Well, it’s official: Jews are a minority again. If you’re unfamiliar with what determines whether or not Jews get minority status, it generally depends on how we are used in a political argument. If it’s an economic or representation discussion, we’re white. If it’s antisemitism, we’re a minority. Well, we’re not always a minority. It depends on who is committing the antisemitism. If the perpetrators are more of a minority than we are, we’re white. If the perpetrators are white, we’re a minority.
Of course, actual politics also matters. If Democrats can benefit from pointing out discrimination against Jews, then we are a protected group. If it harms Democrats, we probably deserve it. This is how criticism of how George Soros spends his money can be antisemitic, but criticism of the Jewish community from Bill de Blasio is not.
Jews are the only group of people whose minority status depends entirely on who the other side in the conflict is.
And that brings us to the horrific events last week in Buffalo. A gunman, clearly motivated by white supremacy, committed one of the most horrific acts of mass shootings in recent memory. Ten people lost their lives and three others were injured. The murders took place in a supermarket in a primarily black neighborhood, and eleven of the thirteen victims were black. The gunman’s manifesto explained that he was out to protect the white race from being taken over by immigrants, black people, and Jews. This ideology has its basis in what is known as “The Great Replacement.”
And this brings us to how Jews are a minority again. Even though we weren’t the target for this particular incident, the gunman and others like him would love nothing more than to carry out these types of attacks on our community. And it ticks all of the necessary boxes. Jews would be victims, the perpetrator was white, and it helps to push a Democratic narrative. Boom. The trifecta.
So let’s talk about that narrative. Democrats can use this incident to discuss a few areas. They can use it to promote gun control. They can use it to rail against the police, who had the man in custody years ago but let him out - presumably because he’s white. And of course, they can use it to rail against the evils of white supremacy. Of course, they are doing all three, but it shouldn’t be lost on anyone which of the three is most prevalent in the wake of this tragedy. Guns are not as strong of an issue these days, and they know that railing against the police is a losing issue, as they learned from the last few years. But white supremacy? That is a Democratic opportunity.
Democrats need the country to believe that the greatest scourge today is white supremacy. It’s one of the few areas where actual statistics back their argument. White supremacists have committed the largest number of mass shootings (depending on how that term is defined) in recent years among any other group. And trying to convince Jews that white supremacists are currently our greatest threat - while they try to convince us that Republicans are backing them and anyone who voted for Donald Trump is secretly in league with the KKK - is certainly a strategy.
But we must know and understand that we are not solely targeted by one group of people. We are hunted by Right-wing extremists and Left-wing extremists. White supremacists and Black Hebrew Israelites. Nazis and Communists. Islamic Jihadists and the Nation of Islam. Hate for us has no particular color or definitive creed. It runs the gamut.
This should be understood by everyone this week as we celebrate Israel in a parade up Fifth Avenue for the first time in three years. The world knows that Jews have a unique tie to Eretz Yisrael. They know that the two are inseparable. In fact, many antisemitic attacks in the US, Canada, the UK, and around the world take place in response to something Israel did. Yet they hide their antisemitism behind their criticism of Israel. Just this week, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib introduced legislation for the United States to recognize “Nakba Day,” or “Catastrophe Day,” as the day Palestinians commemorate the establishment of the State of Israel. Antisemites have hidden behind their criticism for too long, and for those who are attending the parade this Sunday, please recognize that the protests and vile language you will undoubtedly see will not stop if they somehow get their way in destroying the State of Israel. It will just be redirected at the Jewish nation. They just will not have Israel to hid behind anymore.
I hope everyone who attends the parade has a fantastic time and is able to enjoy a safe, festive day. Please make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times, because it is not only the time of year to celebrate Israel, but defend her and her nation as well.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.