The great anti-Semitism panic of 2017
By David Bernstein
I’m not insensitive to anti-Semitism. Despite growing up in Jew-friendly New York City, I experienced my share of it — kids throwing rocks at my Jewish Day School bus, … . … I’ve blogged quite a bit about anti-Semitism. I’ve mostly written about anti-Semitism coming from the far left, but I’m not at all naive about the existence and virulence of anti-Semitism on the far right.
Nevertheless, I’ve been rather taken aback by the panic in the Jewish community over American anti-Semitism since Donald Trump won the election. The recent spate of hoax bombing threats to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions around the country has been a precipitating factor, but the fear is drastically out of proportion to the threat … . By contrast, in the past decade or so there have been actual murders at a JCC and a Jewish federation office without precipitating such panic.
… I’ve lost track of how many times Jewish friends and acquaintances in my Facebook feed have asserted, as a matter of settled fact, that Bannon’s website Breitbart News is a white-supremacist, anti-Semitic site. I took the liberty of searching for every article published at Breitbart that has the words Jew, Jewish, Israel or anti-Semitism in it, and can vouch for the fact that the website is not only not anti-Semitic, but often criticizes anti-Semitism … . I’ve invited Bannon’s Facebook critics to actually look at Breitbart and do a similar search on the site, and each has declined, … they already know it’s anti-Semitic.
There is also a general sense among Jews, at least liberal Jews, that Trump’s supporters are significantly more anti-Semitic than the public … . I have many times asked for empirical evidence that supports this proposition, and have so far come up empty. … there doesn’t seem to be any survey or other evidence supporting it. Given that American subgroups with the highest proportions of anti-Semites — African Americans, first-generation Hispanic immigrants, Muslims and high school dropouts — are strong Democratic constituencies …
I shouldn’t have to say this, but in case one of RO’s Lib/Prog denizens happens to see this or a new Lib/Prog wanders in:
1.) Antisemitism is real (Duh-uhhhhh!).
2.) Antisemitism has been increasing in the US. But it’s been doing so pretty steadily since the late 60s, not just in the past 6-12 months.
3.) Neo-Nazi and white supremacist types are “out there”, but they have been, in various forms, for well over a century. I’ve seen what happens when a white supremacist wanders into a conservative discussion site, thinking conservatives share their views or are persuadable. A close encounter of the Ban-Hammer kind is but the culmination of having their mistake corrected.
4.) More to the point, the current wave of fear among Jewish people is not groundless. The bomb threats have been real, and while no bombs have been found, the operative concern is expressed by the words, “so far”.
All that said, partisan politics are also feeding and augmenting this fear. With zero evidence, Libs and Progs have pushed the narratives that Trump followers are antisemitic, and that Trump is encouraging anti-Semites, and that these Trump followers and white supremacists are making the bomb threats.
To date, there has been one hoax caller identified and arrested. As is visually obvious from the picture in the New York Times article I linked, the guy is probably not a white supremacist. He is also virulently anti-Trump.
My personal opinion is that almost all or all the bomb-threat hoaxers who are identified and (hopefully) caught will turn out to be Muslims, blacks, and foreigners (or some combination thereof). I’m not saying that all Muslims, blacks, and foreigners are antisemitic, just that antisemitic ideas are more common and stronger in those demographic groups.