The recent war in Israel/Palestine has caused many people to speak out against the Israeli government. As a result, media outlets have documented a disturbing increase in anti-semitism and hate. They are reporting that attacks on the Jewish community have risen sharply over the last few weeks. (New York Times article here) According to reports attacks have risen over 500% just in the last few days (since originally writing this article on May 25.)
Biden condemns attacks on the Jewish community
President Biden made a statement on May 24, 2021, condemning the attacks on Twitter. He wrote, “The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad – it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.”
Progressives unite against the hate.
Other government officials in the US have spoken out on social media against the attacks, which include attacks on synagogues.
Bernie Sanders tweeted, “We’ve recently seen disturbing antisemitic attacks and a troubling rise in Islamophobia. If you are committed to a future of equality and peaceful coexistence, please stand
Rashida Tlaib stated, “‘I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr. We won’t be free if we come from a place of hate + violence + racism.”
Ayanna Pressley said, “I strongly condemn the rise in anti-Semitism and islamophobia we’re seeing across the country. Let me say it again: our freedom and our destinies are tied. The struggle for liberation and justice requires all of us to reject hate and division in any form.”
And Ilhan Omar tweeted, “The rise in antisemitic attacks at home and abroad is appalling. We must be clear and unequivocal: antisemitism is unacceptable and has no place in any movement. Fighting bigotry of any kind means fighting bigotry of every kind.”
“Tone down the rhetoric”
Bernie Sanders made a call for people to “tone down the rhetoric” to calm people down.
Social media was loud in critiquing him for these comments. It is a questionable idea that if the Human Rights Watch is calling Israeli policies crimes against humanity and apartheid, it’s not justified for the wider public to use this language. The ongoing use of anti-semitism as a defense of Zionism, and the equating of criticizing the Israeli government with anti-semitism is perhaps the rhetoric that is more toxic in the United States – more than telling the truth about the policies of the Israeli government.
The special envoy or ambassador that the Jewish democratic senators have urged Biden to appoint will determine much about the future of this debate. It is urgent that the work of changing the entire tone of our country and our world to one of care and concern for human rights happen proactively and we can only pray that God gives our leaders sufficient guidance, and all of us sufficient wisdom and knowledge to change the tone of our country towards love and peace.