In recent times, the world has witnessed significant global challenges, one of which has been the ongoing crisis in Israel (which I will delve into in a future article). Amidst this turmoil, it is crucial to discuss a related but distinct issue that deserves our attention.
The Jewish community is currently grappling with sorrow and loss, as organizations like ZAKA are working tirelessly to piece together the lives of innocent victims, both Israeli and foreign, who fell victim to senseless violence on October 7th. Funerals are held daily, while over 200 individuals, including Americans and other nationals, have been held hostage, with some losing their lives and others suffering severe injuries or illnesses. These attacks have targeted Jews specifically because of their Jewish identity, highlighting a growing global menace.
The surge in antisemitism worldwide is unprecedented and alarming. Events like the recent gathering of nearly 100,000 Londoners in support of anti-Jewish sentiment during the weekend demonstration serve as a stark reminder. This wave of hatred is not limited to a specific geography; it is spreading across communities and college campuses worldwide, including those in the United States.
During this challenging time, it is essential that our unwavering focus remains on the Jewish community, which faces an unparalleled threat solely based on their identity. However, it is also important to recognize that equating antisemitism and Islamophobia, as President Biden has done, is not accurate.
Let us clarify: there is no equivalence between Islamophobia and antisemitism. Unlike Jews, Muslims have not experienced centuries of persecution worldwide. There has been no orchestrated “final solution” targeting Muslims. They have not been subjected to harmful blood libels or systematic extermination.
It is ironic to group intolerance towards Jews and Muslims, given historical treatment where Jews were often relegated to second-class citizens (dhimmis) or given the grim choice of conversion or death in certain Muslim lands. Today, radical Islamist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah pose the greatest threat to Jews, fanning the flames of hatred among their millions of followers and offering rewards for those who harm Jews, glorifying their actions as acts of martyrdom.
Furthermore, Jews facing persecution do not resort to the rhetoric or behavior displayed by some Islamist imams. Unlike these imams who call for the extermination of Jews and compare them to animals, Jewish rabbis do not use their pulpits to advocate violence against Muslims. Such dangerous rhetoric is often cited in Article Seven of the Hamas Covenant.
Unfortunately, there is a prevailing trend in our society to conflate various forms of discrimination, driven either by guilt or political correctness. For instance, when addressing the antisemitic remarks made by Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the Democrats chose to condemn “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry” instead of unequivocally denouncing her statements. This approach dilutes the gravity of antisemitism when it is lumped together with other forms of discrimination.
While we must acknowledge the challenges faced by American Muslims, we cannot ignore the significant disparities in the threats they face compared to the Jewish community. Recent FBI hate-crime statistics indicate that 55% of all religious hate crimes last year targeted Jews, while only 8% targeted Muslims.
In 2021, there were six more incidents of anti-Islamic hate crimes compared to the previous year. In contrast, there were 305 more anti-Jewish incidents, with 1,217 Jewish victims as opposed to 200 Muslim victims.
It is crucial to recognize these differences and respond accordingly. Jewish organizations have condemned the tragic murder of a Muslim child, which is a stark contrast to the reprehensible celebrations of violence by some pro-Hamas groups.
In conclusion, we must address discrimination comprehensively while recognizing the unique challenges faced by different communities. Combating antisemitism should not be diluted by lumping it together with other forms of bigotry. Each form of discrimination deserves its own focus, and we should strive for a world where all communities can live free from hatred and violence.