A 25-year old woman who is running for Congress in California has been the target of a remarkably ugly campaign of anti-Jewish abuse.
After Erin Schrode’s personal information was posted on a neo-Nazi website, she received hundreds of messages of anti-Jewish abuse, including death and rape threats.
It’s beyond horrible. Unfortunately, her response misses the point. She wrote on her Facebook page,
This unspeakable vitriol goes far beyond anti-Semitism. It is not merely an attack on me or on one people, but rather an attack on any individual or group who is targeted because of faith, race, nationality, gender, ability, orientation or other arbitrary classification.
No, it is precisely an attack on you and your people. Saying that it is in some way a generalized expression of hatred deemphasizes the sharply focused nature of the attack. It blurs the fact that in recent times there has been an explosion of public expressions of Jew-hatred to a degree that has rarely been seen in the US since WWII.
Ethnic and racial hatreds are not all alike. They have their special flavors. There is nothing in the world quite like American anti-black racism. And there is nothing like the Jew-hatred that today is sweeping the world, even the supposedly immune USA.
It was a surprise for some. America was supposed to be different from depraved Europe, where something like Nazism could flourish, and where old fashioned Jew-hatred is growing by leaps and bounds today. That could never happen in America, they thought, where more or less since the 1960s Jews have been able to live wherever they wanted and work in whatever profession they chose. Today’s young Jews didn’t experience academic quotas, restricted subdivisions or jobs that were closed to them (who would believe today that a Jew would have had a hard time getting a position in banking?) And very rarely were they chased home from school for being “Christ killers.”
It was assumed that the America that was celebrated in Hollywood movies, where race or ethnicity were dealt with in a stereotypically non-threatening way, was the real America. There was continued discrimination against blacks, but most whites thought it was confined to the South and then eliminated by the 1960s civil rights movement. And Jew-hatred was ancient history. There were just a few crazy “bigots” running around and they would ultimately die out.
Well, folks, the golden age for American Jewry is over, and it is happening faster than almost anyone expected. There was a lot of wishful thinking in those movies (most of which were made by Jews, after all).
What happened is that back in the 1960s the Left eagerly adopted the KGB’s anti-Zionism, which it promulgated as part of its Cold War psychological warfare strategy in support of Soviet clients in the Middle East. As the facts of the Holocaust became generally known, many people were so horrified that they became immune to straight-up Jew hatred; but anti-Zionism was an acceptable surrogate.
Meanwhile the old Jew-hatred of the Right – the sort of people that appreciated Lindbergh and Father Coughlin in the 1930s – never went away. But the expression of Jew-hatred was socially unacceptable after the Holocaust, so they pretty much kept their ideas to themselves.
But little by little, the barriers broke down. The Holocaust retreated in history and people got tired of hearing about it. Some trivialized it by subsuming it under the general category of ‘bigotry’, and including all of Hitler’s victims, obscuring its central feature: it was an attempt to extirpate Jewish DNA from mankind. And there were those who said that it had been exaggerated, that Jews were using it to obtain special treatment, and so on.
The anti-Zionist Left became more and more open to the idea that maybe it was the Jewishness of Israel that was the problem. Anti-Israel Muslims in the West who did not live in the shadow of the Holocaust were more up front about seeing the Jews that supported Israel as the problem and saying so. The Occupy Wall Street movement pointed to the visibility of Jews in finance (they had finally been allowed to get those banking jobs) and media.
The Occupy movement and the growth of Muslim-led pro-Palestinian groups in universities marked a watershed moment for the Left, the point at which it began to believe that the Jews themselves were the problem, and to feel that it was acceptable to say that in public.
And what about the old-fashioned ‘paleo-’ Jew-haters? They saw that they were not alone anymore, that many intellectuals and left-wingers weren’t shy about expressing their opinions. Why should they repress their true feelings?
You would think that the blacks and the Jews would work together to oppose racial and ethnic hatred. But historically it has worked out differently.
