WASHINGTON – Don’t blame Donald Trump or the right for surging anti-Semitism in America, says Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Instead, he told the Times of Israel, look left and to growing Jew hatred on America’s college campuses.
“Obviously there is problem with anti-Semitism and we have to take it seriously,” said Oren, a member of the centrist Kulanu party. “But there is anti-Semitism on the left, and nobody blamed Obama for that. During my time in Washington, I never encountered right-wing anti-Semitism, but I experienced a lot of anti-Semitism, mainly on campuses. Ask Jewish students in America if they fear anti-Semitism. They do – not from the right, but from the left.”
Oren defended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against criticism for not speaking out about a White House statement for International Holocaust Memorial Day that didn’t mention the Jewish people.
“Too much emphasis is put on what people say, not on what people do,” said Oren. “The question is not what’s being said, but what’s being done. Yes, there is an uptick in anti-Semitism, but the conversation about it is not going in the right direction.”
Oren said he would rather see hate crimes against Jews stopped than condemned.
In recent weeks, a rash of anti-Semitic attacks, including dozens of hoax bomb threats to Jewish institutions, various U.S. Jewish leaders took the new administration to task for failing to denounce rising anti-Semitism.
Oren, a New Jersey native, said anti-Semitism is not new to America.
“It is very precedented,” he said. “Anti-Semitism was a fact of life when I grew up. I encountered it all the time: our windows were broken, I got into fistfights all the time. There were quotas [for Jews] at Ivy League universities.”
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