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Oct. 7 is a turning point in American antisemitism

“Top Story with Jonathan Tobin” and guest Alvin Rosenfeld, Ep. 129

The Hamas atrocities in southern Israel on Oct. 7 and the way they have helped spark an unprecedented wave of antisemitism in the United States has created a turning point for American Jewry. According to JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin, those who claim that the open hatred and support for Jewish genocide being seen on college campuses and the streets of major cities isn’t antisemitic are only helping to make a safe place for Jew-hatred in American society. 

Tobin is joined by Alvin Rosenfeld of Indiana University Bloomington, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and one of the nation’s most eminent scholars of the study of antisemitism and the Holocaust. The two discuss the war against Israel that was launched by Hamas and the support that it’s getting from so-called “progressives.” Rosenfeld says that post-Oct. 7 events have shown the way that woke ideology, critical race theory, intersectionality and the diversity, equity and inclusion mantra have enabled hatred against Jews. As a result of these issues and more, antisemitism has become “deeply embedded in our culture.”

The scholar observed that most of those voicing opinions about the conflict “don’t understand Hamas” and its genocidal goals. “A lot of people who go against Israel either simply don’t know the facts or don’t care about the facts,” he says. “Their aim is to help liquidate the only Jewish state there is.”

He also thinks that left-wingers associated with the Jewish Voice for Peace group that spreads antisemitic libels are particularly culpable. 

While deprecating the casual Holocaust analogies that pervade American political discourse, Rosenfeld says that “what occurred on Oct. 7 resembles the worst that we’ve been through. We’ve lived for a long time with Holocaust distortion, Holocaust denial, Holocaust diminishment. We’re now seeing Oct. 7 denial, diminishment, distortion and the like. In that respect, the analogy is clear.”

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