(Originally published February 22, 2019 / JNS)
Anti-Semitism is sky-rocketing from the right, and more importantly, from the left. Jew-hatred is rising in Europe. The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University concludes that “Europe’s largest Jewish communities are experiencing a normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitism not seen since the Second World War.” The study blames the surge on “the constant rise of the extreme right, a heated anti- Zionist discourse in the left, accompanied by harsh antisemitic expressions, and radical Islamism.”
In 2017, the Anti-Defamation League found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose 57 percent compared to 2016—the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data in 1979.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studiescommissioned a study that found that one in six Canadians express views that could be considered anti-Semitic. Avi Benlolo, the center’s president and CEO, says the Jewish community is the most targeted ethnic community in Canada. The Jewish human-rights advocate B’nai Brith Canada tracks cases of anti-Semitism and says it’s definitely on the rise, with 2016 and 2017 being record-breaking years. Most of the casesinvolve harassment and most of it occurs online.
We are reliving 1939.
Despite these statistics, we are also witnessing an attempt to whitewash Jew-hatred from the left—sadly, from radical Islam. “In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League did a survey in more than 100 countries of attitudes toward Jews and found that anti-Semitism was twice as common among Muslims than among Christians, and it’s far more prevalent in the Middle East than the Americas. It has sometimes tragically gone beyond feelings, morphing into terrorist attacks against Jews, even children, in countries such as France.”
“Former Labour leader Tony Blair has admitted there is ‘nascent alliance’ between Islamists and the political left in Britain.” This alliance has actually been established for a long time. Many leftists have been found to be working closely with Islamic supremacist organizations with established connections to jihad terror groups such as Hamas, including the American and Canadian supporters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its allies.
One might ask how this happened, again. It is happening because we have allowed Islamophobia to be embedded in our Western culture. We have voluntarily given up our Constitutional right, dare I say, obligation, to compare, contrast and critique all ideologies; a gift to us from the Enlightenment.
We have silenced ourselves for fear of being labeled an Islamophobe, as if that were a fate worse than death. With this sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, we are in greater need of Jewish organizations speaking up on our behalf than ever before.
Where are they?
I contacted B’nai Brith Canada, CIJA and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) about a seeming dearth of Jewish response in the media regarding the rise of Jew hatred in Canada.
I heard back from B’nai Brith.
They wrote: “Is it your goal that we publicize every initiative other organizations have made? If AC Democracy and JPCA are publicizing these links already, can you please explain why you would ask B’nai Brith, CIJA or FSWC get involved in advocacy that has already been accomplished? Is it your goal to single out B’nai Brith for disrepute?”
I was gobsmacked by that response. And responded to them: “Thank you for clarification. Once an article has been written by anyone, anywhere in the world about anti-Semitism in Canada, B’nai Brith needs to do no further research or bring the issues into the mainstream. As far as you are concerned the advocacy is complete. If so, why do we need B’nai Brith?”
Why do we need these organizations if they are relying on other sources to fight against Jew-hatred in our countries? Why should we support them with our donations if others do it for free?
What has happened to the Jewish establishment? We know from searing past experiences that neither appeasement nor silence will make Jew-hatred disappear. Yet our Jewish organizations appear as frightened of Islamophobia as far too many others, even mainstream media, for that matter.
If our Jewish leaders and organizations will not stand up to Jew-hatred, why should anyone else?
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”