Anti-Semitism Isn’t Back. It Never Went Away.

Nov. 22 2016

Responding to the commonly heard refrain that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and election have led to a surge of anti-Semitic incidents, Mordechai Lightstone, a ḥasidic Jew, comments:

I have a full beard, a black hat, and a dark suit. Yet even in Brooklyn, people have always said nasty things to me and to other people who look like me. I’ve had kids yell “Heil Hitler” at me on Eastern Parkway and teens throw glass bottles at me on Bedford Avenue. On the eve of Yom Kippur, anti-kapparot protesters . . . gathered in Crown Heights, brandishing signs that compared [Ḥasidim engaged in the ritual slaughter of chickens] to Hitler. They screamed obscenities, hit men with signs, and told small children that their parents were going to die.

Last week I took a picture of a swastika spray-painted onto a Crown Heights sidewalk and posted it on Twitter. It was instantly retweeted, quoted, and written about by media pundits across the country. Buzzfeed added it to a list of “28 Reported Racist and Violent Incidents after Donald Trump’s Victory.” The [New York City] mayor’s office tweeted a condemnation of the swastika. All of this is great, at least as great as one can call a response to a swastika, but I wonder what’s changed now.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I was walking with my kids on Shabbat morning and saw swastikas sprayed on a Crown Heights wall along with [a vulgar anti-Semitic message]. It made local news, but the mayor’s office didn’t retweet that picture. I didn’t see condemnations coming in from San Francisco, Phoenix, or Moscow, the way I did this week.

So it’s nice that the Anti-Defamation League has taken a stand against [right-wing anti-Semitism on social media]. But I still think about how rioters in 1991 threw rocks at [the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Ḥasidim], smashed windows of Jewish homes, and shouted “Heil Hitler” in Crown Heights—at that time, the ADL called it a “local issue.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: ADL, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Bill de Blasio, Chabad, Jewish World, New York City

Israel Has Survived Eight Years of Barack Obama’s False Friendship

Jan. 20 2017

In his speech justifying America’s decision to allow passage of the UN Security Council resolution declaring it a violation of international law for Jews to live in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Golan Heights, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” John Podhoretz comments:

The decision in December by President Obama to abstain on the UN Security Council vote . . . marked the moment he crossed the finish line in the course he had charted from 2008 onward. The turn against Israel was complete. And, as he had when he began it, in farewell interview after farewell interview he characterized his assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in the Holy Land as an act of tough love. . . .

Which raises the key question: why [only] abstain [from the resolution]? If “hard truths” define friendship, then by all means they should have made the truths as hard as possible. If Barack Obama and John Kerry truly believe the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem is illicit, then they should have voted for the resolution. Instead, they took the coward’s way out. They opened the vault to the criminals and placed the jewels in their hands while wearing white gloves so there would be no residual trace of their fingerprints. The abstention was in some weird sense the mark of their bad conscience. They wanted something to happen while maintaining some historical deniability about their involvement in it.

In the eight years of the Obama presidency, war broke out twice between the Palestinians and the Israelis and nearly broke out a third time. In each case, the issue was not the West Bank, or east Jerusalem, or anything near. . . . The idea that the settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem are the main barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was proved to be a lie right before Obama’s eyes in 2009, and 2012, and 2014. And he didn’t care to see it, because he is blinded by an antipathy he wishes to ascribe to Israeli action when honesty would compel him to find it in his own misguided leftist ideology—or within his own soul.

Israel has survived the horrendous blessing of Barack Obama’s false friendship.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations