Tag Archives: anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018

I didn’t want to write about anti-Semitism until a Jewish family member called me an anti-Semite. Specifically, she said some of my writing and posting on social media was anti-Semitic.

Naturally, I was hurt. I’ve watched her blossom from an infant into a confident young mother of four, raising her children to follow in the family’s orthodox Jewish beliefs and traditions. I’ve honored and cherished her family’s beliefs by attending family weddings, funerals and other important gatherings every year. Calling me an anti-Semite was a slap in the face that still stings to this day.

I responded by sharing my disappointment, and explaining that nothing I’ve written or posted can be construed as a hatred of Jews or the Jewish faith. She’s conflating legitimate criticism of Israel (WHICH I WRITE A LOT ABOUT!) with hatred of Jews.

It’s been over two years and we’ve never returned to the conversation, but I’ve been reading and learning a lot about anti-Semitism, especially from the book published in 2017 by Jewish Voice for Peace — “On Anti-Semitism—Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice”. More about that later.

Now I know that my family member is confused because the State of Israel has been deliberately promoting a new definition of anti-Semitism. The idea for a new definition started when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 in 1975 equating Zionism with racism. (It was revoked in 1991.) Antony Lerman, the founding editor of Antisemitism World Report from 1992 to 1998, writes:

Zionists have always understood full well that antisemitism helped advance the cause, even as they promoted Zionism as the solution to the scourge of antisemitism. Exploiting this dualism today is absolutely central to far-right Zionist ideology and to right-wing Zionism’s Jewish and non-Jewish fellow travelers.

The latest iteration of this new anti-Semitism is the bill introduced in Congress this week, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018 which includes an overly-broad, political definition of anti-Semitism, that includes criticism of the state of Israel.  The Arab-American Institute provides a good summary and the reasons why it should be opposed, see here.

WIB Salaam

Our members of Congress should hear quickly and forcefully from their constituents about the troublesome aspects of this bill.  Here’s one way to communicate with them quickly by completing the online message.  I’m going to call each of them and tell them that even the author of the working definition utilized in this legislation went on record in 2016 explaining that he believed this approach to be an “affront to academic freedom,” and “unconstitutional and unwise.”

My family member can be excused for her reaction to my criticism of Israel, but lawmakers must be held to account.

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When is “anti-Semitism” NOT anti-Semitism?

antisemitism

The program on Baltimore’s WYPR caught my attention because it was focused on a discussion about anti-Semitism with Ira Forman, a distinguished visiting professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the University’s Center for Jewish Civilization. Professor Forman, who has worked for more than forty years as a leading advocate for Jewish culture and community, is currently teaching a course in Contemporary Anti-Semitism. Previously, he spent four years as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

This 40 minute program is worth a listen, here.

I thought the host, Tom Hall, did a great job with the discussion about BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) but, unfortunately, his guest’s mischaracterization of anti-Semitism went unchallenged. I wrote him a letter to point out the problem.

Dear Mr. Hall,

I listened to your program today with Ira Forman and was pleased with your discussion about BDS.
However, Mr. Forman was incorrect with his 3Ds (Delegitimize, Demonize, Double Standards) to describe an anti-Semite.
Wikipedia notes that “the 3D Test of Antisemitism is a set of criteria put forth by Natan Sharansky to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism. The three Ds stand for Delegitimization [of Israel], Demonization [of Israel], and [subjecting Israel to] Double standards, each of which, according to the test, indicates antisemitism. It was published in the Jewish Political Studies Review in 2004. The test is intended to draw the line between legitimate criticism towards the State of Israel, its actions and policies, and non-legitimate criticism that becomes antisemitic.”
Although the 3D test has been adopted by the State Department and has gained wide acceptance among Zionists and Israel lobbyists, it is a recent aberration which the State of Israel has been vigorously pushing.
The correct definition of anti-Semitism is “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group.”
The clear danger of the Israeli government’s definition is the chilling impact it has on legitimate free speech. The potential sting of being called an anti-Semite silences many (most?) people who have legitimate criticisms about Israel’s 50-year occupation of Palestine.
Shielding the State of Israel from criticism has been a major foreign policy objective for its government for decades, but recent efforts have intensified in response to the growing success of the BDS movement.
I hope there will be an opportunity to correct the record on your program sometime in the future.
Sincerely,
Lora Lucero

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Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?

