With Holocaust Remembrance Day just around the corner, it frightens me that my thoughts this year cannot solely be about remembering and honoring those who perished in one of the most horrific events in history less than 75 years ago. Rather, my focus will be turned to my worries and prayers for the future of the Jewish people in a world that seems to be slowly forgetting and changing for the worst.
Last night I got a call from a friend telling me about the anti-Semitism he was experiencing in his university. From being called a “dirty Jew” daily, to being harassed about his family members “running from the ovens,” these are words I never thought I would have to hear coming from anybody growing up in the United States. How can this be happening in a country that is the strongest ally to Israel and has always been viewed as a safe haven for the Jewish people?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2017 hate crime statistics, 58.1 percent of hate crimes committed in our country were crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias. That means that every other hate crime in the U.S. targets a Jewish person. Just three months ago, we witnessed the deadliest attack on the Jewish people in American history when a gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat morning services, killing 11 people and injuring seven. Anti-Semitism has been around for hundreds of years, yet it seemed that after the end of World War II, and the establishment of the state of Israel, there was a strong effort to start a new path and avoid past mistakes. So, what has recently changed?
When the Democratic Party decided to become the party of identity politics, they began a trend of identification of separate ethnic and racial groups as targets for criticism. The fixation that they have with identity groups, and the consequences of identity politics in general, unfortunately leads to anti-Semitism. When societies are divided in a time of polarization and confusion, naturally they look for a scapegoat. The stereotypes against the Jews, which have been known and repeated all over the world, are immediately remembered when people are on the hunt for someone to blame. This is nothing new for the Jews who were blamed for the Black Libel, the Black Death in the 1300s, more recently the 2008 financial crisis, and so many events in between.
This reemerging hatred for the Jewish people has been put on full display recently by the anti-Semitism associated with the 2019 Women’s March and its organizers. Last week, after much public criticism, the Democratic National Committee finally pulled its sponsorship of the Women’s March. What was so awful that it would justify the DNC’s retraction of its support for an event that claimed to be about nothing but inclusivity and bipartisanship? The leaders of the Women’s March and their refusal to condemn Louis Farrakhan and his repulsive statements have finally come under fire. Specifically, Tamika Mallory, co-president of the 2019 Women’s March, going as far as to call Farrakhan ‘the greatest of all time’ in a social media post.
Farrakhan, the leader of the religious group Nation of Islam, and the man responsible for quotes like, “The Jews don’t like Farrakhan so they call me Hitler. Well, that’s a good name. Hitler was a very great man” and calling homosexuality “filth” has been around for quite some time. From antisemitism to homophobia, Farrakhan has been known for his hateful language for decades, with President Obama rejecting Farrakhan’s endorsement during a presidential debate in 2008.
So how have we gone backwards? How have we reached a point in our country where the support for a known homophobe and anti-Semite can be overlooked until too many media channels begin to question the association, forcing an obviously disingenuous apology? The Democrats are playing a dangerous game, slowly turning groups of different identities against each other in a war to determine who is more deserving and who is more oppressed. Their plan to gain votes and build a strong campaign against President Trump based on this approach has further divided our country. If I can hope for anything right now, I hope that with Holocaust Remembrance Day around the corner, people remember what went on in our world less than a hundred years ago, and treat their fellow man or woman, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, or ethnic background, with the utmost respect and kindness.