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ISR | Nov 20, 2023

Al Edwards | Why something must be done to stem this rising tide of antisemitism

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Hatred and violence directed at Jews is on the rise across the world.

It is history repeating itself.

The twenty-first century is supposed to be an enlightened age, where humankind has made progress and become more civilised. We live in a technological age which has redefined communication. Social media has given everyone a voice.

But it has also proven to be a horn to trumpet vile hatred aimed at Jews.

It is shocking that esteemed schools of learning such as Cornell and Harvard would allow students of the Jewish faith to be targeted forcing them to cower in fear for their safety.

Universities and seats of learning

Universities should be centres of learning and scholarship, not hotbeds of partisanship and echo chambers for idiots who believe everything they see on Tik Tok.

There should be tolerance and understanding of fellow students from different ethnic backgrounds and religions, solidarity when they are persecuted.

We are not seeing this in western universities and that is disturbing.

Students attend the 367th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

“We never thought that at Harvard College we would have to argue the point that terrorism against civilians demand immediate and unequivocal condemnation. We never thought we would have to argue for recognition of our own humanity,” wrote the Harvard College Jewish Alumni Association (HCJAA) .

It is shameful that students in a modern democratic western society have to argue for and defend their humanity. It is symptomatic of a far deeper malaise that if allowed to go unchecked poses an existential threat.

Harvard President Claudine Gay, responding to the tide of antisemitism at one of America’s most prestigious universities, said: “Harvard rejects all forms of hate, and we are committed to addressing them. Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”

Not only should it have no place at Harvard but no place in this world. We should never be doomed to repeat the atrocities of the past. We must learn from them and ensure they do not become part of a perpetuating cycle.

Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman is a smart and successful investor. He is a decent guy and noted philanthropist.

“The situation at Harvard is dire and getting worse, much worse than I had realised. Jewish students are being bullied, physically intimidated, spat on and in several widely disseminated videos of one such incident, physically assaulted,” wrote Ackman.

Harvard depends on donors from successful people and organisations like Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital. Why should they make generous donations if Harvard is unwilling and unable to protect Jewish students and unequivocally condemn antisemitism?

If this is allowed to continue then its federal funding must be re-evaluated.

Ackman makes a good point when he says Harvard graduates who hold antisemitic sentiments should not be allowed to prosper from obtaining lucrative careers from top law firms and corporations. Such evil should not be allowed to make its way even further into this world particularly not the citadels of power and wealth.

“ Because Harvard students are notoriously focused on their job and career prospects post-graduation, disciplinary actions by the administration for failure to meet the University’s standards for appropriate conduct that become part of a student’s permanent record should serve as an effective deterrent to overt antisemitic acts on campus.

“ No law firm , corporation or graduate program should hire or admit an antisemitic or racist student.”

Again, you are right Bill Ackman. This should serve as a deterrent to the rising tide of antisemitism. This call must be widely supported, and American colleges should adopt this approach.

The acquiescence and forbearance of hate and antisemitism is frightening. People who should know better are looking the other way.

Israel has the right to exist

Israel does have the right to exist and to defend itself. What Hamas did on October 7, 2023, was truly horrendous and atrocious. Now that Israel has responded with fire and fury, Hamas has solicited support, with people condemning Israel for committed acts of genocide.

You grab a tiger by its tail, it’s going to bite. The people of Israel know pain and hatred. They are surrounded by enemies who wish them wiped from the face of the earth. Hamas cannot be allowed to inflict this level of terror on Israel again, so the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) must go in and eradicate Hamas.


Because it poses a threat to the safety and security of Israel. Not only that but Jews around the world need to know that their people have the capability now to act, to wield a sword of justice, to strike down those who would destroy their families, their faith, their very right to exist.

Where is BLM on antisemitism?

During the COVID pandemic, Black Lives Matter was formed after the death of George Floyd at the hands of an insensitive policeman. The howls of indignation echoed across the world. Here was the ugly face of racism and police brutality.

