The Anti-Defamation League is sounding the alarm. An organization that protects Jews from harassment has released a report reporting a record level of anti-Semitism in the United States.
The Anti-Defamation League is sounding the alarm. An organization that protects Jews from harassment has released a report reporting a record level of anti-Semitism in the United States. According to human rights activists, in 2022 there were 3,697 anti-Semitic incidents, which is 36% more than the previous year and, overall, is the highest number of all time. On the scale of a country with a population of about 333 million people, the number seems insignificant, but the steady increase in such cases indicates a failure in the tolerant system of values. Human rights activists cite the populism of politicians, the pernicious influence of the Internet, in which people allow themselves not to “filter the market”, and dissatisfaction with the fall in living standards, which results in the search for blame. , as the reason. for such behavior, human rights activists say.
It is noted that 85% of Americans believe in at least one cliché about Jews, so those responsible for the lack of water in the tap are quickly found. Responses range from harassing letters and graffiti to anti-Semitic marches and attacks. In the last year, more than one hundred cases of aggression and one murder motivated by hate were recorded. Outbreaks of antisemitism have been identified in all 50 states.
ACCESSIBLE TO THE RIGHT AND LEFT
The children of Israel get it not only from far-right radicals, but also from the left flank. On the right side, the “great replacement” theory is gaining popularity: the belief that “Zionists are seizing power” by displacing white Americans with immigrants they will rule, tying them into debt slavery. Supporters of such conspiracy theories are radicals who gravitate toward the Republicans. It was a bombshell after Donald Trump dined with Holocaust-denying rapper Kanye West and well-known conspiracy theorist Nick Fuentes. Even his supporters demanded an explanation from the former president, but Trump said he saw nothing special about a private meal. Fuentes’s congregation views the coronavirus as a “Semitic hoax” promoted through usurped media, and demands that Jews be deprived of the opportunity to hold any public office in the United States. The party denies such phenomena, but the circulation of anti-Semitic theories, including by recently fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson and other media conservatives, incites its constituency.
Leftist forces, which see themselves as defenders of various minorities, have similar claims. They believe that Jews in the US are a privileged class and have too much power and wealth to be considered disadvantaged. Furthermore, they themselves are white oppressors. It has gotten to the point where American Jews are being pushed out of various social justice movements.
ON THE PATH OF WAR – “BLACK JEWS”
But the most unexpected group of anti-Semites is the “black Jews.” These are actually sects of African-Americans who believe that they are the real oppressed Jews, and that the Semites stole their history and made it their own. The idea first arose in the 19th century, when several former slaves turned preachers began spreading the message that African Americans were the true children of Israel. The years of slavery were interpreted as divine punishment for sins and proof of God’s choice. Not surprisingly, the theory resonated widely with black Americans. This concept became especially popular after Kanye West and basketball player Kyrie Irving began replicating it. The latter made the conspiracy film “Black Jews – Israelis” extremely popular by advertising it on social media. Having seen enough of such manuals, African-Americans go out to fight the false Jews with the help of fists and improvised means. It got to the point that the most zealous attacked synagogue worshipers, shouting “Kanye was right” and “We are real Jews.”
FOR THE BROAD “FIRST AMENDMENT”
The authors of the report demand that the spread of anti-Semitism be strictly suppressed. One of the key measures, in his opinion, should be severe punishment for hate speech, including on the Internet. However, here human rights activists stumble upon the notorious “First Amendment”, which guarantees freedom of expression. The US Supreme Court holds this right sacred and is often not balanced with other rights. In cases involving anti-Semitic and racist speech, US courts have generally held that restricting hate speech would violate free speech rights. Therefore, in the United States, a person can publicly express frankly criminal things, but if it is not proven that he intended to provoke illegal actions with this, or that such actions were caused by his own expression, no one has the right to prohibit him. express your point of view, no matter how bloodthirsty.
Anastasia Bunina, employee of the Center for North American Studies, IMEMO RAS:
Social inequality and the covid epidemic have awakened old prejudices
– Anti-Semitic sentiments have always existed in the United States and were especially widespread in the 70-80s of the XX century. Jewish conspiracy theories make a comeback when it comes to finding the culprits. Now there is another wave and this has its own reasons. First, the growing interest in the right agenda. This is where Donald Trump and a few other politicians who are openly behaving in politically incorrect ways, showing that this is acceptable, have played their part. After the xenophobic statements of the first person in the country, other citizens began to spread them openly.
In addition, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen in the United States, generating social discontent. Jewish Americans, according to statistics, have an above-average level of income and education. The covid also played a role. People were left home alone with their fears, which served as fertile ground for the dawn of conspiracy theories. Many, in search of comfort, tend to rely on dubious ideas and blame others for their problems. Historically, the easiest group to accuse is the Jews.
These factors are compounded by declining levels of trust in the government and the traditional media. Americans are looking for alternative sources of information. On social media, especially on the far right, they find all these conspiracy theories and radical ideas that used to stay in kitchens and are now spreading all over the internet. There, people also get followers, making sure they are not alone in their thoughts.
As for the 2024 elections, this trend is unlikely to affect them. A lot depends on who the Republican nominee will be and how much they want to bring this issue up in the race. Anti-Semitism remains socially unacceptable behavior, and a candidate who promotes radical ideas may be rejected by both voters and sponsors.