I was on another mission this morning at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore when I walked past the open shelves in the Periodical Section and saw the cover of the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

P1300459

Jeffrey Goldberg’s article “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?” jumped out at me. I really didn’t want my attention to be diverted from another research and writing project, but the Editors had me hooked with that headline. 90 minutes and 12 pages later, Goldberg answered the question he had posed:

I am predisposed to believe that there is no great future for the Jews in Europe, because evidence to support this belief is accumulating so quickly. But I am also predisposed to think this because I am an American Jew — which is to say, a person who exists because his ancestors made a run for it when they could.

Goldberg* (see endnote) spent months in Europe (Paris, Toulouse, Malmo, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Moldova) visiting Jews of all walks of life to research this article. The testimonies he gathered were mostly heart-wrenching accounts of the rise of anti-Semitism and recent violence against Jews.

My pulse quickened as I read about the Principal of a Jewish school who witnessed the execution of his 8-year-old daughter in the school yard at the hands of Mohamed Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent who, the author writes, was radicalized in a French prison and later trained in an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan. This happened in March 2012.

In another school, students talked about ways that Jews conceal their identity, where it’s already becoming fairly common practice for Jews to remove the mezuzot from their doors. In December 2014, a group of robbers broke into an apartment in Creteil (a Paris suburb) and told the occupants they knew they were Jewish, and therefore wealthy, and then they raped a 19-year-old woman in the apartment.

No one with an ounce of compassion can read Goldberg’s article without feeling both alarm and sadness.

The author also attempted to bring the “other side” into his research. Several of the Muslims he interviewed “expressed benign feelings toward Jews.”

One man, an Iraqi refugee, told me, “The Jews have too much power everywhere.” Another man, of Sudanese background, explained that the Koran itself warns Muslims to fear double-crossing Jews. “They killed the prophets and tried to poison the Prophet Muhammad,” he said. I did not hear critques of Israel’s occupation policies. I heard, instead, complaints about the Jews’ baleful influence on the world.

Several Muslims told him they find their information about Jews and Israel from Al Jazeera and the Hezbollah station, Al-Manar. (The author’s attempt to denigrate those news sources?)

Goldberg attributes the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe to the inability of European states to integrate Muslim immigrants into the community, as well as to the radicalization of a “small but meaningful subset of Muslims”. That may very well be part of the reason, but not the only reason.

The author’s blind spot (or more accurately, his bias) appeared throughout the article but was clearly visible when he equated anti-Zionists with anti-Semites; and characterized criticism of the State of Israel as a pernicious attempt to deligitimize Israel.

In my observation of “both sides” — Jews and Muslims — I believe Goldberg, himself, should be part of this story, because he fails to ask some critical questions.

  • What role does the nearly 70 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine have on the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe? (Although some might argue that point, I’ll agree with the author’s conclusion that anti-Semitism is on the rise.)
  • How does dividing and separating people from one another lead to healing or better understanding? (Certainly that is the conclusion we must draw when the author, and Netanyahu, urge Jews to “make a run for it” and flee to Israel.)
  • Does HaShem, Allah, or God teach her children to separate from their neighbors? Live apart from those who are different or unlike you? Avoid rubbing elbows with the “other”? (I assume not, which leads to the final question that Goldberg should really ponder.)
  • Do Jews (now and in the future) really want to live in a prison camp?

What else do we call a State where only a certain identified group of people are allowed to enter, and the perimeter is guarded by the military, and violence is endemic?

