When members of a minority group are subjected to attacks, liberal activists have urged the public to focus on the specific identities of the victims to demonstrate that they have suffered more injustices that merit close attention. But when it comes to anti-Semitism, the arbiters of progressive values cannot bring themselves to say, “Jewish Lives Matter.”
“After two weeks of nonstop anti-Jewish violence being directed by pro-Palestinian mobs everywhere from London to New York City, the condemnations curiously were not focused on anti-Semitism,” former Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind tweeted in a thread that highlighted leftist politicians exercising a double standard. “And how about when it came to calling out Islamophobia on its own? Somehow, that gets their exclusive attention rather than watering it down by adding ‘and all forms of racism.’”
The death of George Floyd amplified the Black Lives Matter message, and anyone who spoke of all lives mattering was shouted down in condemnation for minimizing the extent of the racism experienced by African Americans. Likewise, earlier this year, when violent incidents targeting Asian Americans picked up, “Stop Asian Hate” trended on social media, along with essays highlighting the contributions of Asian immigrants in American society. In both cases, many Jewish community leaders stood in solidarity, even as some Black Lives Matter activists added the boycott of Israel to their list of solutions for racial injustices.
“Back in February, when there was a spike of anti-Asian hate crimes, whaddya know, the condemnation was focused exclusively on anti-Asian hate. Nothing else,” Hikind wrote. “Why the difference in approach?”
His examples are a Who’s Who of progressive Democrats who spoke about anti-Semitism in the same breath as attacks on mosques, profiling of Blacks, and slurs directed at Asians. Among them, Councilman Brad Lander, who is running for Comptroller, Congressional Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman.
“I strongly condemn the rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia we’re seeing across the country,” Rep. Pressley tweeted. “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.” For all the likes and retweets that such statements receive, they offer no comfort to Jews who were attacked for supporting Israel only to be told that their destiny is tied to their attackers who seek to deny to Jews the right sought by any other indigenous group seeking to reclaim an ancestral land.
Hikind’s thread noted that when white supremacists attack Jews, leftists call out the attacker’s identity and invoke memory of the Holocaust that was the result of such hatred. “But what about when anti-Jewish violence is committed by other minorities? Then suddenly not only don’t they name the source of hatred, but they broaden the condemnations against anti-Semitism to include ALL RACISM.”
Hikind also called out The New York Times in his thread for portraying anti-Semitic violence taking place a few blocks from the newspaper’s office as “clashes in Times Square,” when in reality it was “only one side attacking the other.”
Hikind has been active in politics and combating anti-Semitism his entire life. When the historical sign at the Holocaust memorial park in Brooklyn was edited in 2009 to mention non-Jewish victims, Hikind protested. He argued that memorializing the Jews killed does not take away from the communists, Roma, homosexuals, freemasons, and pacifists killed in the same death camps. Was this memorial designed to commemorate the Jews, or all victims of the Nazis? “To include these other groups diminishes their memory,” Hikind told reporters at the time, standing next to his mother Frieda, a survivor of Auschwitz. “These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regard to the Holocaust. It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims.”
At the time, I was naive and thought that broadening the message of the Holocaust would make it more relatable to the gentile public. Hikind was prescient in his prediction that future acts of anti-Jewish violence would be diluted in a universalist message. Hikind’s life of activism included advocacy for Soviet Jews, who experienced erasure by the communist regime that built monuments for “victims of fascism” on the sites of death pits and prison camps. The majority of the victims were killed for their Jewish faith and ethnicity, and this fact was intentionally omitted.
At the peak of the genocide in 1943, screenwriter Ben Hecht forced the issue into The New York Times by purchasing full-page ads. “Be patient. We will be dead a long time. Yesterday, when we were killed, we were changed from Nobodies to No-bodies,” he wrote in an ad titled, My Uncle Abraham Reports, printed on November 5, 1943. “Today, on our Jewish tomb, there is not the Star of David, there is an Asterisk. But, who knows, maybe Tomorrow!”
Credit should be given when anti-Semitism is appropriately addressed. “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,” President Joe Biden wrote on Monday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed the statement. “When hateful ideology rises, violence is never far behind. I join @POTUS in condemning anti-Semitic attacks at home and around the world. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to stop hate in all its forms.”
For failing to mention Islamophobia and the Palestinians in the same sentence, they’ve received hateful comments from the same activists who are offended when “all lives matter.” None of us have as many online followers as members of the Congressional Squad; but if enough of us speak up, we will not be erased in the cacophony of political posturing that is taking place at this time.
By Sergey Kadinsky