(November 20, 2022 / JNS) During a hearing on Thursday of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, House Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J. Fifth District) posed a question, via video conference, to Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Christopher Wray.
“What’s the FBI doing to counter antisemitic threats and violence in New Jersey and around the country?” asked the congressman regarding the surge of “assault, vandalism and harassment” against Jews in his state and elsewhere.
Alluding to the detention earlier this month of 18-year-old Sayreville, N.J. resident Omar Alkattoul, who posted plans online to attack synagogues, Gottheimer said, “Fortunately, an extremist individual was ultimately arrested, [but it’s] a clear reminder to the Jewish community their places of worship are vulnerable.”
Wray prefaced his reply to the Jewish lawmaker—a member of the Democratic Party that has its own antisemitism problem—by saying that the FBI was “pleased” to have been able to thwart the above threat, and that he’d been in touch with the Anti-Defamation League about it.
“Certainly, antisemitism, and violence that comes out of it, is a persistent and present fact,” he acknowledged. “[A]bout 63% of religious hate crimes overall are motivated by antisemitism. And that’s targeting a group that makes up about 2.4% of the American population. So, it’s a community that deserves and desperately needs our support, because they’re getting hit from all sides.”
The FBI is “trying to address” this situation, he continued, “through a combination of things: one, on the domestic terrorism side, through our joint terrorism task forces; two, on the hate-crime side, through our civil-rights program, [which] we’ve elevated … to a national threat priority; [three], a domestic terrorism hate-crime fusion cell, which brings together those two programs … to try to be more proactive.”
Furthermore, he added, “we’re engaged in a very aggressive outreach campaign that’s designed to kind of raise awareness, help people know how to report, what to be on the lookout for, because we need to tap into the eyes and ears in the community. And that has included … not far from you in New York, translating some of the materials into Yiddish, for example, and Hebrew, to make [them] more accessible to certain parts of the Jewish community.”
Wray’s last reference was amusing, since the only Jews in the United States whose native tongue is Hebrew are Israelis. And neither they nor the Yiddish-speakers in certain Big Apple neighborhoods, who also know English, need the FBI to tell them how to recognize antisemitism when they witness or experience it.
Being called a “dirty Jew” by thugs throwing punches doesn’t get lost in translation, after all. Ditto for anti-Israel epithets hurled by individuals or groups of protesters waving placards about so-called “war crimes” committed against Palestinians by the “apartheid” Jewish state.
Speaking of which, Wray has some nerve touting his agency’s efforts at combating antisemitism, and not only due to a clear lack of success on its part, as statistics keep showing. No, a massive, inefficient bureaucracy like the FBI is ill-equipped to tackle a multi-pronged phenomenon that’s exploding in various forms on city streets, college campuses, social media and Capitol Hill. It’s not even good at focusing on its actual job of apprehending perpetrators and monitoring potential ones.
But it’s the height of chutzpah for him to be patting himself on the back for attempting to minimize antisemitism, while in the midst of a mission that fans its flames. Indeed, the FBI suddenly decided to launch a new probe into the May 11 death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
The veteran Al Jazeera reporter was killed while covering an Israel Defense Forces raid on Jenin—a hotbed of Hamas and Islamic Jihad activity—in pursuit of a terrorist operating there. Though there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind, including the deceitful Palestinian Authority, that she’d been caught in a crossfire, the powers-that-be in Ramallah, along with CNN and other mendacious outlets, accused Israel of murder.
Israel promptly opened an investigation and asked the P.A. to join. The latter not only declined to cooperate, but refused to hand over the bullet that was removed from Abu Aleh’s head.
The days and weeks that followed saw antisemites everywhere asserting that the IDF had assassinated the Christian-Arab eastern Jerusalemite (a dual citizen with a U.S. passport). By the time that the P.A. produced the damaged bullet fragment in question, the ballistic exam was, according to the administration in Washington, “inconclusive.”
Nevertheless, the Israeli military took responsibility for the incident, stating in September: “There is a high possibility that Ms. Abu Akleh was accidentally hit by IDF gunfire aimed at suspects identified as armed Palestinian gunmen.” Since no admirable deed goes unpunished, more than 20 Democratic senators signed a letter calling for an independent FBI inquiry into the matter.
The FBI complied with this outrageous request, the sole purpose of which is to blacken the reputation of the Jewish state and strengthen its singling out for international condemnation. This, by definition, constitutes antisemitism.
In other words, the FBI is taking credit for fighting the very thing that it’s helping to foment. Shame on the U.S. Justice Department for abetting Israel’s enemies abroad and Jew-haters at home.
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ ”
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