Like a fast-spreading poisonous weed, antisemitism seems to be everywhere — in places where you’d expect to find it and those where you might not.
On Feb. 21, the Gatestone Institute released its report on Palestinian incitement, “Killing Jews Brings Light into the Hearts of Palestinians.”
When the Palestinian Authority serves up virulent hatred of Jews — by paying pensions to the families of “martyrs” who died killing Jews, for example — it isn’t exactly big news. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is improbably seen as a potential peace partner by the State Department, calls the killers of Jewish women and children “heroes.”
The Middle East Media Research Institute recently translated a YouTube posting in Arabic by the imam of a mosque in Anaheim, California, reminding the faithful that the Jews will be “annihilated” on the day of judgment. Again, for a radical imam, this is standard operating procedure.
But what’s called the world’s oldest hatred has also found a home in academia. According to the Anti-Defamation League, in the 2021-22 school year, there were 350 antisemitic incidents nationwide at the nation’s colleges and universities.
These included assaults, harassment, vandalism and events aimed at delegitimizing the state of Israel.
In the same period, a monitoring group called the AMCHA Initiative documented 254 attacks on 63 college campuses with the largest Jewish enrollment, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, Tufts, Rutgers and George Washington University.
At the last, flyers warning “Zionists Fu— off” were plastered on the campus’s Hillel House. At the University of Chicago, flyers urged students to boycott “Sh—-y Zionist Classes” — in other words, courses that treat the Middle East conflict with anything approaching objectivity or fairness.
As a fig leaf for its bigotry, the left tries to distinguish between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. We don’t hate you for being a Jew — they seem to say to Jewish students — just for supporting the Jewish state, home to 46% of the world’s Jewish population, whose demise would spark a second Holocaust.
Last October, nine student groups at the University of California at Berkeley Law School amended their bylaws to ensure that no one who supports Israel will be invited to speak on campus, resulting in an echo-chamber effect on an issue where debate should be welcome.
It’s worth noting that another anti-Zionist group, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, controlled German universities before it came to power nationwide.
Israel and the Jews fit neatly into the woke demonology.
Other than Asians, Jews are our most prosperous minority, so they must be exploiting someone, the argument goes. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with a work ethic or respect for learning.
Israel prospers in a region noted for its ignorance and backwardness. Again, exploitation has to be at work, which is why, on the left, calling Israel an apartheid state is de rigueur.
Israel’s population includes light-skinned Jews from Europe (Ashkenazi) as well as those from the Middle East (Sephardim). Its Arab adversaries are uniformly darker.
In woke minds, this creates a colonial oppressor/indigenous peoples dynamic. Never mind that Jews have lived in the region since time immemorial — usually in countries where they were routinely persecuted.
To make matters worse from a woke perspective, Israel is an unwavering ally of the United States.
That America was founded on the values common to both Judaism and Christianity should be enough to damn it in the eyes of the left.
The modern state of Israel came into being with U.S. support. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, the United States became the first country to recognize the fledgling Jewish state, over the protests of our own State Department.
In the woke war on Western civilization, Israel and the Jews are natural targets. In 1987, the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a student mob at Stanford University chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ. has got to go!”
The Rhyming Reverend, who has pronounced anti-Jewish feelings (he used to refer to New York City as “Hymietown”), might as well have been chanting “the Jews have got to go.”
The foregoing has helped to create the toxic environment on college campuses. What starts with agitation and scapegoating often ends in a darker place.
Jan. 30 marked 90 years since Hitler came to power and Germany was set on the road to World War II and the Holocaust.
If Never Again is to be more than an empty slogan, we dare not ignore the woke war on Jews on our college campuses.
• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.