Considering the distance geographically, the scenes over the last week from London to Los Angeles to New York City were shockingly similar. “Activists” brandishing Palestinian flags ostensibly protesting the latest violent clash in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict targeted not Israeli consulates to protest, but instead, soft Jewish targets like restaurants and workplaces like Midtown Manhattan’s Diamond District.
And they weren’t peacefully “protesting” by any means, but perpetuating hate as old as time. Whatever your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — which as of Friday remains in a state of cease-fire — the targeting taking place in the U.S. is far less about Zionism or a geopolitical conflict, and more about Jew-hate.
In London, video surfaced of what appears to be Palestinian protesters driving through the streets, and you can hear the chant “(Expletive) the Jews, rape their daughters.” In Los Angeles two days later a similar, roving gang violently targeted Jewish individuals and those dining at Kosher restaurants in a popular Jewish strip of the major city. Immediately following the incidents, reports explained, “People in cars displaying Palestinian flags were shouting antisemitic slurs at Jewish diners. Another witness told CBS Los Angeles that the caravan was throwing bottles at a group of people sitting outside of Sushi Fumi. One witness told KTLA that one car asked the group if they were Jewish. Two men said yes and were attacked. One of the victims was hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed.”
Thursday night in New York City, it went still further, with what appears to be an explosive device thrown at a group of Jewish onlookers in Midtown Manhattan, an area with a large concentration of Jewish workers. A Jewish man, according to reports, was brutally beaten in Times Square during a melay of violence, and more Kosher restaurants targeted for harassment by “protesters.”
These, and other similar events throughout the globe this week, are not “protests” — they are violence and harassment. Within our community, we can’t help but recall the pogroms of the past, led against Jewish communities around the world.
Writing on Twitter, outspoken Jewish communicator and the managing director for global communications for the American Jewish Committee Avi Mayer explained, “The sight of Jews being beaten in the streets of NY and LA by thugs wearing Palestinian flags is horrifying. … After they attack the collective Jew — Israel — the natural next step is that they’ll come after individual Jews.”
Hamas and their Western apologists claim that the latest round of conflict began as a dispute over a holy site in Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa, an area sacred to major faiths originating in the region, including Islam and Judaism. Even now, after a cease-fire has been declared, the site is being defiled by Molotov cocktails by those who claim it to be the holiest site in Islam.
The conflict began with Israeli police present on the site, yes, but it’s never explained why they were there in the first place: Because Hamas, the terrorist organization controlling the Gaza Strip, had incited riots. Hamas then used this to justify sending thousands of rockets into Israel, sparking a larger regional conflict between Israel and the terrorist government.
In a recent video on the latest round of violence, an Israeli anchor accurately, in my judgment, explained the latest conflict and the dynamic of how the two operate, “While Israel is making every effort to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas is doing the opposite.” Golda Meir, famously paraphrased by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, succinctly explained a dynamic that has remained unchanged for decades, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
With renewed tensions in the Mideast, with rockets raining down on cities across Israel for the last week, antisemites worldwide have had a field day in their ongoing quest to terrorize as many Jews as possible. In North America and across Europe, we lack an Iron Dome defense. Violence has taken place in the streets, on sidewalks outside restaurants, and vandalized synagogues, cemeteries and more. Those who hate us want more scenes like this one in New York City replicated everywhere there is a Jewish community, with two Jewish men and a handful of police standing outside of a bagel shop, defenseless and facing a mob filled with dozens of angry and violent men out for blood.
I support Israel, but many of my fellow Jews in the United States do not. Pro-Israel or not, hate and violence against Jews in the United States or anywhere is an atrocity that all people must condemn.
Attackers at the Los Angeles sushi restaurant the other day yelled: “Free Palestine” and “Death to Jews” all at once. They didn’t ask the patrons about their political opinions on the conflict. Instead, they punched Jews indiscriminately. This is antisemitism. And the Western world must condemn it for what is.