheid is somewhat accurate, her linking it to Israel is a giant stretch based on many false presuppositions. Yet, that well produced video and many more of the sort are fueling organizations such as Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).

In their mission statement, which they call their "Basis of Unity", IAW claims that:" The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement." furthermore, they also state that they are "against the racist ideology of Zionism, which is the impetus for Israeli colonialism, because it inherently discriminates against those who are not Jewish. We are against all forms of discrimination, and believe that there can never be justice without the restoration of full rights for everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or nationality."

Their promotional video has a message of unity and social justice accompanied by a catchy reggae-style tune. It starts with a bold statement saying:" One has to keep telling the story in as many ways as possible, as it insistently as possible, and in as compelling a way as possible, to keep attention to it, because there is always a fear it might just disappear." In and of itself the message is true, but what they apply it to isn't. Over the years, the IAW organizers have invited Israel haters, antisemites, historical revisionists and Holocaust deniers alike. People such as Noam Chomsky, Illan Pappé, who while not blatantly denying the Holocaust, accuses the original victims [the Jews] of perpetrating a new Holocaust on the new victims [the Palestinians] and Rabbi Yisrael David Weiss from anti-Jewish (you read it right!) group Neturei Karta, to name just a few. Or even Omar Barghouti from Qatar who along with his anti-Israel BDS stance has also pursued a PhD at Tel Aviv University. So much for apartheid Mr. Barghouti!

So, if I understand IAW promoters, it is appropriate to further tell the story–as unfounded as it might be–of Israeli occupation and crimes against Palestinians, and it is equally appropriate, if not expected, to perpetuate the notion that the Holocaust never happened or was grossly exaggerated.

Over the years, what started as a series of meeting over a few campuses in America and even fewer across the globe, has grown to over 150 locations globally. IAW sympathizers go out of their way to encourage others to boycott Israel and  divest any funding they could from the only democracy in the Middle East, all in the name of social justice. Recently they have used what is known as intersectionality. This approach to social justice connects all types of oppressions and abuses under the same banner. Writer and lecturer Ziva Dahl explains "Proponents of intersectionality see a world of all-encompassing oppression, where racism, classism, sexism, homophobia and ableism constitute an intersecting system. All injustices are interconnected, even if occurring in unconnected geographic, cultural and political environments. This is the rationalization for building alliances among unrelated causes like LGBTQ rights, fossil fuel divestment, prison reform, racial discrimination and immigration."

Anti-Israel organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, are quick to add the Palestinian struggle to all other minorities' fights against injustice. So, now we can save the whales, promote transgender people and divest from Israel all in one fell swoop! After all, it is all about minorities being abused! This also leads to having groups who share no common ground ideologically, hold hands against Israel and the Jewish people. This builds a stronger case for what I call End-Times antisemitism as it illustrates incredible irrationality.

But where is the outrage for all the other countries of the world that commit or have committed crimes against humanity? According to the International Criminal Court in La Hague, Netherlands, a crime against humanity, as defined in their "Rome Statute" is any of the following:

• Murder
• Extermination
• Enslavement
• Deportation or forcible transfer of population
• Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law
• Torture
•  Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity
• Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious and/or gender
• Enforced disappearance of persons
• The crime of apartheid
• Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

Where is the call to boycott China, Sudan, North Korea, Rwanda, Congo or Syria among others? Where is the public cry to denounce the multiple genocides and ethnic cleansing around the globe? It is a stretch, but even if these people were to continue pointing the finger at Israel for crimes that they haven't committed, why are they not also pointing the finger at Hamas for crimes that they are committing? Sure, it can be argued that not all Palestinians are terrorists, but regarding those who are, why are they still being given "carte blanche" to commit more crimes? Israel Apartheid Week is more than blindness or ignorance, it is a willful vilification of Israel and it has absolutely nothing to do with global social justice.