We often talk about the Gaza Strip as an “open air prison” and concentation camp. Many Jews take offense at that characterization, seeing it as a blight on the memory of the German concentration camps where 6 million Jews suffered and perished.

I think it might also be instructive to look at the State of Israel as a prison camp, albeit one where the inmates flock to voluntarily, but a prison nonetheless. If Goldberg’s vision is realized and European Jewry immigrates to Israel, will that protect Jews around the world or ostracize them even more?

I venture to say, there’s a sequel to Goldberg’s story and I hope he spends some time pondering it.

Personally, I hope Jews in Europe don’t take Goldberg’s advice. The hard work of learning compassion and living the Golden Rule requires integration and pluralism, not segregation and elitism.

* Jeffrey Goldberg’s views about Israel, anti-Semitism, Palestinians and the Occupation are well-known to readers of The Atlantic. The SHAME Project summarizes his bias here.

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What’s wrong with the Hamas Charter? Part 1

The US government officially designates Hamas a terrorist organization.  The Hamas Charter is usually cited as one of the main reasons.  So I’ve been very curious to learn more about this Charter, available here.  It is long and, frankly, poorly drafted because it rambles on and on and on.  I still haven’t finished it.  

Azzam Tamimi, author of Hamas Unwritten Chapters, says “the current Charter is written in a language that no longer appeals to well-educated Muslims.”   A balanced critique of the book is available here.

The Charter was first published on August 18, 1988 and has been frequently cited by Hamas critics as proof of its anti-Semitism and inflexibility.  Until the late 1990s, Tamimi says this criticism didn’t concern Hamas leaders much. They were more concerned about addressing Arabs and Muslims inside and out of Palestine, and not worried about what others thought.

Tamimi writes:

Many Hamas leaders now recognize that the fundamental and essential positions expressed in the Charter could be expressed in more universal language, that could appeal to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  Instead of justifying its statements in religious terms, which may mean little to those who do not share the same faith or the same vision, a new Charter should refer to the historical basis of the Palestinian cause.

In Tamimi’s opinion:

The biggest problem arising from the Charter lies in its treatment of the Jews. Part of the difficulty here is that of the language employed. The average Palestinian refers to Israelis as yahud, which is simply the Arabic word for Jews. Terms such as Zionist or Israeli figure mostly in the writings and conversations of an elite which has received secular education. They are not current in the vocabulary of the common man, and have until recently also been absent from Islamic discourse. When Arabic texts referring to the Israelis as yahud are translated into European languages, they may indeed sound anti-Semitic.

khalid_mishal_140x140

Khalid Mish’al told a Canadian TV journalist that the liberation of Palestine “does not mean that either the Palestinian people, or we in Hamas, want to kill the Jews or want to throw them into the sea as Israel claims.”  He expressed his determination  to continue the struggle to liberate Palestine and regain the rights of the Palestinians, but denied categorically that there was a war against the Jews.  “No, we do not fight the Jews because they are Jews. We fight them because they stole our land and displaced our people; they carried out an aggression.  We resist this Zionist project which is hostile.”  As for those Jews who do not fight the Palestinians, he said: “I have no problem with them, just as I have no problem with peaceful Christians or peaceful Muslims.” He went on to explain that “if a Muslim were to attack me and steal my land, I have every right to fight back. This applies to all others irrespective of their race, identity or religion. This is our philosophy.”

I have met members of Hamas in Gaza and, just like Democrats and Republicans, I know I can’t judge the “party” by the opinions of a few.  But I’m convinced of one thing.  The current US policy in the Middle East, and the State Department’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization, are counter-productive. 

Hamas won a legitimate election in January 2006.  And if there was an election today, recent polling indicates Hamas would win big again.   So Obama, and Clinton, and all the foreign policy wonks in Washington . . . come out of your offices and see the world as it exists, not as you wish it existed.

