Since Hamas’ October 7 massacre, a tidal wave of leftist antisemitic hatred has put Jews everywhere at risk. Angry, radical leftist-organized pro-Palestinian mobs have taken to the streets of cities around the world to cheer for Hamas’ genocidal barbarism, and inspiring a wave of antisemitic attacks.
A synagogue in Berlin was firebombed on October 18. In Paris, the door of an elderly Jewish couple’s apartment was burned because it displayed a mezuzah. Ten days after the October 7 attack, London police reported 218 antisemitic hate crimes, a 1,350 percent increase over the same period last year, and two Jewish schools in London were closed temporarily, over concerns for the safety of their students.
Over the weekend, in the Muslim-populated southern Russian province of Dagestan, hundreds of rioters stormed an airport in search of Jewish travelers to attack, after an El Al flight arrived from Tel Aviv. Angry mobs also raided hotels in other parts of the North Caucasus looking for Jewish victims.
The Anti-Defamation League reported a 388% increase in antisemitic incidents from October 7-23 compared with the same period a year ago.
Since October 7, college campuses across America have become the epicenter of leftist pro-Palestine agitation, promoting an ideology that is openly hostile to Israel’s very existence. The Jewish students at those schools are now under siege. They have become the targets of pro-Palestinian mobs, and received little or no support or protection from university administrators who have deliberately turned a blind eye to the virulent, open expressions of antisemitism now running rampant in their schools.
For example, pro-Palestinian student groups at Harvard have accused Israel of being “entirely responsible” for the heinous Hamas attack on October 7. Student groups at the University of Virginia went a step further, by declaring that “colonized people (Palestinians) can resist occupation of their land by whatever means they deem necessary,” including the mass butchery of defenseless Israeli women and children. Students in San Francisco marched through the halls of their public high school chanting the battle cry of Hamas jihadists, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and calling for the elimination of Israel’s Jews.
Last week, Jewish students at Cooper Union, in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, fearing for their lives, barricaded themselves inside the school library as an angry mob of student demonstrators chanting pro-Hamas slogans and “Free Palestine” banged on the doors and windows in order to get at them.
At Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, campus police put the school’s Center for Jewish Living under guard Sunday after posts appeared in an online discussion forum threatening to shoot the school’s Jewish students and encouraging Cornell to tear down the Jewish Center which hosts the school’s kosher dining room. Campus police have also referred the threatening posts on social media to the FBI as a potential hate crime.
Cornell president, Martha Pollack, reacted to the posts by declaring, “We will not tolerate antisemitism at Cornell. Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable, and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are punished to the full extent of the law.”
Meanwhile, Rabbi Ari Weiss, the director of Cornell’s Hillel organization, said that the school’s Jewish students are “scared and concerned for their safety” because they see the threatening posts “as a call for our genocide.”
On Monday morning, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul paid a visit to the Cornell campus to meet with some of its Jewish students. She called the threatening posts “disgusting and hateful,” and directed New York State Police to increase security on the college campus. She also said, “We want to let people know if you’re going to engage in these hateful actions, hate crimes, breaking our laws, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
On Monday, a group of around 20 Jewish students from Columbia University and Barnard College, many of whom were wearing yarmulkes or Mogen Davids, denounced the university’s administration for its “inaction against antisemitism” in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack.
Second-year law student Eli Shmidman, 26, from Queens, was the victim of an antisemitic attack on October 19 when another student accosted him in the Columbia law school building and cursed him for being Jewish, and another Jewish student was assaulted while putting up posters about Israeli hostages taken by Hamas.
In the press conference held by the Columbia Jewish students Monday, Shmidman said, “We got to this point because the Columbia administration, by their inaction, has enabled antisemitic rhetoric to spread and fester on the Columbia campus and throughout the university.”
He then added, “I was once proud to say, ‘I attended Columbia Law School,’ and proud to one day say that I will be an alum of this institution, but no more. I’m embarrassed.”
NYPD TOLERATES A REPLAY OF THE 1991 CROWN HEIGHTS RIOTS
But that was not the worst of it. When a pro-Palestinian group announced plans to hold a Shabbos afternoon rally in support of Hamas in front of the Brooklyn Museum, the NYPD advised the members of the nearby Lubavitch community in Crown Heights to stay in their homes rather than risk a violent confrontation with the mob on Eastern Parkway.
Writing in the New York Post, John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine, finds this cowardly response by black New York City mayor Eric Adams and his police force disturbingly reminiscent of the conditions that led to the Crown Heights riots more than 30 years ago.
