The students displayed pictures on their iPhones of swastikas carved into desks and bathroom stalls.
They testified of hearing Jewish homes being pummeled with eggs and vandalized.
They heard chatter in their schools like, “We are the Nazis.”
Those reported got minor punishment, like one-day suspensions.
Students told officials they were afraid to wear clothing or jewelry that expresses their Judaism. One student said she wanted to wear her B’nai B’rith Youth Organization sweatshirt to school, but decided not to because she felt “too scared.”
Each speaker ended with the refrain, “I do not feel safe here.”
Where did this public school board meeting take place? Was it in some back woods rural den of “white nationalist hatred”?
No, it was last week in Woodbridge, Connecticut – and virtually unreported by any media other than a small story in the New Haven Register. It all focused on activity at Amity High School – the tragic irony that “amity” means “friendship,” “peaceful harmony,” “mutual understanding,” and “a peaceful relationship, especially between nations.”
With all we hear about the rise of hate crime in America, it is seldom in connection with the most insidious form, the one focused on the tiniest of minorities, the group that has focused more than any other in the last 2,000 years.
Jewish people were the victims of more reported hate crimes than any other religious minority in 2016, according to the most recent year of FBI statistics. In fact, those incidents were higher than the rest of religiously motivated hate crimes combined.
Last year, anti-Semitic incidents rose almost 60 percent, the largest single-year increase on record. The ADL found 1,986 cases of harassment, vandalism or physical assaults against Jewish people or institutions in 2017. It found 1,267 in 2016.
Does anyone ask why this should be?
No, not really. In fact, the numbers parallel the trends in Europe where immigration trends run high among Muslims, as they do in the U.S. There are now 3.45 million Muslims living in the U.S., up more than 1 million in the last decade.
Yet we look not at who is committing these crimes. In fact, let’s face it. Every time there is a terrorist attack in America, the news media starts the game of pin the tail on the gun-toting, Christian white guy. It is considered “racist” to examine demographic changes in communities and immigration trends as a contributing cause – just as it is now to consider the threat posed by MS-13 gangs throughout the country. It is also considered inappropriate to look at the changing ways we educate our children about matters of faith, morality, justice, equality under the law.
It’s is also becoming unthinkable to examine which side of the political spectrum is most intensely antisemitic. Yet it is undeniable when we look at the activity on America’s college campuses: the rhetoric, the anti-Israel boycotts, the divestment efforts. It’s overwhelming left-wing activity – often in tolerance, sympathy or even solidarity with the genocidal “Palestine” political machine. Nothing to worry about there …
Instead, the media, academic and other cultural institutions blame one man with an impeccable record of support for the Jewish communities in America and Israel – the two largest. It’s what I am dubbing “the fake hate bait.”
How does Donald Trump get sandbagged with that smear – the father of a Jewish convert, the father-in-law of a Jewish man, a New York developer who has worked lifelong in the city with a population of 2.2 million Jews. Never before he ran for president was there even a single allegation of antisemitism or racism toward him or anyone close to him. It would have been considered preposterous. It should be considered just as preposterous and irresponsible today.
Can we stop the dangerous labeling of Trump and his supporters as anti-Semites and racists? Indeed, it is dangerous and inflammatory, and not just for the president and his supporters. It is also is an excuse for not examining the real symptoms, the real perpetrators, the real hatred and the forceful violent solutions to which they so readily resort.
And, while we’re at it, to all those who hurl the “hate” label around with such alacrity, how about considering the one and only antidote – like simply a spreading a little love?
Never again. No more racism. No more bigotry. No more phony blame-gaming slanders. No more fake hate-baiting.