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“Lets Stop the Bullying Now — Everywhere”

Muslims are pissed with cartoons and video-clips.  Some Jews in Albuquerque are pissed about a conference.

The Jewish Federation of Albuquerque is alarmed about the upcoming conference called “Justice: The Path to Peace in Palestine/Israel”,  even making the effort to convince a conference sponsor to withdraw support and launching a media campaign to undermine attendance.

Why is everyone  so pissed these days?  I wonder what the ancient prophets would think about all this.

Sabeel’s conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico later this month is chock full of speakers discussing topics such as

(1) A Question of Justice: Faith Based Approaches to the Path to Peace in Palestine-Israel

(2) Moving from Zionism to a Secular Democracy

(3) Paradise Lost: the Transgenerational Legacies of Life Under Occupation: Native American and Palestinian Cultural Survival

(4) Water Denied: Justice Denied

(5) Ending Military Aid to Israel

(6) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.   And that’s only the first morning!  Check out the full two-day program here.

If this conference looks like your cup of tea, you can register online here.

When  the Jewish Federation of Albuquerque first learned of the conference earlier this year, their leaders were obviously not pleased.  I’m not privy to the internal discussions of the JFA but the Executive Director claimed publicly that the conference organizers are attempting to “delegitimize” Israel and even went so far as to use the “A” word.   Anti-semitic.  Ouch!

The media always loves a good controversy.  “Sabeel meeting draws Jewish opposition.”   And Sam Sokolove from the JFA provided plenty of controversy in his letter printed in the Albuquerque  Journal, available here.   A response was provided by Reverend Donald Wagner, available here.  Wagner ends his letter with a plea “Let’s stop the bullying now – everywhere.”

I hadn’t heard of Sabeel before I was contacted by the conference organizers earlier this year.  I did my little part in helping to publicize the conference, and nothing I heard at any of the meetings led me to believe that there was a goal (explicit or implicit) of delegitimizing Israel.   In fact, Sabeel’s goals appeared very aligned with my own.

But after reading Sokolove’s comments in the Albuquerque Journal, I decided I’d better do my homework and find out a bit more about Sabeel.    I looked through Sabeel’s website a little closer.

Sabeel is an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, who seek a just peace based on two states—Palestine and Israel—as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions.

  • Sabeel promotes theological, moral, and legal principles for peace as outlined in the Jerusalem Sabeel Document and the Kairos Palestine Ecumenical Declaration.
  • Sabeel is a grassroots movement striving to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation.
  • Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate awareness of the heritage and witness of Palestinian Christians.
  • FOSNA works in the U.S. and Canada to support the vision of Sabeel, cultivating the support of American churches through co-sponsored regional educational conference, alternative pilgrimage, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land.

Nothing I’ve read about Sabeel or the Friends of Sabeel in North America (FOSNA) tonight leads me to believe that the JFA has anything to worry about.  Sabeel supports a two-state solution based on international law and agreements.  Sabeel acknowledges the injustices that have been perpetrated against the Jews, and wants to see a future in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims live together with justice for all.

Sokolove and every Jew in Albuquerque should consider registering and attending the conference.  You may not agree with everything you hear, but you’ll get a good dose of what many people in the peace movement are saying and doing these days.   And isn’t knowledge a good thing?

What we need a little more of these days is listening with respect.   And a lot less bullying!

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What’s in the water in California?

Unbelievably, the California Assembly passed a resolution in August which purports to define “anti-Semitism” and admonishes University of California campus administrators to take swift action against perpetrators.   Really.   I kid you not.   The entire H.R. 35 is reprinted below.

I can’t think of another term in the English language that is as loaded with as much baggage as “anti-Semitism.”    Even blogging about the term might land me in hot water.

