In Western countries, it is once again respectable to claim that Jews are the cause of social ills, that Jews bring many problems, and that Jews are evil. The brief post-Holocaust moment when it was regarded as poor taste to vilify Jews is long past.
Linda Sarsour attends the 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Kings Theatre on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in New York.
The Women's March
The West's most powerful contemporary political movement, the Women's March, has exhibited its anti-Semitism. The Women's March was initiated by factions unhappy with the result of the democratic and constitutional presidential election of 2016. Feminists were particularly incensed that Hillary Clinton lost the election, and thus failed to become the first female president, and that the winning candidate was likely to be more conservative than the losing progressive candidate. The first march was held in many cities in North America and around the world on the January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, as a protest against his election. Its slogan was "women's rights are human rights," including reproductive rights such as unlimited abortions, and the March added a litany of Leftist views on issues such as workers' rights, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, healthcare reform, and environmental priorities.
The leaders of the Women's March were lionized by the media. Tamika Mallory, "Bob Bland" (Mari Lynn Foulger), Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour were included by Fortune on a list of the "World's Greatest Leaders," proclaimed "2017 Women of the Year" by Glamour, and were on Time's list of the world's 100 most influential people.
The overt expression of Women's March anti-Semitism was the association of the March leaders with the Nation of Islam, an organization of Black Muslims known for its negative views of whites and of Jews. The leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, is notorious for his vilification of Jews. Here are a few of Farrakhan's observations:
-- "I'm not mad at you because you're so stupid," Farrakhan continued. "So when they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, you do what they do, call me an anti-Semite. Stop it, I'm anti-Termite." ( Speech at anniversary of Million Man March, 10/14/18)
-- "Satanic Jews have infected the whole world with poison and deceit." (Sermon, 5/27/18)
-- "The Jews have control over those agencies of government. When you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door. (Saviour's Day Speech, 2/25/18)
-- "Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men ... White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled a cover off of that Satanic Jew, and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through. You good Jews better separate because the satanic ones will take you to hell with them because that's where they are headed." (Saviour's Day Speech, 2/25/18)
-- "It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks. Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks ... We know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11." (Saviour's Day Speech, 2015)
The Nation of Islam's assertions that Jews were responsible for the plight of African Americans were allegedly raised by the current leaders of the Women's March at one of their first organizing meetings. "Perez and Mallory allegedly first asserted that Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people -- and even, according to a close second-hand source, claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade." (The charge that Jews were behind the slave trade has been systematically refuted by historical evidence.) The principals have denied that they ever made this argument. Most of their sponsors do not care, and continue to support them, claiming their ideological purity and importance as leaders.
What the leaders cannot deny is that Mallory attended a "Saviours' Day Meeting" featuring Farrakhan, where he "lashed out at Jews, calling them "the mother and father of apartheid" and slamming "that Satanic Jew." Farrakhan has previously called Hitler "a very great man."
In response to criticism of her affiliation with the Nation of Islam, Mallory said: "If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader!" In more direct words, Jews were the enemy of Jesus, so Jews will be the enemy of true leaders, such as Farrakhan and Mallory. (Does anyone remember that Jesus and his followers were all Jews?) In her own defense, Mallory called onMysoone, a rapper and Leftist political activist, to attest to Mallory not having anything against Jews and not being anti-Semitic. However, Mysoone himself, on Twitter, "accused Jews of oppressing black people, saying, 'Farakhan [sic] has a view of Jews based on the pain and harm that he can prove they've inflicted on blacks for hundreds of years!'"
Linda Sarsour, a favorite of President Obama, infamously tweeted that reformist Muslims Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali "are asking 4 an a$$ whippin'. I wish a could take their vaginas away—they don't deserve to be women." Furthermore: "The Muslim activist [Sarsour] has defended Farrakhan in the past, blaming the 'Jewish media' for his (and her) controversial reputation."
Neither Mallory, Sarsour, Bland, or Perez, faced with criticism for supporting Farrakhan, were willing to repudiate him and his views. "Carmen Perez defended Farrakhan in the past, telling Amelia Harnish in January that there are 'no perfect leaders' and that people need to understand Farrakhan's contributions to Black and Brown circles." In fact, the Women's March was closely associated with the Nation of Islam, because it was the Nation of Islam paramilitary corps that provided security at Women's March events. Nonetheless, on the official Women's March website can be found repeated denials of any anti-Semitism, asserting that "Women's March leaders reject anti-Semitism in all its forms."
Most of the left-leaning sponsors of the Women's March have not expressed any concern about the leaders' anti-Semitism. Those that have spoken up have doubled down on support. For example, Planned Parenthood opined: "The Women's March has become a symbol of our collective resistance to these damaging and discriminatory policies and Planned Parenthood is proud to once again, join our progressive partners for the #WomensWave mobilization to protect and advance the progress we've made as a movement dedicated to equity and justice for all people." The president of the American Federation of Teachers stated: "[Sarsour] and [Mallory] are warriors for justice and I am honored to know them and work with them & call them friends."