The prevalence of black Jew-hatred is an ugly secret. It had multiple causes – the influence of the Nation of Islam, friction between Jewish merchants and residents of ghetto neighborhoods, historical conflicts over control of schools between Jewish teachers and black parents, communist influence on radical black movements in the 1960s, demagogues like Farrakhan and Sharpton, and lately the success of the concept of ‘intersectionality’ which relates (with utter illogic!) the ‘oppression’ of American blacks and Palestinian Arabs. But however it began, today anti-Jewish attitudes are widespread among American blacks.
The Paleos hate blacks as much as Jews, so they find it convenient to blame the Black Lives Matter movement and other unrest on the Jews. The white middle-class Left is afraid of the blacks, but relates to them in a painfully obsequious way in order to defuse their fear and their guilt over white racism. So they buy into black Jew-hatred as well – especially if they themselves are Jewish.
All of this is mixed together and amplified by the social media. The so-called ‘echo chamber’ tends to drive expression in the direction of extremism. People live in information bubbles with those that agree with them, and when nobody pushes back, status in the bubble depends on who pushes the envelope the farthest.
Social media are used as a weapon, too. And Ms Schrode has become a target of that weapon, along with other public Jews.
I can’t conclude without a word about Donald Trump. Trump has been blamed for some of these social media attacks. A journalist named Julia Ioffe who wrote a relatively mild article about Trump’s wife Melania was an early victim like Ms Schrode. Other Jewish writers who have opposed Trump as well have been targeted.
It is 100% certain that some of the worst scum in America are supporting Trump. Like most things about Trump, it is not clear if he is encouraging them, failing to push back against their behavior, or is absolutely blameless and it is just a coincidence that these people see him as their savior.
For American Jews, it doesn’t really matter. The genie of Jew-hatred is out of the bottle in America, along with a lot of other unsavory creatures. It is not going back in.
I invite Ms Schrode to come to Israel and run for the Knesset (although she’s probably too leftish for me to vote for). But at least here she would have a future.
Jews in America don’t.
I agree with most of what you wrote, but want to touch on some related points. Most Americans are still well-disposed towards Jews and Israel, although there is the “white National” element, many of whom are neo-Nazi, and the African-American version of this, as well. The WN’s as they call themselves, are intolerant of liberals in general (and aren’t we all tired of their negative worldview), but unfortunately, when it comes to Jews they don’t just class them with all the other libs. For WN’s Jews are painted as the ultimate evil. Leftist Jews in the name of their Jewishness try to impugn conservatives like Trump by broad-brushing him as racist. Meanwhile WN’s try in the same way to claim conservatives like Trump for themselves. The media amplifies this because they are 99% left. When Louis Farrakhan endorsed Trump the media was totally silent. No one accused him of being a black nationalist. Lots of spin and exploitation.
Trump, imo, is very important for Israel. He is the ONLY candidate who has stated his immediate priority is to deal with Iran and stop them from getting nukes. I believe him.
For this reason alone Jews should vote for him. He is also a huge media disruptor. The media is responsible for the drip-drip daily attacks on Israel in the many ways they distort, coverup, and omit the relevant facts. In general, Trump is holding them to account. He will allow Israel to finally win the PR battle and normalize the historic borders. Don’t expect it all spelled out in his platform. He is too smart for that. Hillary is left and going further left by the day. With her Israel will get the same old back-room threats. And she will allow Iran to get nukes. Remember she supported the Iran Deal.
Trump is as important for Israel as he is for America. Without him, we in the US will drift further left, Muslims will swamp the country, and we will eventually become totally financially crippled. None of that is good for Israel. We are at a turning point in the US. Most Jews are on the wrong side, but that has often been the case in the Diaspora. There are important historic reasons for it, but that’s another story.
I concur with Shalom-Hillel.
Trump has a Jewish daughter, so he knows perfectly well how the Left’s hatred of Israel is a lot like its hatred of him.
