Antisemitic wildfire: Violence rapidly spreads worldwide

The Antisemitism Worldwide Report for 2023 recently concluded that the growing scourge “isn’t just an abstract issue. It’s a real-life threat to Jewish life in America and Jews around the world.”

An anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from Southern Lebanon, as it seen from the northern Israeli town of Safed on June 27, 2024. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
An anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from Southern Lebanon, as it seen from the northern Israeli town of Safed on June 27, 2024. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.

Increasingly vicious assaults on Jews around the world are forcing Jews to question their place in local communities. Anti-Jewish hatred knows no borders. From the rape of a 12-year-old Jewish girl in France to attacks on synagogues in Russia and the pogrom against Jews in Los Angeles, proves once again that antisemitism is a dangerous virus.

At the same time, Israel is facing an increasingly dangerous threat on its northern border from the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization. Hezbollah’s rampant rocket fire into northern Israel has forced nearly 100,000 Israelis from their homes indefinitely.

‘All day you hear bombs’

Goni Harash works as a security guard on a kibbutz in northern Israel: “On the one hand people are happy to be here. You can’t hide and people don’t want to hide. But everything is really tense. All day you can hear bombs, sirens and alarms. My kids used to walk to school. Now they don’t walk anywhere on their own.”

Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon have launched more than 5,000 rockets, missiles and drones at Israel since Oct. 7, forcing Israeli residents to flee their homes, schools and businesses. One-third of the homes in the town of Metula have been destroyed by rocket fire. And there is no end in sight. A leading counter-terrorism expert warned that Hezbollah—boasting a 100,000-member fighting force—would use the “same cruelty as Hamas on Oct. 7, just on a much larger scale.”

Hezbollah began firing rockets against Israel on Oct. 8 in a show of unity with Hamas, another Iranian proxy. The deadly onslaught has killed 11 civilians, 19 soldiers, destroyed homes and burned thousands of acres of land. In recent attacks, Hezbollah swarmed northern Israel wih attack drones, injured two members of an Israeli town’s security team in a missile attack and launched dozens of rockets into Israel.

The Israeli Air Force has responded by targeting key terrorist leaders and weapons facilities. The U.N. secretary-general expressed concern about Israel’s response yet it is Hezbollah that systematically violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Hezbollah Rocket and Missile Arsenals
A map shows the increased range and lethality of Hezbollah rockets from 2006 to 2024. Credit: Courtesy of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, “The Next Unthinkable Attack: Growing Risks of a Third Lebanon War,” October 2023.

Beirut International Airport: Hub for Hezbollah

Hezbollah and Hamas execute the same tactic of using civilian areas to house rockets, explosives and weapons. Workers at Beirut International Airport recently revealed to The Telegraph, a British newspaper:

  • “For years, I have been watching Hezbollah operating at Beirut airport.”
  • “Hezbollah’s second in command is always showing up at customs.”
  • “If they keep bringing in these goods I’m not allowed to check, I really believe I’ll die from the explosion.”
  • “This is extremely serious, mysterious large boxes arriving on direct flights from Iran are a sign that things got worse.”
  • “It’s just a matter of time before a disaster.”

A Hezbollah minister in the Lebanese government responded by leading reporters and ambassadors on a tour of the Lebanese capital’s airport to prove that “there is nothing to hide.” However, the group was barred from accessing the area where the weapons were suspected of being stored, abruptly ending the tour. Hezbollah effectively controls large areas of Lebanon, including its border with Israel.

Hezbollah is armed to the teeth: Could fire 3,000 rockets per day

Tens of thousands of Iran-backed fighters in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries have volunteered to join Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon for a full-scale war against Israel. Hezbollah’s leader recently declined their invitation because “we are overwhelmed by the number we have.”

Haifa Drone Footage
Hezbollah openly threatened Israel in a recent 10-minute video of drone footage showing strategic sites in northern Israel. Haifa is Israel’s third-largest city. Potential targets included Haifa’s port and a Navy facility. Credit: Courtesy.

Hezbollah is armed with more than 200,000 lethal drones, missiles and rockets. Its precision-guided rockets armed with deadly warheads are capable of reaching every major Israeli city. Senior American officials recently assured Israel that the Biden administration would fully back Israel in an all-out war, but are concerned about what this would mean for Israel. Officials are worried that the Iron Dome defense system would be overwhelmed and it does not defend against drone attacks. Hezbollah is capable of firing 3,000 rockets per day.

Support for Hezbollah, Hamas grows: ‘Invest in Western students’

A Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament recently stressed that “we should invest in the Western students. We need to enter the heart of Western societies.” Days later, a Lebanese government minister emphasized that “an American student holding a Hezbollah flag is a symbol that Hezbollah speaks on this student’s behalf.” The following week at Hunter College in New York City, anti-Israel protesters waved Hezbollah and Hamas flags. They glorified terrorism as they held banners and chanted slogans, including “Long live October 7.”

Increasing attacks on American Jews: From synagogues to sidewalks

More than 150 anti-Israel protesters surrounded a synagogue in Los Angeles, blocked Jews from entering their house of worship and chanted that intifada was the “only solution.” Violence ensued. Journalists reported that Jews were beaten and pepper-sprayed. A video clip showed two assailants armed with clubs driving into a neighborhood and attempting to attack a man walking his dog. At a gas station, police arrested a couple after they yelled from their car and drove towards Jews waving flags on the sidewalk.

Resident Sam Yerbi described the attacks as “hunting Jews.” U.S. President Joe Biden stated that he was “appalled by the scenes outside the LA synagogue. Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic and un-American. Americans have a right to peaceful protest. But blocking access to a house of worship—and engaging in violence—is never acceptable.”

