OpinionJewish Diaspora

Is anti-Semitism a Jewish problem?

Every nation that has allowed hatred of the Jew to spread has wound up imploding and facing its own ultimate destruction.

Graffiti claiming that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks on a building in Toronto, Sept. 2021. Source: Screenshot.
Graffiti claiming that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks on a building in Toronto, Sept. 2021. Source: Screenshot.
Ellie Cohanim
Join former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State Ellie Cohanim, as she hosts some of the most important geopolitical conversations taking place in the Jewish world today. Cohanim, a sought-after speaker in her own right, interviews heads of state, policymakers, thought leaders and activists. Each episode provides key insights into critical issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat, the rise of violent anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist activities, Christian and Muslim support for Israel, and the historic Abraham Accords.

The following are remarks that the author delivered at the “Conferência Global 2021,” hosted by Comunidade Das Nacções, Latino Coalition for Israel and Bishop J.B. Carvalho in Brasilia, Brazil on Oct. 14, 2021.

One of the questions we have to ask ourselves as we face increasing rates of anti-Semitic incidents and attacks around the world is: Is anti-Semitism a Jewish problem?

The late prominent scholar, theologian, philosopher and former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom Lord Jonathan Sacks once said that “the hatred which starts with the Jew never ends with the Jew.”

History supports this assertion. Every nation that allowed Jew-hatred to grow and spread was eventually devoured itself. Take Spain, for example. In 2016, King Felipe VI stated that he believed the Spanish Inquisition was the beginning of the end of his country.

Look, as well, at the devastation of Europe during World War II. Just imagine if the world had believed Adolf Hitler when he first published Mein Kampf with his plans to exterminate Europe’s Jews—and imagine if he had been stopped. Because world powers did not do this when they could have, not only did the Nazis murder 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, but Europe lost 11 million non-Jews and was left a destroyed continent after the war.

Other examples abound. Indeed, to reiterate Sacks: “The hatred that starts with the Jew never ends with the Jew.”

This is why anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, but rather everyone’s problem—Jew, Christian, Muslim and atheist alike. It is incumbent on all societies to confront and combat Jew-hatred—not only because it is the moral and the right thing to do, but because every nation that has allowed hatred of the Jew to spread has wound up imploding and facing its own ultimate destruction.

Studies and surveys conducted by Jewish organizations such as the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League show that there is a rise in anti-Semitism in every corner of the globe, and that it emanates from the far-right, neo-Nazi fringe, the far-left anti-Zionists and from radical Islamists.

The Trump administration, for which I was proud to serve as deputy envoy to combat anti-Semitism, crafted the following policies to fight the phenomenon wherever it reared its ugly head:

  • We in the administration understood the basic truth that Israel is the safe haven for Jews around the world, and when there is escalating anti-Semitism in places like France and England, to the point that Jews in those countries find their living conditions unbearable and need to find refuge, they move to Israel.
  • We also understood this basic truth: that the Jewish state did not come about because of the Holocaust, as some haters of Israel claim. The opposite is the case, the Holocaust took place because there was no Israel. There was no Jewish country to escape to and no Jewish army to defend Jews; thus, the forces of evil were able to rise.
  • We understood, as well, that today the hatred of the Jew among nations—that is, the hatred of the Jewish state of Israel—is developing into a new form of anti-Semitism worldwide, and that the best way to counter it is by bolstering and supporting Israel. Foremost among this support was the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and the move of the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.
  • We recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
  • We cut off the funding that the Palestinian Authority was using to reward terrorists who killed Israelis and even Americans.
  • We designated Iran not only the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world, but also the No. 1 state sponsor of global anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump said that, under his watch, the Iranian regime would not be allowed to develop the nuclear bomb that would provide Tehran with the military capability to carry out its genocidal threats to “eliminate Israel.”
  • Finally, we stood with Jewish communities around the world in their need for safety and security.

We are living in dark times. In just the last 10 months, since a new government came into power in the United States, Hamas has fired more than 4,000 rockets on Israeli civilians and cities.

Israel also experienced the Palestinians’ so-called “TikTok Intifada” with celebrities from all genres taking the side of the terrorists. Instead of acknowledging that it was Hamas—the terrorist organization that controls Gaza—attacking Israel and Israel acting in self-defense, these celebrities ranted against Israel.

Among the most famous were American supermodel twins Bella and Gigi Hadid (born to Palestinian parents), who together have more than 100 million followers on Instagram. Bella Hadid posted a video of herself at a demonstration in Brooklyn  chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” It’s a slogan that means the elimination of Israel

While these and other “beautiful people” were siding with Hamas over Israel, Jews were being assaulted on the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, and, for the first time, in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

But it’s not only Jews who are under attack. In the Middle East, Christians are being subjected to ethnic cleansing, and people all over the world are trying to divide us by race and ethnicity—people who are trying to create complete confusion about the basics of human biology and the difference between men and women; people who are trying to destroy the family unit; people who are trying to force others to inject substances into their own bodies against their will; people who are trying to silence us completely; and make anyone who they disagree with just disappear.

The silver lining is that good always triumphs over evil. It is at the moment when things look the darkest that the light breaks through and begins to shine. Let us make sure that the Jewish community and Christian communities unite. Let us create coalitions together. We Jews are very small in number. We need our Christian brothers and sisters to stand by our side.

Ellie Cohanim is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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