As 2022 winds down, it looks like it will have been the worst year ever in America for anti-Semitic incidents. With the polarization of the United States and the lack of civil discourse, the forecast for 2023 is not much better. Social media, which amplifies and promotes anti-Semitic messaging, may be the main culprit. The lack of oversight and controls has not only allowed for spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories but the breakdown of society in general. Jews through the ages have always been the first target of hate when the economy is failing. The Jewish People have been a barometer of society ills.
The Covid pandemic caused a rupture in civilization. Few have addressed the actual fallout from the pandemic. It has spilled over into targeting the Jews. Between a depressed economy and Covid fears and anxiety, anti-Semitism has had a field day. Add in celebrities like Kanye West, who use anti-Semitism to foster and grow their brand, and you have a perfect storm. On top of this, the university system in America has become the bootcamp for future anti-Semites using the State of Israel as a pretext for hate and lies.
In 2012, there were 927 incidents of anti-Semitism. In 2021, there were 2717 anti-Semitic incidents, according to the ADL. 2022 appears to be surpassing even this outrageous number. One out four Jews in the U.S. has been the subject of anti-Semitism, according to the American Jewish Committee. This figure is probably an under-estimate, since 40% of hate crimes against Jews don’t get reported at all. In New York City, anti-Semitic hate crimes more than doubled in November 2022 compared to November of 2021. This came on the heels of scandals involving Kanye West and Kyrie Irving. A father and son were recently targeted with a BB gun in Staten Island. Christopher Brown and Matthew Mahrer were arrested for planning to shoot at a synagogue in New York City with live ammunition. The New York Times published a Swastika embedded in a crossword puzzle on the first day of Chanukah. The latter is an example of the “normalization” of anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism has to be stamped out, not “normalized.” There has to be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitic posts online must be removed immediately. This has been rarely the case. Purveyors of anti-Semitism, whether in Congress or on social media platforms, have to be called out and censored appropriately. The ugly head of anti-Semitism can never be allowed to rise. Anti-Semitism has to be fought with strength, and vigilance. Never again has to mean exactly that: “Never Again.”
Dr. Joe Frager is Chairman of the Israel Advocacy Commission for the Rabbinical Alliance of America; Chairman of the Executive Committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim; Dean at Kollel Ayshel Avraham; Executive Vice President of the Israel Heritage Foundation; and a physician in practice for 41 years.