Two rabbis from the Simon Wiesenthal Center have picked up on the anti-Semitic rhetoric—“Death to All Juice,” “Holocaust 2.0,” “back to the ovens”—from recent protests against Israel. Here’s a snippet:
Gone is the pretense of using the word “Zionist” in place of “Jew”. Jews are now targeted as Jews. In Amsterdam, the streets near Anne Frank’s hiding place resounded with calls to”Gas the Jews”; from Madrid to Montreal, from London to Melbourne to Oklahoma City to Washington, DC, protesters proudly pump placards “Israelis are Nazis” and “Kill the Jews”. Synagogues are torched in France. Muslims walk into stores on Golders’ Green Road in London, announcing, “We will kill you.” School principals in Denmark tell Jewish parents that their children are not welcome, because they will offend Muslims. German police removed an Israeli flag from the balcony of an apartment to appease anti-Israel protesters. Boycotts of Israeli and of Jewish businesses – are no longer the domain of the lunatic fringe. In Rome from whose streets their grandparents were hauled off to Auschwitz, Jews – not Israelis - are threatened with economic warfare.
January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the world’s largest Jewish cemetery. It is observed as the European Holocaust Memorial Day. Officials in Catalonia, Spain (a country in which more than 50% of secondary school students in a recent Spanish poll said they would not want to sit next to a Jewish classmate) canceled its participation this year because of Israel’s action in Gaza.
In Chicago, four synagogues were vandalized on the Sabbath by Hamas sympathizers. This, after a CAIR spokesman brushed aside complaints about antisemitic material, chiding Jewish leaders for caring less about the humanitarian disaster in Gaza than about words on “cardboard paper.” This was quite a dramatic departure from CAIR’s stance regarding the ink and paper of the infamous Danish Mohammed cartoons.
Here in Los Angeles, the deployment of antisemitism in service of Hamas got even less attention from MPAC. Instead, Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs County, upbraided Mayor Villaraigosa and Sheriff Baca for their temerity in publicly defending Israel’s right to defend herself against terrorism. These veteran politicians do not understand the bigger picture, Mr. Al-Marayati insists, for such support he warns will enrage the greater Arab world. Claiming to oppose extremism, he nonetheless offers an excuse for Hamas – and those who refuse to condemn as morally wrong the targeting civilians in rocket attacks, of using one’s own civilian population and infrastrucuture as human shields, of training children as suicide bombers. And as for missiles in mosques and booby-trapped Korans – well, no hestiation there either: “Militarism fuels extremism, and religion becomes a vehicle for resistance,” he writes. He wrote nothing, however, about Jew-hatred in the streets of Los Angeles.
He could have. His counterparts in England did not shy away from the task. There, a group of imams from every strain of Islamic thought, writers, and academics signed a letter expressing their grief over the deaths in Gaza, but at the same time condemning the rising wave of anti-Semitism: Protests against Israel should have nothing to do with violence against Jews, they wrote in a letter circulated to 1200 imams around the country.
Jews must not remain silent.