Bomb Threats, Cemetery Vandalism Highlight Surging Anti-Semitism

Over the past week various events and news stories from across the country have shown that not only are Muslims increasingly the focus of hate crimes (as previously reported by Care2), but so are Jewish Americans.

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s stunning election victory, law enforcement in various states have witnessed numerous hate crimes, often in the form of vandalism. In many instances this involved graffiti of swastikas or Nazi slogans. Sadly, it does not seem like this is destined to be a short term development.

Police in Minneapolis, Minn., are currently investigating a flier affixed to a pole on the campus of the University of Minnesota directed at white supremacists. Featuring a pair of swastikas, the flier asks, “White man are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country” and proceeds to invite readers to log onto the Daily Stormer. In recent times the Daily Stormer has established itself as the foremost neo-Nazi online publication in the United States.

This is not the first incident linked to anti-Semitism at the Minneapolis university; last Thursday a student was arrested after being discovered defacing a public desk with a swastika. The university says at least seven other similar incidents have been reported in the last three months.

Over in University City, Mo., police say Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery was heavily vandalized in the past week. The Jewish cemetery is over a half century old; a number of Holocaust survivors are buried there. Law enforcement say over 100 gravestones in the oldest sections of burial grounds were found damaged or turned over. Because of the massive amount of damage done, investigators are convinced this crime was committed by a group, not an individual.

Perhaps the most disturbing development among the mounting anti-Semitic crimes in the United States involves a series of bomb threats made against Jewish centers in 10 different states on Monday. Though they appear to be hoaxes, as none of the threats were followed through on, federal investigators are hoping to find the individual or group responsible.

Last month more than 50 Jewish centers received similar bomb threats in 26 different states and in a province of Canada. Understandably, Jewish communities across the country are on edge.

In a different but not unrelated news story, YouTube personality Felix Kjellberg (best known as PewDiePie) found himself in hot water after uploading a series of videos that can only be described as anti-Jewish. One, in particular, featured two people paid by Kjellberg to hold a sign reading “Death to all Jews.” Controversy followed and Kjellberg was swiftly dropped by YouTube’s premium service, YouTube Red, and Disney’s Maker Studio.

In response Kjellberg uploaded a video in which he says he is “sorry for the words that I used,” adding that it was merely a joke that “went too far.”

“Death to Jews” – in what reality is this considered even vaguely comedic? There’s nothing wrong with edgy humor (Jewish comedy legend Mel Brooks took great pleasure in mocking Hitler, as seen in “The Producers”) however there is nothing witty or satirical in Kjellberg’s pathetic attempt at making a “joke.”

In his video, Kjellberg also goes on to blame the media for characterizing him as being anti-Semitic – a deflection tactic that readers may agree has quickly become virtually cliché at this point.

Why is anti-Semitism seemingly coming back to the mainstream? Why are neo-Nazis apparently finding themselves newly emboldened?

I previously questioned whether Trump’s administration displayed indications of anti-Semitism, observing not only senior adviser Steve Bannon’s apparent distaste for Jews but the White House’s deliberate choice to not mention Jewish victims in its International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.

Since then President Trump held a press conference this past Friday, during which Trump refused to answer a Jewish reporter’s question regarding the first round of bomb threats made against Jewish centers. He then proceeded to belittle the reporter as well as accuse him of being a liar. Trump then asserted that he is “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

In the wake of the latest round of bomb threats, Trump finally attempted to address the issue, albeit impotently, by remarking that he wants anti-Semitism to “get very much better,” and merely stated that “it’s going to stop.” Does Trump really think he will be able to snap his fingers and make dangerous bigotry disappear?

For a community that has endured hate and persecution for centuries – and now sees it beginning to reemerge – these assertions are far from satisfactory. Rather than acknowledge that many of these hate crimes are being done in his name, Trump insists it is “coming from the other side,” a patently disingenuous claim.

Let us give Trump and his administration the benefit of the doubt and for a moment assume there is no anti-Semitism at work in the White House. The problem does not disappear because the perception by white nationalists and neo-Nazis remains the same: The American people have spoken and formally endorsed their views and have put the people who (from their viewpoint) possess their agendas in power.

How can this issue, or any problem for that matter, be confronted and dealt with if its roots are not first acknowledged?

Photo Credit: liuba-liuba / Thinkstock

142 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y18 hours ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y18 hours ago

thanks

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John J
John J18 hours ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J18 hours ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W11 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago

Thanks!!!

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago

Thanks!!!

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Berny p
berny pabout a year ago

and with trump in for a few years it is going to get worse...on less the american people do something about it!
Sad for the USA!

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natasha s
Past Member about a year ago

Awful. Gonna get even worse in the coming months with Trump+his clergy of sociopaths.

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