Although I certainly don’t pretend to be a historian, I find the historical development of the term interesting.   Wikipedia divides it into six stages:

  1. Pre-Christian anti-Judaism in ancient Greece and Rome which was primarily ethnic in nature
  2. Christian anti-semitism in antiquity and the Middle Ages which was religious in nature and has extended into modern times
  3. Traditional Muslim antisemitism which was – at least in its classical form – nuanced in that Jews were a protected class
  4. Political, social and economic antisemitism of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Europe which laid the groundwork for racial antisemitism
  5. Racial antisemitism that arose in the 19th century and culminated in Nazism
  6. Contemporary antisemitism which has been labeled by some as the New Antisemitism

“New Antisemitism”  conflates hatred of Jews with criticism of the state of Israel, and therein lies the problem.

Suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews because of their Jewish heritage is wrong, wrong, wrong.    Criticism of the state of Israel is another thing entirely, and very often well-deserved, in my opinion.

So that I am perfectly clear and not misunderstood by anyone —– let me say it again.   Speech, conduct or actions that evidence a hatred of Jews because they are Jews is despicable, deserves the label of anti-Semitism and must be condemned.

Speech, conduct or actions that criticize Israel might be well-deserved, off-the-wall, inflammatory, with or without merit, but that is NOT anti-Semitism.  To conflate the two is wrong, dead wrong.

Equating criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews diminishes the real victim, the person or persons who are the target of such atrocious behavior.    My sister, my niece, my nephew, my friend can truly be victimized by anti-Semites and they must have recourse in my country’s laws and courts.  The state of Israel is not a victim, will never be a victim, and these attempts (like California’s resolution) to place Israel in the shoes of the victim is a sinister attempt to block criticism of Israel.

Conflating the state of Israel with the person of Jewish heritage and labeling both as victims of anti-Semitism has become an effective tool to shut down honest discourse.   Should Israel, and Israeli politicians, be immune from criticism?   Does the state have no blemishes?  Is it so weak that it can’t withstand the assault of dissent, opposition and displeasure such as BDS actions?

If the state of Israel is so vulnerable that it cannot tolerate criticism, learn from its mistakes, and celebrate its diversity, then I fear its days are numbered.     And THAT is not an anti-Semitic statement, except perhaps in the great state of California.

