It looks like 2022 will set the record for annual antisemitic incidents in America. With the political polarization of the United States and the lack of civil discourse, the forecast for 2023 is not much better.
Social media, which amplifies and promotes antisemitic messages, may be the main culprit. The lack of oversight and controls on various platforms has allowed antisemitic conspiracy theories to spread and had a terrible effect on society in general.
Jews throughout history have been the first target of hate when the economy is failing, and thus a barometer of social ills. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a rupture in global society and the global economy. The fallout has included a rise in antisemitism. Between a depressed economy and Covid fears and anxiety, Jew-hate has had a field day.
Add in celebrities like Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) who use antisemitism to grow their brand, and you have a perfect storm.
On top of this, the American university system has become a boot camp for future antisemites, who use the State of Israel as a pretext for their hate.
In 2012, there were 927 antisemitic incidents, according to the ADL. In 2021, there were 2,717. 2022 appears to have surpassed even this outrageous number.
One out four Jews in the U.S. have been subjected to antisemitism, according to the American Jewish Committee. This figure is probably an underestimate, since 40% of hate crimes against Jews go unreported.
In New York City, antisemitic hate crimes more than doubled in Nov. 2022 compared to Nov. 2021. This came on the heels of the scandals surrounding Ye and Kyrie Irving. A father and son were recently targeted with a BB gun on Staten Island. Christopher Brown and Matthew Mahrer were arrested for planning a synagogue shooting in New York City.
The icing on the cake was that The New York Times published a swastika embedded in a crossword puzzle on the first day of Hanukkah. This is an example of the “normalization” of antisemitism, but antisemitism has to be stamped out, not “normalized.”
There must be zero tolerance for antisemitism. For example, Jew-hating social media posts must be removed immediately, as has been rarely been the case. Purveyors of antisemitism whether in Congress or online have to be called out and censured appropriately.
Antisemitism can only be fought with strength and vigilance. Never again must mean exactly that.
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.