Over the course of the past year, some Jewish journalists (or journalists with Jewish-sounding names) critical of Donald Trump have found themselves the targets of anti-Semitic attacks online. The result has been a new sensitivity from those who had once been blissfully unaware of anti-Semitism, or willing to ignore it. Now, writes Bethany Mandel, hatred of Jews is making headlines—because it can be tied, however tenuously, to a Republican politician:
Already in the days following Trump’s election, the media are hysterically reporting on graffiti [displaying a swastika and the words “Sieg Heil 2016”] in South Philadelphia (not exactly Trump country) on a storefront. Had the national media paid attention to these incidents prior to this week, they may have known that defacement with anti-Semitic messages is nothing new in this country.
Had a Jewish cemetery in Westchester, New York [on which Nazi symbols were painted in early October] been defaced just a month later, it might have made national news and not just local broadcasts. In response to this observation, . . . a rabbi friend living in Brooklyn remarked, “Swastikas happen literally all the time. I speak to rabbis who’ve had their property defaced pretty regularly for years.”
Despite the media’s focus since 9/11 on Islamophobic incidents and the fear of them, the biggest target by a mile for hate crimes in the United States in 2014 was Jews—long before Trump and the alt-right came into the picture. The FBI report on hate crimes confirms [that] “a significant number of the anti-Jewish hate crimes—451—consisted of vandalism or some other type of property damage.” That’s not to say that anti-Semitic defacement isn’t worrisome now, but it’s important to note it existed before Trump and should have been taken seriously prior to his nomination and election.
Liberal reporters and columnists may not have been aware of anti-Semitism before Trump, but if they have any hope of regaining legitimacy post-election, they had better wise up.