For three days in August of 1991, the Jews of Crown Heights lived in constant fear of attack from angry black mobs that police allowed to roam the streets. The mobs were seeking revenge for a seven-year-old black child who had been accidentally struck and killed by a car that was part of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s motorcade.
Following the accident, the NYPD was ordered by New York City’s first black mayor, David Dinkins, not to interfere with the mobs of blacks which were being led by racial rabble-rousers such as Al Sharpton. On the third day of unfettered violence, Sharpton personally led a march through the streets of Crown Heights with a mob who carried antisemitic flags and burned an Israeli flag. Before Mayor Dinkins finally ordered his police to put the mobs down, they had beaten 38 Jews, looted and burned seven local Jewish-owned businesses, and fatally stabbed a visiting Australian student, Yankel Rosenbaum Hy”d.
Last week, that history repeated itself. New York City’s police, under orders from another black mayor, once again refused to offer protection for the Jews of Crown Heights put at risk from another antisemitic mob, this time made up of leftist Hamas supporters. According to Podhoretz, an unnamed “security source” instructed Shmira, the local chassidic community’s self-defense association, to warn the Jewish families of Crown Heights that it would be too dangerous to take their usual Shabbos afternoon walks on Eastern Parkway. Instead, they were told to stay inside, hiding in fear behind their locked doors while the antisemitic mob celebrated the mass murder of Jews in southern Israel on October 7.
In his sad conclusion, Podhoretz wrote, “In my 62 years of life, I have thought every day of the blessing America has been to the Jewish people — a blessing unlike any my people have ever known.
“And this, the most Jewish city in the world outside of Israel, has been a blessing as well.
“At this moment, though, the Jews had better hide.
“I cannot tell you how terrifying this is.”
BIDEN’S PRESS SECRETARY IS DEAF TO THE THREAT OF ANTISEMITISM
Even the Biden White House seems to be deep in denial over the unprecedented wave of blatantly antisemitic statements and demonstrations that has swept the nation since the Hamas attack. When Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, was asked at a White House briefing last week about President Biden’s “level of concern right now about a potential rise of antisemitism,” she responded by denying that the problem exists, declaring that, “We have not seen any credible threats (of antisemitism).” She then suggested instead that President Biden’s main concern was that American Muslims, Arab-Americans, and Palestinian-Americans “have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks” since October 7.
In fact, just the opposite is true. According to the latest FBI statistics, Muslims, who make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population, have been the target of 9.6 percent of religion-related hate crimes, whereas Jews, who make up about 2 percent of the population, suffer 51.4 percent of the hate crimes. That embarrassing fact forced Biden’s press secretary to try, very awkwardly, to walk back her answer the next day, by claiming that she had misheard the reporter’s very clear question that had focused exclusively on the “rise of antisemitism.”
In a belated effort to respond to the growing alarm in the Jewish community over the surge of antisemitic attacks on Jewish college students, the Biden White House convened a meeting at the Department of Education Monday to discuss the situation with leaders of major national Jewish organizations. The White House also announced plans to send the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, and Neera Tanden, one of Biden’s domestic policy advisors, to an unnamed university campus to hold a roundtable discussion of antisemitism with Jewish students.
ISRAEL SHOWS THE WORLD PRESS HAMAS VIDEOS OF THE MASSACRE
In order to counter these liberal and Biden administration efforts to minimize or deny the outrageous nature of the October 7 attack and the worldwide surge in antisemitism that it triggered, the Israeli government held a very special press conference in Tel Aviv for 250 Israeli and international journalists. It displayed 43 minutes of captured raw video footage recorded during the attack by body cams worn by some of the Hamas terrorists.
The video was introduced by Israeli army spokesman Daniel Agari, who said. “We want people to understand what we are fighting for. . .
“This is not about rage or righteousness but the sense that this is a crime vs humanity. This is good vs bad. Death vs life. These (terrorists) will do anything, (commit any crime), and it’s nothing to do with Islam.”
Agari then asks rhetorically, “Why did (the terrorists) strap GoPro (cameras) to themselves? Why do they call the family of (the Jewish victim) they murdered?”
“Because they are proud of what they did,” he answers.
“They killed babies, old people, sick people…we won’t allow the world to forget who we are fighting.”
“Hamas wants dead Gazans,” Agari emphasized. “(Otherwise) you don’t take human shields; you don’t burrow under hospitals.”
The Israelis then displayed the captured video footage that the terrorists had proudly recorded during their attack. The montage of sadistic, bloodthirsty acts of barbarism and the cold-blooded murder of defenseless civilians, including women, children, and even newborn babies, rivaled the worst atrocities committed by the Nazis. The presentation also included a translated audio clip in which one of the Hamas terrorists called his father to declare proudly, “Father, I killed 10 Jews! Check your WhatsApp! I sent you the photos!”
