Letter: Anti-Semitism today isn’t simply from ‘usual suspects’

The Anti-Defamation League’s report released last week of an increase in U.S. anti-Semitic incidents for the year, from 779 to 1,299, is truly disturbing. Unmentioned in the report is the fact that although some of these incidents derive from the “usual suspects” such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi sympathizers, many others come from the left.

On many college campuses, Jewish students no longer feel safe to identify as Jews supporting the State of Israel. We have seen Jewish students shunned, ostracized and even attacked, with no protections offered from administrators. Away from campus, in “progressive” circles, we have seen Jewish organizations told they cannot participate in rallies because of their support for Israel. In fact, the mere presence of a Star of David at a rally was deemed “scary.”

American Arab activist and Israel-demonizer Linda Sarsour, listed in Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year,” has stated that one cannot be both a “feminist” and a “Zionist.” Some elements of the Black Lives Matter movement issued a manifesto including Israel demonization as part of the charter. More recently, we have begun to see a growing notion that Jews who join in demonizing Israel are OK, but those who stand up for Israel are “threatening.”

It is essential to the practice of Judaism to believe that Jews originated in the land of Israel, that normative Jewish ritual practice compels a presence in the Land of Israel, and that for Jews to realize their God-given right to self determination, Jews must be located in a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Thus, ongoing and mounting pressure for Jews to deny their Jewishness and their support for the Jewish State amounts to hatred against Jews for being Jews. This is anti-Semitism.

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Our leaders and indeed, every one of us, must be vigilant to identify Jewish hatred from any direction and stop it at its inception. The great sage Hillel taught, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” If we are proud to be Jews and proud to be supporters of the State of Israel (even if we believe it is flawed), then our many, many friends will rally to support us. Being a proud Jew is the way to fight anti-Semitism, from whatever direction it originates.

David A. Rubin, University City