The September 15 Washington Post has a disturbing article about the increase of anti-Semitism on American college campuses, “In the safe spaces on campus, no Jews allowed,” which is itself a condensation of a longer article by the same name published in The Tower by Anthony Berteaux. What’s disturbing to me are two things. First, that the Jewish students who recount instances of anti-Semitism are progressives, many trying to be allies of movements like Black Lives Matter or going to conferences about people of color. Second, the Jews have traditionally been solidly behind civil rights movements for blacks, and it’s sad to me to see this rupture, which is largely over the Israel/Palestine issue.
What people don’t realize is that there’s a tremendous diversity of opinion among Jews about Israel and Palestine, as well as distortions in reporting (at one conference for People of Color, a Jewish student reported the dissemination of the old lie about Jews poisoning water they sell to Palestine, and on other campuses pro-Palestinian students and professors claim that Jews sell the organs of dead Palestinians (another lie). Since both of these canards can be dispelled by simple-fact checking, I see this as the modern version of “blood libel,” and a form of anti-Semitism. And while there’s tremendous support on American and British campuses for the BDS movement, I see that as anti-Semitic as well, for the aims of that movement are not to promote a two-state solution, but to eliminate the Jewish state entirely.
But I digress. When reading these articles, I was struck once again by the large number of anti-Semitic “hate crimes” in America—disproportionately larger than for members of any other religion, even when you normalize by the number of adherents. Here are the data on religiously motivated hate crimes from the FB( (2014):
In a free society, all of these crimes are reprehensible, and none is better or worse than the others. But I do want to point out the preponderance of Jewish “hate crimes,” which are, by and large, ignored by the press, especially by liberal news aggregators like PuffHo. Let’s look at the proportion of Americans that belong to one faith or another; this is from the Pew Religious Landscape Survey:
If we normalize the proportion of hate crimes by the size of the religious population, then anti-Jewish hate crimes are, on a per capita basis, 1.7 times more frequent than anti-Muslim hate crimes, and 105 times more frequent than anti-Catholic hate crimes!
Yet if you look, say, at the PuffHo Religion page, you’ll get the impression that all the anti-religious hatred in the U.S. is directed towards Muslims. Here are the two items at the top of the page; “Islamophobia” is a standalone section, but there’s no anti-Semitic section.
I can’t recall seeing many articles about anti-Semitism on PuffHo, especially compared to their profusion of articles calling out bigotry against Muslims (have a look). I am not saying, of course, that bigotry against Muslims is ever justified—it isn’t—or that it shouldn’t be highlighted, especially now that we’re facing the issue of immigrants from the Middle East. But I wonder why the concentration of attention on bigotry against Muslims over that on bigotry against Jews. Neither are “races”, so it can’t be that one stance is more racist than another: they’re both religions, Jake!
Perhaps it’s because Muslims are seen as “people of color” (though many Jews are Semites, just like Muslims), and therefore more liable to be oppressed. (Another explanation is that Jews may not have the megaphone that Muslim-rights organizations like CAIR have, though there is an Anti-Defamation League.)
Whatever the explanation, this concentration of attention is an unjustifiably skewed way to inform people about what’s going on, and may, for odious aggregators like PuffHo, represent a form of virtue signaling: “See, we’re on the side of oppressed Muslims (let the Jews take care of themselves.)”
h/t: Diane G.