As intended, the shocking videos made a deep impression on Tablet reporter David Patrikarakos, who wrote, “Those images are but one horrific event in a broader conflict that is tragic in the truest sense of the word because there are no good options. The occupation, the suffering of Gazan civilians, the endless, endless violence. Israel is responding, because it has a duty to — just like it has a duty to safeguard the life of Gazan civilians.
“But something else is clear, too. Something that the footage confirmed. What happened on 7 October had nothing to do with resistance. It had nothing to do with occupation or a one or two-state solution. It was about something far more ancient and atavistic — the desire to kill Jews wherever they are and whoever they are. And against that, there can be no retreat.”
A RUDE AWAKENING FOR LIBERAL JEWS
Many liberal Jews who have long prided themselves on their support for “oppressed minorities,” including the Palestinians, are now suffering a rude awakening. The blatant hypocrisy of the “woke” left, which has not only refused to condemn Hamas’ brutal mass murder of Israeli civilians, but actually endorsed and celebrated it, while eagerly joining in the antisemitic attacks, has forced many lifelong liberal Jews to take a long hard look at their own beliefs since the October 7 attack.
One of them is Alex Olshonsky, who has identified himself with the pro-Palestinian progressive left ever since he was a high school student 20 years ago in the liberal bastion of San Francisco.
Writing in the Tablet, Olshonsky recalled, “My mother, a New Yorker with fierce feminist beliefs, raised me with quintessentially progressive Jewish values. I was taught that we, as Jews, stand with the oppressed — because we were the oppressed. This sentiment was often reinforced by my grandparents who arrived in America penniless, the Nazis hounding at their heels.
“I took my role seriously, making it my mission to call for an immediate halt to the bulldozing of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Gaza. I plunged into extensive research and armed myself with the knowledge to effectively champion a two-state solution — a belief I passionately held in high school and continue to endorse today.
“Later, as a man in his 20s, it was only natural that I found myself firmly situated within the progressive left. I never once questioned my political home. Guided by my Jewish values, during the George Floyd tragedy and the racial reckoning that followed, I wholeheartedly embraced anti-racism initiatives.”
Olshonsky first began to have second thoughts about his liberal ideology in 2021. He discovered to his “astonishment” that two of his progressive colleagues had no compassion at all for a young Jewish woman who had reported suffering “a horrific act of antisemitism,” because they no longer considered Jew-hatred to be “legitimate racism.”
“At that moment,” Olshonsky wrote, “it became clear to me that ‘wokeness,’ or whatever term we may use to describe the new progressive social justice ideology, didn’t seem fully compatible with the perspective I had developed in a family that was very liberal because of our lineage of Holocaust survivors.
“Since then, I’ve struggled to find my political footing while maintaining a commitment to the pursuit of truth and justice. I started noticing the sinister shadow of postmodern progressivism everywhere: a seeming insistence on ‘pluralism’ that, in practice, often lacks genuine embodiment and quickly devolves into its own form of dogmatic and reductive tribalism.”
THE PERSISTENCE OF JEWISH LIBERAL SELF-DELUSION
But despite these disappointments, “my affiliation with progressivism persisted. . . I told myself, their hearts were in the right place.
“Then Hamas grotesquely murdered 1,400 Israeli citizens, including 270 at a pro-peace music festival, a gathering my friends and I would have joyously attended if we were in the Holy Land. While these events were deeply disturbing to me. . . what was even more shocking was the response from segments of the online left back home. These are progressive groups that, ostensibly, should cherish all human life and abhor all wanton violence. Instead, many celebrated these attacks as a form of ‘anti-colonialist resistance.’”
As a result of his disillusionment with the progressive left, Olshonsky writes, “It has become clear to me, (regardless) of the Israeli-Palestinian context, there’s a dark reality: Our Western culture is riddled with ambient antisemitism.”
TODAY’S ANTISEMITISM IS PREDOMINANTLY ON THE LEFT
Conservative commentator Joel Kotkin, writing in Spiked, notes, “Historically, Jews have been wary of the right, and for good reason.”
That is why “for much of the past century, Jews across Britain, North America, and Europe tilted decisively to the left. (However,) the recent atrocities committed by Hamas against Israel have challenged that trend, with Jewish sensitivities inflamed in light of the growing celebration of terrorism among progressive leftists in the West. . .
“The Jewish leftist tradition persists, but has been fading for years now. Recent events are likely to accelerate this decline,” Kotkin predicts.