But not everyone continues to be delighted with Mallory, Perez, Bland, and Sarsour. The influential National Organization of Women (NOW) withdrew funding pending amelioration of leadership issues. Theresa Shook, founder of the Women's March, called for them to resign. Many state chapters of the Women's March have split from the national organization: chapters from "Houston, Washington, D.C., Alabama, Rhode Island, Florida, Portland, Illinois, Barcelona, Canada, and Women's March GLOBAL."
The anti-Semitism of the Nation of Islam and its leaders does not arise solely from a prejudicial view of black-white relations, or the fevered bigotry of a few individuals. In Islamic civilization there is a strong stream of virulent anti-Semitism, based at least in part on foundational texts of Islam: the Quran (the holy text believed to be the direct word of God/Allah) and the Hadith (the traditions of Mohamed's words and deeds).
For example, the Quran states: "O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends" (Sura V, v. 51). "They [the Jews] spread evil in the land" (Surah V, v. 62-66). "They [the Jews] are the heirs of Hell ... They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is clear from what they say ... When evil befalls you they rejoice" (Surah 111, v. 117-120). "Fight against such of those [Jews and Christians] ... until they pay for the tribute readily, being brought low" (Surah IX, v. 29). Subsequent Islamic authorities view the Jews in the same spirit.
Islamic anti-Semitism has not dissipated with time or reform; it continues to be a major strain in contemporary Islam. Manfield Gerstenfeld offers illustrations of contemporary anti-Semitism from mosque imams:
In 2017, Ramadan Elsabagh, head of the Islamic Services Foundation Quran Institute in Garland Texas, posted a recorded prayer to his Facebook page calling to "destroy the Zionists and their allies, and those who assist them and those who allowed them into the abodes of the Muslims ... Oh Allah save [Al Aqsa] from the hands of the accursed violators ... Oh Allah destroy them." Elsabagh is also a featured Quran reader on many internet sites.
When President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, Imam Raed Saleh Al-Rousan of Houston, Texas preached that "Muslims should fight the Jews." He spoke in Arabic. The Washington-based MEMRI Institute uploaded an English translation of his inciting words to their website. Al-Rousan then apologized saying that he is opposed to all forms of terrorism.
Around the same time, Imam Abdullah Khadra of Raleigh, North Carolina mentioned a Hadith -- a traditional saying of Mohammed -- about killing Jews.
In Jersey City. New Jersey, Imam Aymen El Kasaby called the Jews "apes and pigs." He promoted their annihilation and was cheered on by people attending his sermon. He prayed to Allah: "Count them one by one, and kill them down to the very last one, do not leave a single one on the face of the earth." The worshippers responded "Amen."
So too in Canada:
In 2004, South African-born Sheik Younus Kathrada from Vancouver referred to Jews as "the brothers of the monkeys and the swine" in sermons posted on the Internet. He said that the Prophet tells: "Oh Muslim, Oh slave of Allah ... behind me is a Jew. Then come and kill him." He added that Islamic scripture predicted an apocalyptic battle with the Jews. Kathrada said, "Unfortunately we hear too many people saying we must build bridges with them. No. They understand one language. It is the language of the sword, and it is the only language they understand."
Imams have a duty to provide sermons, especially Friday sermons, for their congregations. How many of their congregants absorb and accept the idea that God, Allah, hates Jews, and that it is their duty to hate Jews? We have not scrutinized North American Muslim opinion sufficiently, no doubt due to fear of being accused of "Islamophobia." Imams also run madrassas -- religious schools for children. What are the children taught about Jews? Some school boards allowMuslim prayer in schools followed by sermons written and given by students. These school prayer meetings follow Islamic rules, with males sitting in front and females sitting in back -- unless they are menstruating, in which case they are forbidden from praying. What ideas about Jews do these students, speaking in public schools, convey?
More Canadian examples of overt anti-Semitism come from university students active in Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine who engage in anti-Israel activities. Students who support BDS commonly advocate the destruction of Israel, the only Jewish country the world, and turning it into another Muslim country -- because apparently the fifty Muslim countries that exist are not sufficient. Following the now widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, using a double standard to vilify Israel is anti-Semitic. Wherever there are anti-Israel activities, anti-Semitism toward Jews follows.
The Fundamental Rights Agency released a wide-ranging study concluding that "Muslim antisemitism is the dominant identified source of harassment of Jews in Europe. It is followed by left-wing antisemitism and right-wing antisemitism."