He’s not my preferred candidate but he’s superior to Hillary and will at least revert American policy towards a more pro-Israel position. In fact, he’s already on record as saying Jews should build in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.
That’s what you don’t hear from Obama and probably not from Hillary as she seeks to make peace with the Israel haters rising to position of prominence in the Democratic Party.
For most Americans, the choice is clear: to see America go the way of Europe or revive America. There is no third alternative.
Shalom-Hillel’s comments resonated well with me; I want to believe his version of tidings, but, as you’ve noted, the trend toward openly going after Jews has escalated in America, and it really went into hyper-drive with Obama. Even before Lee Smith, at Weekly Standard, said (ascribing some of the anti-Semitic chatter of Kerry and Obama around forcing their Iran deal through) that Obama had released the anti-Jew crazies who had been kept at bay so long…, one had only to look at the battleground of our colleges and universities to see that American Jews were being regularly intimidated in brown-shirt fashion and that this had been accelerating for over 20 years. And it was not uncommon for an American Jewish, Israel-sympathizing, Zionist-supporting father of a child in college to say (all this from an anecdote of Elliot Abrahms) to his Israeli counterparts (paraphrased), “I love and support Israel, but you have to solve this occupation issue because my child is discomfited or in danger in an American school.” The irony of the preferred solution for American Islamist-sympathizing thuggishness being borne by endangering Israelis has been lost on this worried soul. That the child is victimized in such a stalwart place as America is, I believe, a part of the campaign of Islamic jihad to unravel the West, by means of Saudi and Qatari money and the enthusiastic anti-Semitism of a plurality of Europeans, at Western civilization’s foundations in law, government and press.
Just spent the last half hour listening to two really informed American conservative commentators, Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger (both of whom I cherish), bashing the hell out of Trump. They are holdouts to vote conscience and not vote for Trump. Whether the latter carries out a stitch of his ‘platform’, whatever that morphs into, he is the only one who has talked to the American people’s great concerns: Our elites caving to an Islamist agenda (Obama and Hillary foremost in this camp), part of which is the increasing, unvetted immigration of Muslims to America and the mainstreaming of Sharia; enhancing and expanding the capabilities of the our armed forces for the likelihood of having war with China (highest probability) and continuing to defeat and humiliate Islamists everywhere for the three hundred years war that we have not really acknowledged exists but that began at the founding of our country; supporting the police forces of all our major cities which have become embattled by mobs with the opportunistic backing of political groups and the press (egged on by our President and an attack-dog DOJ) to basically give immunity to an anti-government horde; curtailing immigration which is being weaponized by the Democratic Party for its gain at the expense of the security of all Americans.
Why it should have been so hard to have repeated the tropes of this one candidate by others whom he dispatched in the primaries, I have no idea. These are the items which must be addressed and that are the real heart of America’s survival.
The last two days, every form of media coverage has been lionizing Muhammad Ali after his recent passing. I stopped voting Democrat when I saw Obama’s friends… too many Jew-haters and Nation of Islam persons. I always distrusted this group and, by extension, Muhammad Ali and Malcom X–whatever ‘social justice’ wisdom there might be to raising up a non-conformist loudmouth as a champion, or… having a black President, it was more than undone by this group’s pedigree of anti-Jewish behavior. We are being batted over the head with the virtues of Ali who, while he might have had skills as an athlete, was most often not gracious in victory, pushed upon us as some sort of hero by the media in a way that a Joe Louis never had to be, and whom we are asked to coronate for his opposition to the Vietnam war. The same black Jew-hatred that you described above had friends among Ali’s friends, whether he expressed the attitudes himself openly or not.
Obama is about to betray Israel again, but in a big way, as we’ve been predicting for 8 years. The wrangling for a broader coalition that Netanyahu has been churning through, is about the threat of removing the last bit of protection for the Jewish state at the UN and forcing a ‘solution’ on Israel–the hubris to discuss peace there without its litigants!