BLM has remained largely silent on the Hamas situation and the rise of antisemitism. This is a time for it to call it out and show solidarity for our Jewish brothers and sisters, join in their defence, make efforts to ensure they are protected and not subjected to violence.

It wasn’t too long ago that you called on the world for support. You should now offer succour, support, have the backs of Jews subjected to vile hate.

At the end of the day all lives matter and we must all remember that. We cannot allow people to be violated because of their colour, faith, or ethnicity.

Increase in antisemitic incidents

I was in London last month and I was appalled to see a news report that there was a 1350 per cent increase in hate crime against Jewish people since the Hamas attacks on October 7, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Since then there have been huge pro-Palestine rallies in the UK with people shouting “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!” This declaration has divided many. Some see it as innocuous and a call for a two-state solution, others as a war cry to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

FILE PHOTO: People gather for a rally held by American Muslims for Palestine calling for a cease fire in Gaza at the Washington Monument in Washington, U.S., October 21, 2023. REUTERS/Bonnie Cash/File Photo

What is clear though is the level of hate for Jews in the UK. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must get on top of it and not allow Jewish people to be persecuted and harmed in a country known for its tolerance and acceptance of different faiths.

Dave Rich, policy director for the Community Security Trust (CST), an organisation established to protect the Jewish community in the UK from hate crimes, observed: “ This huge spike in anti-Jewish hate crime happens every time Israel is at war, yet other foreign conflicts such as the war in Ukraine do not trigger similar outbursts of hate crimes here in the UK. It is shameful and appalling that this still occurs in modern Britain and yet it happens time after time.”

Antisemitism has exploded in France causing French President Emmanuel Macron to write in Le Parisien: “A France where our Jewish fellow citizens are afraid is not France.”

Since last month, there has been a 400 per cent rise in antisemitic incidents in the U.S., compared to the same period last year. This has led the FBI Director Christopher Wray to note that “antisemitism is reaching historic levels in America”.

Who can stop this? Who is bold enough to step forward and condemn the haters? Why is it that in 2023, Jewish people fear for their safety in America? This epidemic of hate must be stopped by all decent people.

The tropes and animus against Jews that the world saw in the last century is here with us now. Social media has made it even worse.

Why are Jews so hated?

I am an admirer of the intellect of American scholar Thomas Sowell, and he has spoken about why Jewish people are hated and reviled. It is jealously and envy.

“The hostilities Jews face around the world is out of all proportion to any other group. In terms of violence and murder, Jews slaughtered in the holocaust were greater than the number of blacks lynched and killed in all American history.

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli security forces at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City April 22, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

“ The question then becomes why are Jews the target of such venomous hatred? I think the answer is that they not only succeed, they succeed in a way that is a threat to the egos of other people,” Sowell said in an interview.

The journalist Bari Weiss surmised that antisemitism is a sign that the society itself is breaking down. I have much respect for this young writer and if you can, check out her online news publication The Free Press. It is rather good.

She notes the hypocrisy on the way the Israeli/Hamas situation is viewed in America and throughout the western world.

Weiss needs to return to Bill Maher’s Real Time to give her insights on the rise of antisemitism.

“ University presidents who leapt to issue morally lucid condemnations of George Floyd’s killing or Putin’s war on Ukraine-offered silence or mealy-mouthed pablum about how the situation is tragic and complex and how we need to think of both sides as if some kind of equivalence between innocent civilians and jihadists.

“But the most alarming of all were the young people who threw their support not behind the innocent victims of Hamas terrorism, but behind Hamas,” said Weiss.

Bill Maher himself commented: “This level of gut wrenching antisemitism …I must admit.. and I don’t think of myself as a naïve person has me surprised. It was like a volcano that blew. I don’t know where this comes from; it’s ancient obviously, the hatred of Jews goes way back but I was taken aback by this.”

Indeed. All the more reason with the world looking to destroy you, you need a home, a place of refuge, a sanctuary, a place where antisemitism does not exist.


Al Edwards is the founder and CEO of the news platform Our Today.


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