WHEREAS, The frequency and severity of incidents of contemporary
global anti-Semitism are increasing according to reports by
representatives from nations around the world, including the United
States Department of State in 2008, the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe in 2004, and the Inter-parliamentary
Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in 2009; and
   WHEREAS, On July 20, 2009, the United States Senate unanimously
approved a resolution that unequivocally condemns all forms of
anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to rationalize anti-Jewish hatred
or attacks as a justifiable expression of disaffection or frustration
over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere, and decries
the comparison of Jews to Nazis perpetrating the Holocaust or
genocide as a pernicious form of anti-Semitism; and
   WHEREAS, The United States Department of State, the United Kingdom'
s All-Party Parliamentary Group Against  Anti-semitism
  Antisemitism  , and the Organization for Security
and Co-operation in Europe have adopted or endorsed the European
Union Agency for Fundamental Rights' working definition of
anti-Semitism, which notes that in context certain language or
behavior demonizes and delegitimizes Israel or attacks Israel with
classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as denying the Jewish people
their right to self-determination, applying double standards by
requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other
democratic nation, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli police
to that of the Nazis, and accusing the Jewish people, or Israel, of
inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; and
   WHEREAS, The United States Commission on Civil Rights reported in
2006 that anti-Semitism exists on some college campuses and is often
cloaked as criticism of Israel, and recommended that colleges and
universities ensure that students are protected from actions that
could create a hostile anti-Semitic environment; and
   WHEREAS, Over the last decade some Jewish students on public
postsecondary education institution campuses in California have
experienced the following: (1) physical aggression, harassment, and
intimidation by members of student or community groups in
student-sponsored protests and rallies held on campus; (2) speakers,
films, and exhibits sponsored by student, faculty, and community
groups that engage in anti-Semitic discourse or use anti-Semitic
imagery and language to falsely describe Israel, Zionists, and Jews,
including that Israel is a racist, apartheid, or Nazi state, that
Israel is guilty of heinous crimes against humanity such as ethnic
cleansing and genocide, that the Jewish state should be destroyed,
that violence against Jews is justified, that Jews exaggerate the
Holocaust as a tool of Zionist propaganda, and that Jews in America
wield excessive power over American foreign policy; (3) swastikas and
other anti-Semitic graffiti in residential halls, public areas on
campus, and Hillel houses; (4) student- and faculty-sponsored
boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against Israel that are a
means of demonizing Israel and seek to harm the Jewish state; (5)
actions of student groups that encourage support for terrorist
organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah and openly advocate
terrorism against Israel and the Jewish people; and (6) suppression
and disruption of free speech that present Israel's point of view;
and
   WHEREAS, California public postsecondary educational institutions
are admired throughout the world for their excellence and diversity,
and it is important that they provide continued leadership in the
fight against anti-Semitism; and
   WHEREAS, While the response by California public postsecondary
educational institutions to incidents of hate and intimidation,
including anti-Semitism, with actions designed to make their campuses
safer and more inclusive of diverse students, faculty, and staff
have increased, the problem requires additional serious attention on
both a campuswide and systemwide basis; and
   WHEREAS, The  Legislature supports the actions already
taken by the President of   Assembly commends the
initial actions taken by  the University of California (UC)
 and urges the leadership to continue to take action
 to address anti-Semitism on its campuses  while
staying within the constraints of the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution; and 
    WHEREAS, The Legislature supports the following examples
of the UC leadership:   such as:  (1) refusal by
the UC Board of Regents and the President of UC to consider divesture
from companies doing business with Israel; (2) strengthening UC's
systemwide policies prohibiting student conduct motivated by bias,
including religious bias; (3) implementation of a campus climate
reporting system allowing any member of a UC campus community to
report incidents of intolerance or bias and development of a
comprehensive UC systemwide campus climate assessment; (4) the
formation of an Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and
Inclusion whose members have conducted in-depth visits with Jewish
students and groups on UC campuses to better understand their
concerns and challenges and report back to the President of the UC;
and (5) immediate statements by UC leaders strongly condemning
specific acts of intolerance or bias when they occur; and 
   WHEREAS, The Assembly urges both the University of California and
the California State University to take additional actions to
confront anti-Semitism on its campuses, with due respect to the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution; and 
   WHEREAS, While these actions are important steps, strong
leadership from the top remains an important priority so that no
administrator, faculty, or student group can be in any doubt that
anti-Semitic activity will not be tolerated in the classroom or on
campus, and that no public resources will be allowed to be used for
anti-Semitic or any intolerant agitation; now, therefore, be it
   Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the
 Legislature   Assembly  unequivocally
condemns all forms of intolerance, including anti-Semitism, on public
postsecondary educational institution campuses in California; and be
it further
   Resolved, That the  Legislature   Assembly
 recognizes recent actions by officials of public postsecondary
educational institutions in California and calls upon those
institutions to increase their efforts to swiftly and unequivocally
condemn acts of anti-Semitism on their campuses and to utilize
existing resources, such as the European Union Agency for Fundamental
Rights' working definition of anti-Semitism, to help guide campus
discussion about, and promote, as appropriate, educational programs
for combating anti-Semitism on their campuses; and be it further
   Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of
this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

			

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Anti-Semitism goes unreported

I know that when I hear the term “anti-Semitism” or “anti-Semitic”  – I bristle.   Charges of “anti-Semitism” are often, in my experience, thrown around carelessly to shut down serious conversation or criticism.   That’s unfortunate, because there is real and ugly behavior that occurs in the world today which deserves that label.

When I saw this article posted on Facebook today, by the well-known Israeli journalist Amira Hass, I was intrigued.    Even more so when I learned the original article had been removed from the English version of Haaretz.