If it did not matter that our President (for whom covenants of non-impeachment exist with Congressmen and non-hyper criticism with the press) lied to the American people to sell the Iran deal, that he empties out Guantanamo to prep us for its closing, that he confers legitimacy on the tyrants in Cuba and Venezuela, that he attacks our police forces around the country using the DOJ, does nothing to stand up to the Chinese in the South China Sea, takes the side of the Iranians in expelling ISIS from Fallujah, does nothing to stem illegal immigration, etc., ad nauseum… Does anyone think that voting against Israel at the UN will not happen.
There may not be a future for anyone who is a loyal American in America anymore, regardless of whether Jews here feel the brunt of this first or not. The threat to us is a symptom of a far greater worldwide threat to all, made infinitely worse by the worst President in our history.
As I recall back in the early 1980’s, wealthy Saudi and Kuwaiti exchange students began showing up at universities in San Diego, Southern California, where I lived at the time. They were rich, flaunted wealth, had expensive cars, and kept high maintenance, “skanky”, white girlfriends, who were obviously eager to spread their legs in exchange for shiny convertibles with leather upholstery, and getaway vacations in Rio.
This was during the Reagan administration. The infusion of rich Arab Muslims, first, and now the poorest of the poor, under successive admonistragtions ever since then, has flooded America with them.
Of COURSE, they’ve brought their vicious anti Jewish animus with them. I don’t think that their animus ends with the Jews, however.
Want to blame someone for the importation of our killers? Look to the privileged elite at the top of American society who held the door open for them. We Jews are lucky. We have a door held open for US, in Israel!
“Diversity + Proximity = War” says the modern alt-Right. But consider this idea just from our Diaspora history as Jews. No matter which survival strategy we pick, this seems to be true.
You’re a distinct minority. The society has elites and masses. If you make yourself the masses’ friend, at some point soon the elites see you as a threat. They incite the masses against you, and repress you. Alternatively, you can be the elites’ best friend. That works well until their repression of the masses creates problems, and whom do the masses see as the elites’ overseers? Yeah.
Herzl pretty much got this. Hence Zionism.
If you want to avoid this scenario, it’s a very fine line. Your society has to be socially egalitarian. It has have optimism for the future. And the core nation/people needs to have a solid grip on things so they’re confident. America had these things, which Europe never did. Result: golden age for Judaism.
All 3 of those requirements are disappearing in America today. And the ascendant Left could never do anything but hate any serious Judaism; they have a clear history.
Hence the end of the golden age for Judaism in America.
I will add that some Jewish self-reflection would also be wise. Individuals from the Jewish nation have been leading state pogroms against Christianity and Christians, and members of the Jewish nation who worship the Left have played a very prominent role in stoking anti-white hatred. And in repressing speech. The result should be very familiar to any Jew: people with very little in common except common membership in a hated group start to base more of their identity around that commonality. And they don’t usually encounter Jews as people defending their interests or equality. Quite the reverse.
Yes, there are real 1488ers and crazies out there. But I’m trying to think of how Establishment Judaism could have given those crazies a better setup than the one they’ve fumbled us all to.
Too many American Jewish institutions were far more concerned about being the Jewish face of Leftism. We didn’t see. We didn’t listen. We didn’t speak. So a whirlwind is gathering steam.
You think they’re only trying to commit suicide in Israel?
It’s possible that an honest nationalist to nationalist conversation would make a difference. Indeed, it may be the only thing that could, by acknowledging a common enemy and creating an offsetting picture of Jews who understand and help. It’s worth a try, which is why I’m glad you’re in the conversation Abu Yehuda.
Meanwhile, planning for aliyah is not a bad idea.
Mr. Katzman, can you give one name for what must be a very confused Jew in your set of ‘Individuals from the Jewish nation [that] have been leading state pogroms against Christianity and Christians’? I know we have many Jewish persons who are, to use David Goldman’s phrase, functional anti-Semites. But this one phrase seemed out of place in your contribution. Not bickering, just help me out with a name, so I can include another wayward brother in the list of crazies.