Hunting for Jews: Terror seizes the Jewish people worldwide

Rapidly rising anti-Jewish bigotry in the streets and on college campuses is a frightening reminder that discrimination abounds in our world.

Kibbutz Be'eri after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, Oct. 25, 2023. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90.
Kibbutz Be'eri after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, Oct. 25, 2023. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90.

“We as Jewish students now know: If Hamas terrorists were to come into our classrooms and libraries and massacre Jewish students, our own classmates would stand up and say, ‘That’s a good thing, that’s justified, that is legitimate resistance.’”

— Harvard student J.J. Kimche

The masks hiding hatred have been ripped off for all to see—from pro-Hamas protests that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge to a violent invasion of a Jewish home in Los Angeles. University campuses are now boiling over with hate towards Jewish students with threats to slit their throats. The supposedly pro-Palestinian protests do not condemn Hamas for its war crimes against Israelis and Palestinians; do not call for releasing Israeli hostages; and do not advocate for a civil society in Gaza. The anti-Israel, anti-Jewish rallies glorify terrorists and include open calls for the murder of Jews and Israelis.

Terrorizing Jewish Students on Campus

Threats were posted to an online Cornell University forum, including a warning to “shoot up” its Center for Jewish Living and kosher dining hall at 104 West. The student president of the center, Molly Goldstein, described how Jewish students feel: “The first reaction from all the students is genuine fear. Students are asking if it’s safe for them to come back to their room tonight and that they are too scared to sleep here. Parents are absolutely terrified for their children.”

At New York City’s Cooper Union College, a mob of anti-Israel protestors forced a small group of religious Jewish students to barricade themselves in the school’s library as enraged activists pounded on the doors. A librarian suggested they “go hide in the attic,” bringing back memories all too reminiscent of the Holocaust.

Sophomore Taylor Roslyn Lent recalled: “I definitely did feel threatened when there were chants calling for the murder of Jews being chanted at me from my fellow students. I felt full of fear.” A senior who didn’t want to be identified out of concern for their safety said, “When they started banging on the door, my heart started pounding. I was crying. I think if the doors weren’t locked—I don’t know what would have happened.”

The university’s president described the rally as a “peaceful protest.”

Students on campus are openly embracing Hamas’s terrorist propaganda. The Yale Daily News student newspaper “corrected” an op-ed written by sophomore Sahar Tartak: “This column has been edited to remove unsubstantiated claims that Hamas raped women and beheaded men.” Forensic evidence showed signs of violent rape to the point of broken bones. Journalist and author Bari Weiss responded: “This is Holocaust denial in real-time.” Jewish rape victims on campus are feeling very isolated because they are witnessing justifications for rape against Israeli Jews.

The University of California Ethnic Studies Faculty Council sent a letter to university officials falsely slandered Israel and denied that the 10/7 atrocities committed by Hamas were terrorist attacks. Dozens of Columbia University and Barnard College faculty justified the barbaric Hamas terrorism as a legitimate “military response.”

The Anti-Defamation League reports that there have been more than 100 anti-Israel rallies on American university campuses since 10/7; at least 27 included expressions of support for terrorism. About 70 campuses witnessed students walk out of class to oppose Israel; at least 11 of those included support for terrorism. The ADL and Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law urged presidents of nearly 200 universities and colleges to “investigate the activities of Students for Justice in Palestine for potential violations of the prohibition against materially supporting a foreign terrorist organization.”

At the same time, there is growing national support for Jews on campus. The Biden administration announced that it is tracking threats, working with campus law-enforcement officials and actively engaging with universities to address their needs to protect Jewish students. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is also expediting Title VI Civil Rights discrimination complaints against Jews on campus.

An antisemitic mob at Makhachkala Uytash Airport in Russia’s Dagestan Republic, Oct. 29, 2023. Source: Screenshot.

Hunting for Jews

A man broke into a Jewish family’s home in Los Angeles shouting “Kill Jews” and “Free Palestine.” Australians drove cars through Sydney, rolled down their windows and demanded: “Where are the Jews?” Angry mobs swarmed a Russian airport searching for Jews on a plane arriving from Israel, ordering passengers to show their passports.

Chants of “Gas the Jews” were heard outside the Sydney Opera House and in years past on the streets of New York. A few years ago, anti-Jewish, pro-Palestinian protestors questioned Los Angeles diners on the street if they were Jews before assaulting them.

For Jews, these “Jew-hunts” are painful flashbacks to Nazi Germany. ‘Hunt for Jews’ (Judenjagd in German) were German-conducted searches starting in 1942 for Jews who were in hiding in Nazi-occupied Poland. Now, Jewish people around the world are increasingly fearful for their safety, including in America.

Saturday is the day of rest for Jews, but now it is exploited as a day of unrest as rallies against the Jewish state spread across America and the world. The 10/7 surprise attacks were also on Shabbat and the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and intentionally massacred more than 1,400 civilians, and abducted nearly 250 Israelis and foreign visitors. Many women, children and infants were herded into the backs of trucks and tossed on the back of motorcycles to be held hostage in the Gaza Strip.

