Rampant Anti-Semitism Foreshadows Danger for All

Fighting anti-Semitism is not just about protecting Jews

The Star of David stands atop the Park East Synagogue in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anti-Semitism is a scourge on humanity and a stain on society.

Anti-Semitic acts are increasing with such ferocity that it appears nothing can be done to stop this explosion of hate. Anti-Semitism is dangerous, empowers the perpetrators of hate crimes, and is downright wrong. We can and must stop the recent explosion of anti-Semitism overtaking our communities, our cities, and our country. We must stop it for the sake of humanity and society.

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in New York City, there were five anti-Semitic attacks. That’s five attacks in a single day in a city that’s considered Jewish friendly. The numbers of attacks across the country are escalating so quickly that getting a true count is becoming nearly impossible.

Fighting anti-Semitism is not just about protecting Jews. Jew hatred is a litmus test of a society. Jews are the first to be separated, persecuted and murdered. Then comes everybody else. The fight against anti-Semitism is vital. Jews are the world’s greatest scapegoat.

The German pastor and theologian Martin Niemoller said it best. There are several versions of his poem, and this is the most famous of them:

“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

Niemoller’s poem is not just about cowardice; it’s about the stages of persecution in society. Niemoller delineates the victims and ends with a frightening condemnation of inaction. When anti-Semitism—the first of the hatreds—is not confronted, a society renders itself powerless to stop other forms of hatred.

Anti-Semitism is a modern movement separate from traditional Jew hatred. Traditional Jew hatred was based on theological hatred of the Jew as the Deicide; the foundation was predicated on the Jew as having murdered Jesus. Modern Anti-Semitism was born in the late 1800’s. It was coined by Wilhelm Marr in 1879 in his pamphlet called “The Path of Germanism over Judaism.”

This cold-blooded, scientific hatred led to the Holocaust. It was fueled by the conviction that the world’s problems were caused by the Jews, and the solution to the world’s problems would come from the destruction of the Jews. The Nazis dubbed their plan to rid the world of Jews to make the world a better place the”Final Solution.”

Today, all forms of hatred towards Jews are considered anti-Semitism, including being anti-Israel.

Anti-Semitism in all its forms must be confronted by teachers, parents, religious leaders, politicians, police, courts and media—including social media. It cannot be justified in the context of humor as PewDiePie, the most popular Youtuber in the world, tried to do.

Punishments for Anti-semitism need to be severe; it’s a hate crime. Anti-Semitism will not disappear on its own. It must be rooted out. Those who believe it must be forced underground. It must be seen as unacceptable in both the public and private spheres.

The bomb threats and the graffiti, which are the latest form of anti-Semitism to sully our nation, can be prevented. A blue ribbon national task force created by the president, the attorney general, the head of the FBI, all 50 state police departments, and all major city law enforcement agencies must be convened. Prosecution must be swift, penalties must be harsh, and cooperation must be full circle.

If that happens, we will find the people perpetrating these threats. Schools and JCC’s will no longer be threatened, parents will no longer have to fear for their children’s safety, and Jewish cemeteries will no longer be desecrated.

Coverage of the capture and the trials of these anti-Semites must be front page news. The message must get out: anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in our country. Once we lay out the blueprint for fighting and destroying anti-Semitism, Europe will follow.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator, author the “The Micah Report,” online and host of the weekly TV show “Thinking Out Loud w Micah Halpern.” follow him on twitter: @MicahHalpern Rampant Anti-Semitism Foreshadows Danger for All