This deserves to be read line-by-line and so I have copied it below, line-by-line.    Anti-Semitism in all of its manifestations must be wiped off the face of the planet.   Thank you Ms. Hass for writing this article.

The Anti-Semitism that goes unreported

Tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror

Amira Hass

Amira Hass

Here’s a statistic that you won’t see in research on anti-Semitism, no matter how meticulous the study is. In the first six months of the year, 154 anti-Semitic assaults have been recorded, 45 of them around one village alone. Some fear that last year’s record high of 411 attacks – significantly more than the 312 attacks in 2010 and 168 in 2009 – could be broken this year.

Fifty-eight incidents were recorded in June alone, including stone-throwing targeting farmers and shepherds, shattered windows, arson, damaged water pipes and water-storage facilities, uprooted fruit trees and one damaged house of worship. The assailants are sometimes masked, sometimes not; sometimes they attack surreptitiously, sometimes in the light of day.

There were two violent attacks a day, in separate venues, on July 13, 14 and 15. The words “death” and “revenge” have been scrawled in various areas; a more original message promises that “We will yet slaughter.”

It’s no accident that the diligent anti-Semitism researchers have left out this data. That’s because they don’t see it as relevant, since the Semites who were attacked live in villages with names like Jalud, Mughayer and At-Tuwani, Yanun and Beitilu. The daily dose of terrorizing (otherwise known as terrorism ) that is inflicted on these Semites isn’t compiled into a neat statistical report, nor is it noticed by most of the Jewish population in Israel and around the world – even though the incidents resemble the stories told by our grandparents.

The day our grandparents feared was Sunday, the Christian Sabbath; the Semites, who are not of interest to the researchers monitoring anti-Semitism, fear Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Our grandparents knew that the order-enforcement authorities wouldn’t intervene to help a Jewish family under attack; we know that the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police, the Civil Administration, the Border Police and the courts all stand on the sidelines, closing their eyes, softballing investigations, ignoring evidence, downplaying the severity of the acts, protecting the attackers, and giving a boost to those progromtchiks.The hands behind these attacks belong to Israeli Jews who violate international law by living in the West Bank. But the aims and goals behind the attacks are the flesh and blood of the Israeli non-occupation. This systemic violence is part of the existing order. It complements and facilitates the violence of the regime, and what the representatives – the brigade commanders, the battalion commanders, the generals and the Civil Administration officers – are doing while “bearing the burden” of military service.

They are grabbing as much land as possible, using pretexts and tricks made kosher by the High Court of Justice; they are confining the natives to densely populated reservations. That is the essence of the tremendous success known as Area C: a deliberate thinning of the Palestinian population in about 62 percent of the West Bank, as preparation for formal annexation.

Day after day, tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror. Will there be an attack today on the homes at the edge of the village? Will we be able to get to the well, to the orchard, to the wheat field? Will our children get to school okay, or make it to their cousins’ house unharmed? How many olive trees were damaged overnight?

In exceptional cases, when there is luck to be had, a video camera operated by B’Tselem volunteers documents an incident and pierces the armor of willful ignorance donned by the citizens of the only democracy in the Middle East. When there is no camera, the matter is of negligible importance, because after all, you can’t believe the Palestinians. But this routine of escalating violence is very real, even if it is underreported.

For the human rights organization Al-Haq , the escalation is reminiscent of what happened in 1993-1994, when they warned that the increasing violence, combined with the authorities’ failure to take action, would lead to mass casualties. And then Dr. Baruch Goldstein of Kiryat Arba came along and gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers at the Ibrahim Mosque. The massacre set the stage for a consistent Israeli policy of emptying the Old City of Hebron of its Palestinian residents, with the assistance of Israeli Jewish pogromtchiks. Is there someone among the country’s decision-makers and decision-implementers who is hoping for a second round?

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