One final example comes from one American Muslim's approach to medicine:
A hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, said it has fired a doctor after it emerged that she had been making anti-Semitic remarks for years on social media. Lara Kollab, 27, of Westlake, was a supervised resident at Cleveland Clinic from July until September 2018. On January 2, 2012, she wrote that she would "purposely give all the yahood the wrong meds," using the Arabic word for Jews. She also repeatedly expressed hope that "Allah will kill the Jews."
A long-standing strategy of the Leftist commentariat is to claim that the main threats of terrorism come from the far right, from white men. A recent example of this false claim is by Don Lemon, a CNN reporter:
"The biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them. There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban on -- you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no white guy ban," he said.
If one cares about the facts, the evidence in absolute numbers is that over the last decades there have been more terrorist attacks in the U.S. by Islamists, with more people murdered, than by any other group. Given the small size of the American Muslim population, these terrorist acts are vastly disproportionate -- the Muslim population is around one percent of the U.S. population. Not only that, but Islamic terrorist attacks in the West have been increasing.
Many of these terrorist attacks were aimed at Jews.
Left- and Right-Wing Extremism
The contemporary Left, drawing on Marxism-Leninism, has special animus toward Jews as part of its anti-religion program. Marx's inspirational view of Jews is this:
What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. ... Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time [and would] make the Jew impossible. ... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.
The Left is especially hostile toward Zionism, the Jewish liberation movement, and its manifestation in the State of Israel. The left, inspired by neo-Leninist "postcolonial" theory, views Israel as Western imperialism, Israeli Jews living in their ancestral land as "colonial settlers," and accuses Jewish Israelis of being "Nazis." The Western Left has entered into an alliance -- the "red-green alliance" -- with Islamists who profess Islamic supremacism and insist on destroying Israel. The Fundamental Rights Agency study found that "the most common anti-Semitic statement encountered by Jews in Europe is that Israelis behave like Nazis toward the Palestinians."
The BDS campaign, so popular on Western university campuses and heavily supported by Leftists and Muslims, is directed at one and only one country in the world: Israel, with a goal of destroying that country. Only Israel is deemed to be sufficiently evil to receive this special attention. No similar campaign has been directed against Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba, and other extreme violators of human rights. Leftist, secularized Jews have joined with great enthusiasm in the vilification of Israel. The so-called "Jewish Voice for Peace" has for years been advancing a campaign called "Deadly Exchange," in which professional exchanges of personnel between North American police agencies and Israel are attacked as the causes of problems in North American police-minority relations. If blacks believe that they are being harassed and brutalized by American police, the "Jewish Voice for Peace" wants them to understand that Jews are at fault. This invention of Jewish evil-at-a-distance is an imaginative, anti-Semitic program of the Left.
Following the same anti-Semitic path, Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing member of the British Labour Party, was elected leader in 2015. He serves as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. Because of some of his associations, questions about his views of Jews were raised. The Jewish Chronicle, a British newspaper, "asked Corbyn about his connections to Deir Yassin Remembered, an anti-Israel group run by a Holocaust denier; his defense of an Anglican vicar who peddled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories; and his descriptions of Hamas and Hezbollah as 'friends,' and of Sheikh Raed Salah, a Palestinian mayor accused of making the blood libel in 2007, as 'an honored citizen.'"
According to the New Yorker:
Allegations of anti-Semitism -- committed by members, officials, and the leader himself -- have been the running sore of Corbyn's leftist takeover of the Labour Party ever since, and the sense of something gravely wrong has deepened with time. ... On July 25th, Britain's three leading Jewish newspapers published a joint article on their respective front pages, warning of "the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Jeremy Corbyn-led government." ... To Corbyn's critics inside and outside Labour, however, this is what happens when a form of fringe leftism -- in which a loathing of Israel and of global capitalism has been known to morph into Jew hatred -- enters the political mainstream.
White Christian supremacism is a fundamental doctrine of far-right groups such as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. One of their main targets is African Americans, but they would include all people of color, such as Asians and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians. They also dislike Jews, and this has been a longstanding element in their worldview. Recently, at the Charlottesville demonstrations, they chanted "Jews will not replace us."
Like Louis Farrakhan, whose fundamentalism would class him as far right, the white Christian supremacists believe that Adolph Hitler was a great man. Such sentiments were behind the Tree of Life Synagogue attack in Pittsburgh in October 2018. Robert Bowers had targeted Jews on social media, and put his sentiments into action by murdering 11 Jews and wounding seven others during a religious service. It is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jews in the United States.
No longer the fevered creed of lunatic extremists hiding in basements, anti-Semitism, after a brief respite, has returned to the mainstream. From great feminist political movements to mosques, universities, parliaments, and Islamist and neo-Nazi terrorists, anti-Semitism is de rigueur. For Jews, the bad old days are back.
Philip Carl Salzman is a professor of anthropology at McGill University and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.