“Many of those expressing support for Hamas’ actions, and opposition to any strong Israeli response, come from the left. In the past few years, we have seen the rise of a wide range of anti-Israel ‘progressive’ politicians, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Squad’ in the U.S. Congress, former British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and France’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon.”
Kotkin also notes that despite the continued threat from far-right antisemitic groups, the reality is “that in the U.S., Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the targeting of Jews now comes overwhelmingly from the left and its constituencies.
JEWS AROUND THE WORLD REACT BY SHIFTING TO THE RIGHT
This trend has already had significant political consequences. Kotkin predicts that “In France, as in the U.K., recent events are likely to accelerate the shift of Jews to the center and the right. . .
“French Jews generally no longer affiliate with their traditional Socialist Party, but with the centrist regime of Emmanuel Macron. In the U.K., Jews, once prominent in the ranks of radicals, have shifted dramatically away from their traditional Labour orientation and have largely embraced the Conservatives. Canadian Jews seem to be following a similar path, away from their historic ties to the Liberals and towards the Conservatives.
“In the U.S.. . . a similar if less dramatic shift is taking place. Jewish voters remain mostly Democratic and liberal, but they are increasingly troubled by support for Hamas’ actions from groups like Black Lives Matter. . . and the Democratic Socialists of America (including Congresswoman AOC and the openly antisemitic members of her ‘Squad,’ such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib).”
Part of this problem is undoubtedly of the Jewish Democrats’ own making. For too long, they have been unwilling to demand that their progressive allies reject the antisemitic attitudes that have now taken root in the progressive community and demand that progressives recognize the vulnerability of the Jewish community as they would that of any other minority group that is under attack.
Kotkin observes that “Even before the recent events in Gaza, the American Jewish community had been showing tentative signs of a political transformation.” He notes that today, “75 percent of Orthodox Jews identify as Republicans, up from 57 percent in 2013.” Kotkin also predicts that Biden’s “strategy of making concessions to Iran may prove decisive (in accelerating the trend of Jewish voters abandoning the Democrats), as evidence of Tehran’s culpability in backing Hamas becomes clearer.”
“Increasingly,” Kotkin concludes,” Jews are being forced to choose between their Jewish roots and their traditionally leftist political orientation.”
CONSOLATION FOR DISILLUSIONED JEWISH LIBERALS
Writing in the New York Post, Kenall Qualls offers these sympathetic words of consolation for all well-meaning young progressive liberals like Olshonsky, who were disillusioned in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack by the left’s tolerance for antisemitism and utter disregard for the value of Jewish lives.
“Your intentions were noble. You wanted to make the country and the world a better place. . .
“You were going to fundamentally change America. So you decided to consciously align with the informed, the righteous, and the highly intellectual. You wanted to be a progressive.
“You eagerly voted for the first black president and were an obstinate supporter of Black Lives Matters (BLM). You were a media-convinced believer that white cops are racist, overly abusive, and randomly shoot unarmed black men. . .
“You believed. . . your generation would usher in a post-racial America. You would solve problems faster than any previous generation. You would not be burdened by bigotry or restrictive religious beliefs untethered to scientific evidence, and an oppressive patriarchy.
“But something went wrong. What you expected and what was delivered didn’t match up…. Your expectations haven’t aligned with the pollyannaish assumptions of you and your enlightened friends. . . Now they have openly supported the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas. . . that decapitates infants, assaults women, and takes 80-year-old grandmothers as hostages.
“You find yourself needing to re-evaluate your position and assumptions. . .
“The deadliest assault of the Jewish people since Hitler’s Holocaust. . . has unexpectedly awakened you to an infected ideology that you blindly embraced for the greater good. After reexamination, you now realize, that progressivism has been the incubator and sanctuary of restricted speech, segregated dorms, underperforming public schools, feminized masculinity, and an intolerant cancel culture. The question is, what do you plan to do now?”
TODAY’S ANTISEMITISM ROOTED IN THE GEORGE FLOYD RIOTS
Fred Bauer, writing in the City Journal, traces the ugly displays of antisemitism that have erupted across the United States over the past month to the racial “reckoning” of the summer of 2020, triggered by nationwide revulsion at the death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of presumably racist white Minneapolis police officers.
The progressive advocates of identity politics then claimed that the ubiquity of the “systemic racism” revealed by the death of Floyd and a small number of other martyred blacks who had died under questionable circumstances at the hands of police “demanded the suspension of civic order and the norms of a liberal society. Rioters were thus permitted to torch public buildings, (and) loot businesses.” The progressives also took the opportunity to tear down the statues of the Founding Fathers and greatest heroes of American democracy from the past, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even Abraham Lincoln, for their alleged racism.
