Is anti-Semitism truly on the rise in the U.S.? It’s not so clear. – The Washington Post
2017/02/21 Leave a comment
Marc Oppenheimer on the more important issue than the numbers:
Overall, however, we won’t know for many more months, when the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League have better data to work with, if Nov. 9, 2016, was the start of something new or just a continuation of a regrettable but enduring legacy. My best guess is that we are facing a continued march of the low-level, but ineradicable, Jew hatred that we always live with.
But for now, we Jews should worry less about whether attacks against us are “on the rise,” because it’s not clear whether they are. That’s not the most important question, because to any student of history it’s no comfort if anti-Semitic attacks aren’t on the rise. In many times and places, Jews have been the canary in the coal mine; when racist authoritarianism arrives, we Jews are among the first to sniff it in the air. But that’s not true in this time and place. This isn’t Germany in 1933. In the United States in 2017, the first to be targeted are Muslims or Mexicans — after which they will probably come for Jews, gays, blacks and all the other apparent undesirables who irk Trump’s angriest followers. The real question a reporter who cares about Jewish safety should ask Trump is about the health and safety of other minority groups.
Consider the right-wing parties in Poland, Hungary, Russia, France and elsewhere in Europe: None of them takes anti-Semitism as its central organizing principle. They all have other boogeymen, in many cases Muslims. But Hungary’s Jobbik, the third-largest party in the country, is clearly anti-Semitic, and Poland’s nationalist government, with its revisionist World War II history, is worrisome. All of them attract the support of anti-Semites, and all of them could be expected, like Francisco Franco during World War II, to comfortably make common cause with anti-Semites.
Right-wing and nativist violence does not always begin with Jews. But by fixating on attacks against Jews, we are forgetting the cardinal rule of Jewish self-survival: It may not start with us, but it always ends with us.