Muslim America’s antisemitism problem

American Jews, politicians and federal agencies must come together to counter a wave of racism.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally in front of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco two days after Hamas massacred 1,400 men, women and children in southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Credit: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally in front of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco two days after Hamas massacred 1,400 men, women and children in southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Credit: Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock.
Benjamin Kerstein
Benjamin Kerstein is a writer and editor living in Tel Aviv. Read more of his work on Substack at No Delusions, No Despair. Purchase his books here.

A very large part of the Muslim American community has collapsed into antisemitism. This is a terrible thing to have to say, but if recent polls are accurate—and they confirm the evidence of our eyes—then it must be said.

A week and a half after Hamas’s Oct. 7 rampage of war crimes, long past the time when the scope and nature of the atrocities became clear to any thinking person, the Cygnal group conducted a poll showing that a decisive majority (57.5%) of Muslim Americans believe that the Hamas slaughter was either somewhat or decidedly justified.

This was mere statistical proof of what is in evidence in every major American city: Thousands of Muslim antisemites taking to the streets, shrieking their support for murdering as many Jews as humanly possible.

These spectacles have been matched with actual acts of physical violence, vandalism and intimidation, including one that involved a Muslim-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. There have also been numerous reports of Muslim American academics, politicians, educators, clerics and others engaging in apologetics for Hamas’s atrocities.

This is not to mention the major Muslim American political organizations and NGOs, many of which are spearheading the campaign to force an Israeli surrender to Hamas and defame Israel as a war criminal for defending itself. They and their political allies are now doing everything in their power to terrorize the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden into withdrawing their support for Israeli military action.

Several things, then, are now clear. First and most important, the majority of Muslim Americans hate Jews and support killing them. No other conclusion can be drawn, and the implications are obvious: Millions of Muslim Americans have embraced antisemitism and, as a result, have collapsed to a moral nadir unseen in the United States since the days of segregation and lynching.

This collapse, moreover, cuts across all lines of class, age, race, national origin, religious observance and political affiliation. Sixty-percent support for terrorism and mass murder cannot be put down to a few extremists or marginal elements.

This is, in a sense, a tragic irony, because for decades the members of the American Jewish community have bent over backwards and twisted themselves into knots in order to please their Muslim fellow citizens. Through innumerable interfaith efforts, political collaborations and acts of allyship, American Jews have extolled, embraced, cajoled and outright begged the Muslim American community to love them. They have now been repaid with hate, racism and violence.

A few of us are not surprised at this, but I know for a fact that a great many—perhaps the majority—of American Jews are, and have no idea what to do about it.

This is not a question, moreover, for the Jews. It is an issue for all Americans. A minority several millions strong now contains a large number of people who support terrorism, embrace a virulently racist ideology, want to annihilate an entire country and feel no compunction about persecuting their fellow citizens on the basis of their ethnicity and religion. Such things violate the most basic and elementary values upon which the republic was founded.

The implications are terrible for all involved. Nonetheless, there is a great deal that can be done.

For the Jewish community, the response is obvious: Sever all connections to the Muslim American community. Make it clear to Muslim American leaders that there will be no more interfaith efforts, political support, financial aid, collaboration, dialogue, social interaction or indeed anything else until a serious effort is made to deal with the problem.

On a national level, no politician should ever speak the words “antisemitism” and “Islamophobia” in the same breath again. Instead, they should publicly and explicitly call out the Muslim American community and its leaders and insist that they deal with the problem effectively.

If this initial demand is rebuffed, as it almost certainly will be, then a federal investigation into the relevant Muslim American institutions and organizations should be ordered. The FBI and other agencies should determine whether organizations such as CAIR, hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, mosques, schools and charities engage in antisemitic hate speech and actions.

If such transgressions are discovered, those involved should face severe penalties. Individuals who are not American citizens should be summarily deported. Those who are citizens should face felony charges. Campus groups should be banned. A mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison should be instituted for anyone who commits an antisemitic hate crime, regardless of the perpetrator’s race or religion.

Finally, all Muslim American leaders and organizations that engage in or promote antisemitism should be canceled and expelled from the public square. The government should refuse to engage with them and politicians should shun them. Pushed to the edges of the political spectrum, they should be left to dissolve themselves in the acid of their own venom.

If these measures are taken, then the 40% of the Muslim American community that has remained sane has at least a fighting chance. But it is clear that, for the moment, the inmates are running the asylum. Such a situation cannot be permitted to continue. If it does continue, it is not only Jewish Americans who are in danger but the American ideal itself.

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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