In reaction to the nationwide outbreak of riots and lawlessness, which was orchestrated by the leftist activists using Floyd’s death as an excuse, the American cultural, media, and business establishment quickly fell into line. Foundations and major corporations poured hundreds of millions of dollars into identity-politics activist groups. The race and identity-based standards of the progressive left were quickly adopted by the Biden administration and integrated into federal government policies, as well as the curriculums and textbooks used in our public schools, mostly without the knowledge or permission of the students’ parents. Meanwhile, any voices that were raised in dissent were quickly attacked and destroyed by the self-appointed leftist vigilantes of the cancel culture.
The same anti-American leftist logic that has been used to justify taking down the monuments to our nation’s most revered historical figures is now “being chillingly applied to those slain, maimed, and abducted by Hamas.”
THE MORAL COST OF THE PROGRESSIVE RACIAL RECKONING
Bauer writes that the moral cost to American society of that progressive racial reckoning, starting with the broad acceptance by liberals of Hamas’ genocidal policy of antisemitism, is now becoming clear. By getting people to accept the idea that the righteousness of their ideology “justifies the abrogation of individual dignity and dismissal of political pluralism, the reckoning taught lessons deeply at odds with the functioning of American democracy. . .
“In cities across the world, activists rip down pictures of people, including children, taken hostage by Hamas. Such actions send a clear message of animosity: the sufferings of Jewish hostages should be erased.”
Bauer’s concern is that the progressive movement’s open-ended endorsement of Hamas’ genocidal intentions towards Israel’s Jews, as demonstrated by the October 7 attack, has undermined its own legitimacy, is shared by Eric Levitz, who writes for the Intelligencer political analysis column in New York Magazine.
Even though Levitz has harshly criticized Israel’s policy of cutting off the essential flow of basic supplies of food, medicine, and fuel for the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza, he has also written, in a column published just four days after the October 7 attack, that, “a Left that refuses to condemn mass murder is doomed,” and warns that, “we must not forfeit our moral authority. . . by endorsing the mass murder of (Jewish) children.”
Levitz argues that the “self-styled champions” of the progressive left who are now “insisting that solidarity with Palestine requires callous indifference toward (or, at the very least, silence about) the mass murder of Jews. . . are making it easier for their adversaries to discredit and marginalize the broader cause of Palestinian liberation.”
He also contends that those leftist intellectuals who have suggested that “the killings of entire families in their beds are not atrocities. . . (and are) drastic actions in need of no apologia. . . contradicts the left’s fundamental commitment to the inherent worth of every human life.”
JEWS ARE NOT THE ONLY TARGETS OF LEFTIST HATRED
Levitz is warning his colleagues that their efforts to legitimize and justify Hamas’ genocidal attack on Israeli civilians will also have dire ramifications for other groups in American society, such as the tens of millions of Donald Trump supporters, who have been singled out for attack by the leftist progressive leadership.
In that sense, the innocent Jews killed on October 7 are serving as the proverbial “canaries in the coal mine.” Their tragic fate is both a preview and a warning about the disastrous consequences of continuing to follow the progressive liberal policy agenda to its ultimate conclusion.
And for those liberal Jews who are now surprised to find themselves at risk from the latent antisemitism of their leftist colleagues which was unleashed by Hamas’ October 7 attack, it is a disturbing reminder of the haunting confession by prominent Nazi-era German Protestant theologian Martin Niemoller, who wrote:
“First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
“Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
“Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
“Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
THE GLOBAL WAR ON THE JEWS
A Wall Street Journal editorial makes the same point, by declaring that the worldwide wave of antisemitic attacks triggered by the Hamas atrocities of October 7 amounts to the start of a global war on the Jews.
“This is why Israel is fighting and must fight as hard as it is for its survival as a state. And why it’s inexcusable for any Western politician now to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. No leader who is demonstrably incapable of protecting Jews in his or her own country should try to prevent Israel from defending itself,” the editorial states.
“This global war on Jews also clarifies what is at stake for Western societies in this fight. The West spent the decades after the civilizational catastrophe of the Holocaust vowing never again to allow itself to slide into such barbarism. What we see now in the attacks on Jews is how that slide began.
“Before there was a Chancellor Hitler in 1933, there were roving bands of Brownshirts inflicting political and antisemitic violence on the streets of Germany. They too often went unchecked by police, prosecutors, and politicians who didn’t understand the menace, sympathized with the offenders, or merely felt overwhelmed by the scale of the danger.”
The editorial concludes, “Today’s threats to democracy are different, but one lesson is the same and is crystal-clear: A Western society that can’t or won’t muster the will to defend its Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens won’t be able to defend itself.”