A shocked Israel responded to the atrocities with a targeted mission to eliminate Hamas military leadership and infrastructure. Hamas has methodically used hospitals, schools and other civilian structures to hide its caches of weapons, ammunition and fuel along with the humanitarian supplies intended for its citizens that are diverted for its own fighters. The Israeli Defense Forces—widely regarded as the world’s most moral military—have been compelled to attack military infrastructure, most often embedded in residential areas and unfortunately causing unwanted civilian casualties.

A rally at Tulane University in New Orleans got violent after a pro-Palestinian supporter hit a Jewish student in the face on Oct. 26, 2023. Photo by Bali Levine.

Worldwide Anti-Israel Rallies Stir More Hate

An anti-Israel march of 7,000 Hamas supporters shut down the Brooklyn Bridge during Shabbat in a city known for its large Jewish population; Jews were told to avoid the area. Scheduling rallies on the Jewish day of rest and on Jewish holidays is a well-known tactic used to minimize counter-protests by Jews. The so-called pro-Palestinian activists led the rally with a banner mourning the martyred terrorists, justifying the 10/7 attacks and calling for the genocidal destruction of the Jewish state. The day before, hundreds shut down Grand Central Station during a rush-hour protest.

Pro-Hamas sentiment is shocking European Jews and rekindling fears about their future in Europe; 100,000 marched across London Bridge on Shabbat. There have been several cases of British residents tearing down posters of kidnapped Israelis and even drawing Hitler mustaches on the faces of the women and children hostages. Extremist imams in the United Kingdom are using their pulpits to openly attack Jews.

The German government vehemently condemned the country’s recent surge of anti-Jewish violence, warning that it risks transporting the country back to its “most horrific times,” as the birthplace of Nazism and the perpetrators of Jewish genocide. As ISIS calls for attacks on Jews around the world, other notable attacks include an anonymous caller who declared that “bombs would blow up in 20 different Jewish schools” in the Paris area; a Turkish bookstore posting “Jews not allowed” on an entrance sign; and a Pakistani senator tweeting a picture of Hitler, stating that “the world knows why he did what he did.” Even in China, the term “anti-Jew” is surging across social media.

American Jews were reminded of how hateful words and incitement can lead to violence as they remembered the deadliest attack against American Jews on Oct. 27 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The fifth anniversary this past week of the mass shooting by a lone gunman that led to the deaths of 11 Jewish worshippers serves as a vivid reminder that the safety of Jews in America can change very quickly.

Points to consider:

  1. 10/7 is a date that will live in Jewish infamy.

Oct. 7 is a date etched into the collective Jewish memory, bearing deep significance for the State of Israel and Jews worldwide. Just as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor marked a turning point for America, 10/7 signifies a crucial moment in Jewish history. From surviving historical horrors, including the Inquisition, countless pogroms and the Holocaust, to defending Israel, 10/7 underscores the unwavering commitment to safeguarding the future of the Jewish state. This date represents the memories and challenges endured in the Jewish people’s relentless pursuit of self-determination and security. This is another war of independence against the evil forces that pursue the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.

  1. Hamas is a fanatical jihadist organization that must be destroyed.

Hamas is an undeniable threat to the sanctity of human life. Its charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews, leaving no room for peaceful coexistence. While we mourn the loss of innocent Israelis and Palestinians, it is the terror group’s cynical decision to hide its operations among the civilian population that forces Israelis and Palestinians to live under its constant threat of violence. Many Gazans do not want to live under Hamas rule: “There can’t be peace with Hamas. I want Gaza to be liberated from the government of Hamas.” The elimination of Hamas and the destruction of its terrorist infrastructure are the only ways to promote regional peace and stability.

  1. Anti-Jewish bigots show their true faces, striking fear into Jews worldwide.

The unveiling of rapidly rising anti-Jewish bigotry in the streets and on campuses is a frightening reminder that discrimination abounds even in our modern world. The growth also unequivocally reveals that anti-Zionism is clearly antisemitism. Germany in the 1920s was considered the most tolerant culture in Europe, and Jews were integrated into society. Within 10 years, Germans became increasingly brainwashed to hate their fellow citizens who were different from them. Condemnation alone is insufficient to tackle this antisemitism. A multifaceted approach is necessary: education to reject stereotypes, awareness campaigns and the reinforcement of laws that combat discrimination.

  1. Hamas supporters advocate for genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The phrase “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea,” chanted at anti-Israel rallies and posted on social media, has two clear goals: the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea; and the elimination of Israeli Jews, Christians and others. This is the definition of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Anti-Israel demonstrators perversely claim that Israel is committing these acts against Palestinians, but the accusations fly in the face of reality. The Palestinian population has consistently grown. It is imperative to unequivocally condemn any statements that promote violence, hatred or harm against Jews, and to counter the repeated false claims that are becoming increasingly accepted.

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