Anti-Israel Protesters in Los Angeles
Anti-Israel protesters being arrested by police outside a gas station in Los Angeles. Their young child is strapped into his car seat while they taunt Jews waving Jewish and Israeli flags, June 23, 2024. Source: Screenshot.

Bomb threats were sent to more than 50 Florida synagogues. Local Rabbi Yisroel Harlig said: “The climate of the country and the world is seeing more antisemitism coming to a head since Oct. 7. It is sad. We as a Jewish community must say that we are not going to accept it. We are not going to run away.”

An antisemite spat on a 74-year-old Jewish man on the street in New York City, then shouted “Free Palestine.” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez helped remove anti-Israel graffiti from a kosher bagel shop that was targeted for the fourth time, where vandals had spray-painted “Free Palestine.” A New York Jewish family was physically assaulted at their children’s fifth-grade commencement ceremony by assailants shouting, “Free Palestine, death to Israel.” The police arrested an attacker who punched and dragged the father.

Worldwide hate surges: French boys gang-rape 12-year-old girl

French police arrested two 13-year-old boys who gang-raped a girl in a Paris suburb. She was dragged from a park to a shed, where she was beaten and raped while the perpetrators “uttered death threats and antisemitic remarks.” They questioned her about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, and called her a “dirty Jew.” A 12-year-old boy also was charged in the attack.

Hundreds of French citizens turned out for a protest rally against antisemitism, with one banner reading: “Raped at 12 because she was Jewish.” Exactly one week later, three goons assaulted six Jewish children outside a movie theater in another Paris suburb. One victim was slapped several times. French prosecutors also charged two teens—one a minor—for planning terrorist attacks against Jewish targets. The 19-year-old was charged with the “acquisition and possession of arms for a terrorist enterprise.”

There have been several significant attacks against Jews for simply being Jews in France since 2006, with many of the perpetrators motivated by anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. This includes 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll who was stabbed 11 times and set on fire in her Paris apartment in 2018.

The Antisemitism Worldwide Report for 2023 recently concluded: “Oct. 7 helped spread a fire that was already out of control. Antisemitism isn’t just an abstract issue. It’s a real-life threat to Jewish life in America and Jews around the world.” Other recent attacks: a Holocaust museum sign in Montreal was vandalized with “F%#@ Israel” graffiti, a memorial for Belgian resistance fighters who saved Jews during the Holocaust was defaced with graffiti and Islamic terrorists killed 19 in Russia in attacks on both synagogues and churches.

lobal Acts of Antisemitism
A synagogue was damaged by Islamic terrorists in Russia, a plaque and memorial honoring non-Jewish resistance fighters who saved Jews during the Holocaust was vandalized in Belgium, and a Holocaust museum sign was defaced in Montreal in the spring of 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

Tree of Life is a powerful reminder: ‘Learn lessons of the past’

A groundbreaking ceremony for a new synagogue, museum and memorial site was held on June 23 commemorating the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, the scene of the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history in 2018. The attacker believed in multiple anti-Jewish conspiracy theories that led him to murder 11 Jewish worshippers, most of them elderly, during Shabbat-morning services.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said: “I know this is a difficult time in America, on college campuses and in our town squares. Antisemitism is rising, and some world leaders offer permission slips to hate. Here, on this sacred ground, we should learn the lessons of the past, develop the tools to speak up and build safer communities for all.”

Points to consider:

  1. Iran is committed to destroying the Jewish state and fueling violence against Jews.

Iran and Hezbollah present an existential threat to Israeli citizens. Iran’s support for Hezbollah ensures a steady stream of weapons, funding and training, enabling relentless attacks on Israel that have created a climate of fear and instability since Oct. 7. The goal is to destroy Israel, not to free Lebanon from occupation. Iran’s leaders openly call for Israel’s annihilation, and Hezbollah mirrors this intent with its actions and rhetoric. International leaders and organizations need to recognize that this threat is not confined to Israel’s borders because it also fuels worldwide anti-Jewish sentiment and violence.

  1. Americans would not tolerate attacks from Canada against Michigan.

Relentless assaults from Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists have forced tens of thousands of Israelis on the northern border to abandon their homes, schools and businesses, where the escalation of violence and the untenable status quo demand immediate attention. Just as Americans would refuse to accept such a threat to their citizens, the international community must recognize the urgency of protecting Israeli lives and ensuring their safety.

  1. Calls to ‘Free Palestine’ are not a license to attack Jews.

While advocating for Palestinian rights is valid, using it as a justification to attack Jews is not. Slogans like “Free Palestine” are increasingly used to justify violent attacks on Jewish individuals and communities worldwide. Jews are being raped, assaulted and spat on under the banner of “Free Palestine.” Anti-Jewish violence under the guise of political protest is unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned. Politicians, activists and community leaders need to emphasize that support for Palestinians does not mean harming Jews and denying Israel’s existence, and may ultimately hurt the Palestinian cause. Promoting peace and justice requires rejecting all forms of hatred and violence.

  1. The masks are off: Bigots openly spew hatred and physically attack Jews.

Anti-Jewish bigots are increasingly feeling emboldened. Social-media incitement, public verbal abuse and “Jew hunts” are rapidly escalating in communities around the world. Recent events in America and France are only the latest examples of this disturbing trend. It has become fashionable again to target Jews, sometimes without fear of arrest. “Zionist” has become a code word for Jew, allowing bigots to justify attacks. This trend has led to a surge in hate crimes. People of good conscience need to recognize and address this blatant anti-Jewish hatred to ensure that Jewish people can live safely and without fear.

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