Sunday, June 3, 2018

You don't think anti-Semitism can come to your house? Think again

 For decades, America has been the 'golden medina' for Jews. Since perhaps the late nineteen fifties/early sixties, Jews in America have been very fortunate. They've found in the United States more freedom, safety and opportunity than Jews have ever found in all of Jewish history--more freedom, safety, opportunity and wealth than in any other country.

But has that freedom, safety and opportunity peaked? Are Jews in the US about to experience an unprecedented growth of anti-Semitism?

There might be evidence that this growth of anti-semitism has already begun. For example, in 2017, the US saw a  surge of anti-Semitic incidents--an increase of at least 57% in anti-Jewish acts (Oliver Holmes,  "Anti-Semitic incidents in US soar to highest level in two decades", guardian, February 27, 2018).

In 2016, anti-Semitism in the US increased by more than 1/3rd ("Testimony of Jonathan A. Greenblatt CEO and National Director Anti-Defamation League Before the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on Responses to Increase in Religious Hate Crimes" --here--May 2, 2017, adl, p. 2). 

2015 saw a different type of anti-Semitic surge, this time in social media. In 2015, anti-Semitic imagery in social media showed a dramatic increase ("American Jews alarmed by surge in anti-Semitism", fortune, November 17, 2016). Jewish journalists were targeted (ibid). Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories spread across social media (ibid). 

In fact, since 1990, anti-Jewish hate crimes have represented between 50 and 85 percent of all religion-based hate crimes (the Greenblatt testimony, ibid, p. 5). When you consider that Jews in America represent less than  three percent of all Americans, so many hate crimes against Jews becomes a truly disturbing phenomena. And there's no end in sight.

Now, 2018, we see something completely different. We now see anti-Semitism coming directly into your home.

There's an anti-Semitic attack in California that reaches across the state--into thousands of homes. In a moment, you'll get to experience this attack.

What you are about to hear is a robocall--an automated phone call dialled directly to one's phone. It's part of a US Senate campaign to unseat Diane Feinstein. The candidate sponsoring this robocal is a man named Patrick Little. He doesn't like Jews.

Here is the recorded call. You can find it on youtube (here). It was posted there May 17, 2018. The call lasts less than 1:30 minutes.

Listen to it:

I don't know much about Diane Feinstein. She's been a US Senator since 1992. Through her longevity, she's become the Senior Senator from California. She's a Democrat. She's also an important figure in the Senate.

Patrick Little wants to replace her. He's chosen to use anti-Semitic slurs to bring her down. There are sites on the internet that claim she is, indeed, an Israeli citizen. I don't know if that claim is accurate. But even if it is, it really doesn't matter: in the US, it's legal to hold dual citizenship with another country. Becoming a dual citizen with another country does not make you a traitor.

If you live in California, your phone could receive such a call. This message could be delivered directly to you. If you're Jewish, how would you like to receive this call?

Are you sure America is the best place for you? 

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