Is there anti-semitism in the United States? The assumed answer is no, but one should never rely on assumptions. Paying attention to the trends around the world and to what’s transpiring in the U.S., I see the writing on the wall.
The topic of anti-semitism in the United States came up in a conversation I had yesterday with Noa, a secular Israeli. At the conclusion of our meeting to discuss the possible assistance her organization can provide for the business I am developing ( check out my new blog Business Confab) she asked me why we made aliyah. She could understand the toshav chozer – the Israeli ex-patriate who moves back to Israel, and she could understand people who move to Israel from countries where there is anti-semitism or lack of freedom, but from the United States?
The topic of anti-semitism has been on my radar since well before we made aliyah, as I saw it rearing its ugly head again in Europe. In March of 2009, I watched a video which has been posted on many sites, including Israel Matzav under the heading “Where are the police?” ( click here to view). The video shows people ransacking a French supermarket, wearing green t-shirts with the words Boycott Israel on them, removing all Israeli goods from the shelves. Not one person — not the store managers, not the other shoppers, no one — dared to stop them. People just stood and watched. Perhaps they thought there were too many of them to fight… but, apparently, no one thought to call the police, either.
Naomi Ragen’s recent email newsletter where she copied an article by David J. Rusin of www.islamist-watch.org entitled The Slow-Motion Exodus of European Jews also highlights the terrible situation which is again rising in Europe. Rusin starts off with the opinion of Dutch politician and former EU commissioner Frits Bolkestein regarding Orthodox Jews in his country [can the same situation for non-religious Jews be far behind? – c.l.] who believes that
there is no future for this group in the Netherlands because of the “anti-Semitism among Dutchmen of Moroccan descent, whose numbers keep growing.”
The author then goes on to describe the situations in a number of other European countries from which Jews are exiting and/or encountering anti-semitism on a regular basis. Among them are Sweden, France, UK, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Austria.
Echoing this same sentiment about Dutch Jews is Guilio Meotti in his January 17, 2011, opinion piece on Israel National News entitled Jews Must Flee Holland in 2011. He cites the failure of Dutch multi-culturalism for the rising tide of anti-semitism. Perhaps the scariest part is in his second paragraph :
…to highlight the complaint of a Dutch journalist, Paul Andersson Toussaint: “Antisemitism in Holland is again salonfähig”. This word means socially acceptable.
Post-Holocaust Europe is no more; the anti-semitism that we thought had disappeared was really simmering below. The argument generally made is that it’s really the large Muslim population dominating many European countries that is responsible for the situation. But a country and people that allows this to happen is responsible just the same.
So why did we make aliyah? Noa thought that perhaps it’s the U.S. economy which is motivation for many to leave… Mostly, however, we didn’t leave the U.S. per se – we made aliyah so that we could live in our land and fulfill our Jewish destiny as I discussed in my first blog post A Jew in Context.
But, despite the fact that most Americans probably are not anti-semitic and would be revolted by it, there have been increasing anti-semitic incidents in the United States (and in Canada) as well as rising anti-semitism on college campuses; Jews have generally been afraid to “make waves” even in the U.S. so as not to engender anti-semitism. So what about anti-semitism in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, in this medina shel chesed – this nation of kindness – as Orthodox Jews in the U.S. often refer to it? I referred her to Caroline Glick’s website and her most recent column, which was originally published in the Jerusalem Post, Israel as the banana republic. She discusses two documents which she says “… indicate that in certain quarters of the American government Israel is viewed as at best a banana republic and at worst an enemy of the US. ” The first, published last Wednesday in The Washington Times, is the 2004 FBI 27-page search warrant affidavit used to target then-senior AIPAC lobbyist Steve Rosen. The second, from Wikileaks, is a 2008 cable signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, under the Bush administration, directing US officials to spy on Israel. The FBI affidavit, you might be surprised to discover, makes it clear that they had no reason to suspect Steve Rosen of any wrongdoing, yet they followed him for five years and indicted him, destroying his career, his reputation and that of his collegue Keith Weissman, the reputation of AIPAC, the State of Israel, and its American Jewish supporters. Of the Wikileaks document Caroline says:
Just days before the 2008 presidential elections, the secretary of state instructed US diplomats in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA to conduct a massive espionage operation against Israel.
Anti-semitism in the United States? Take an honest look before you decide.