We live in a great country. The United States of America espouses ideals such as freedom, tolerance and strength. It is my pride in America that led me to join the Marine Corps and retire a Gunnery Sergeant after 20 years on active duty. I love this country and the ideals for which it stands. As a Marine, I grew accustomed to working as a unit, with multiple people endeavoring together toward the same goal. Similarly, our country does best when its citizens are united and continue to stand for the values on which our nation was founded.
Unfortunately, there are so many people today trying to divide us — along political lines, racial lines and religious lines. As such, it breaks my heart to see so many naïve people fall under the sway of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. These women, under the guise of human rights, are promoting hatred and division.
For decades I have avidly followed the actions of our governmental leaders, and this is the first time I have ever seen members of Congress speak so horribly about Israel and the Jewish people. The worst part is that so many rush to defend these junior congresswomen and suggest they are being marginalized by racism instead of looking at the anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions they have taken against Israel almost every week since being elected into office.
They spurned a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel in favor of a trip to Israel being led by anti-Semites. The trip they chose to travel was planned by Miftah, an organization that spreads vicious anti-Semitic rhetoric and lies about Israel and Jews. Miftah goes back to the Middle Ages by promoting historic blood libel, accusing Jews of using Christian blood to make matzo for Passover. This disgusting lie has persisted for generations and has led to anti-Jewish riots, attacks and murders for centuries. This organization also published an American neo-Nazi dissertation that meant to incite panic and xenophobia. These are the people with whom Omar and Tlaib have chosen to associate themselves.
We need to unite against hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism. I look forward to participating in the Day of Jewish Unity on Sept. 24, though I myself am not Jewish. This annual event, sponsored by Acheinu, the outreach arm of an educational organization named Dirshu, is held to unite people globally against incivility and hatred.
On this day, Acheinu asks that everyone join together in prayer to bring peace. Studies have shown that prayer can heal; perhaps together on the Day of Jewish Unity, our prayer can heal the deep schisms in our country.
The focus of this year’s Day of Jewish Unity is to recognize the increase of anti-Semitism in our country and unite in our work to eradicate it because anti-Semitism is a growing problem that we cannot ignore. Anti-Semitic attacks have increased dramatically, leaving a stain on our nation and its values.
In the past 11 months, gunmen entered two synagogues with the sole purpose of murdering Jews. No one should be unsafe in a house of worship.
And, no one should remain silent while anti-Semitism flourishes in this country.
Omar and Tlaib are simply the most apparent examples of bolstered anti-Semitism in this country, but the truth is that it is everywhere, especially on college campuses where anti-Semitism has become normalized and even encouraged. These college campuses disguise their anti-Semitism as activism, pretending that their anti-Israel sentiments stem from civil rights issues rather than hatred of Jews. But their actions and statements always give them away.
Too often these supposedly anti-Israel arguments devolve into hateful stereotypes and offensive rhetoric. If these students and professors aren’t anti-Semitic, as they claim, then why have so many swastikas been drawn on campuses? Why have Jewish students and Jewish student groups been targeted for abuse, harassment and even violence? Because calling their protestations anti-Israel is a red herring meant to distract from the abundant anti-Semitism that fuels them.
The BDS movement does not seek to help Palestinians, as it claims. It seeks to destroy Israel and the millions of Jews who live there. It seeks to create a new generation of anti-Semites.
Here in America, people of all faiths need to be aware of this and fight against it. First, anti-Semitism is abhorrent and immoral; to allow it to grow in our nation is an indictment against all of us. Second, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is our nation’s strongest ally in the region. To attack Israel is to weaken our nation’s position globally and to deteriorate the cause of democracy worldwide.
We must stand united against anti-Semitism and those who are trying to divide us. We must stand together and, in one voice, decry anti-Semitism and speak out for the betterment of our nation.
Jessie Jane Duff, Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) is a Senior Fellow, London Center for Policy Research and on the Trump 2020 Campaign Advisory Board, Women for Trump.