By Abraham H. Miller/JNS.org
Michigan Governor George Romney used to quip during his election campaigns that under his leadership, the state had more days of sunshine than during the prior four-year period.
Of course, only the intellectually challenged would have taken Romney’s self-deprecating humor seriously.
Since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the intellectually challenged have condemned President Donald Trump for the violence there. Of course, Trump was as much a cause of the violence in Charlottesville as Romney was responsible for the extra days of Michigan sunshine.
It is now commonplace to assert that Trump got elected and hate crimes increased. Unlike most Trump haters, any 5th-grader will recognize the post hoc fallacy: that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event caused the second event.
Beyond the logical fallacy, how do they know hate crimes increased?
The most accurate and meaningful database for hate crimes is that compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), whose latest data is from 2015.
Those citing the alleged increase in hate crimes are probably quoting the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) data. As the BBC correctly notes, that data lacks statistical value.
The SPLC itself says that while hate crimes are a formidable national problem, “there is no reliable data on the nature and prevalence of the violence [caused by hate].”
We don’t even know if hate crimes have increased. We won’t know until the BJS releases data for 2017, probably two years from now.
These issues come to mind because in my community in the San Francisco Bay area, the local branch of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) is circulating a letter about hate crimes that is high on Trump derangement syndrome, and low on both logic and facts.
The letter is a textbook example of “groupthink”—what happens when you get a bunch of people together who are so wedded to the same nonsense that they stumble over their own biases.
Aside from condemning Trump for the events in Charlottesville and alleging he is responsible for the fantasized increase in hate crimes, the letter is obsessed with violence from the right.
The Antifa movement, which just started classes in a Chicago gym to teach violent confrontation, is barely even alluded to. Black Lives Matter (BLM), with its anti-Semitic foundational document, escapes notice. The “bluewashing” of Jews from progressive demonstrations such as Chicago’s Dyke March and SlutWalk is not on the agenda of condemnation.
If Jewish organizations want to get serious about anti-Semitism, they will need to begin by recognizing that it is not only the neo-Nazis they have to worry about; it is also people who share the progressive mindset of much of the Jewish community.
Unlike the anti-Semitic right, the extreme left has access to foundation money and the halls of Congress. The Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy have announced their intention to raise $100 million for the anti-Semitic BLM. This comes on top of a $33 million grant from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.
When the number of police officers gunned down by BLM adherents sharply increased, did Jewish organizations write letters condemning the movement?
When Barack Obama gave legitimacy to BLM activists by inviting them to the White House, did the Jewish organizations admonish the president?
Of course not!
I pray the pathetic missive by the San Francisco AJC never goes beyond the organization. If it does, it will show a partisan and ideological bias that will immunize leftist anti-Semites, who pose a far greater threat than a few thousand anti-Semites indulging their Hitler Youth fantasies.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter: @salomoncenter.