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

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

 

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security