The bloodshed in old Palestine – Israel, Gaza and the West Bank – has spawned protests around the world.

          It has proven just as divisive in this country. There are people who will defend Israel regardless of the civilian carnage its army inflicts in Gaza. Others point out that such collateral damage amounts to terrorizing the innocent. And, of course, there are folks in the middle who say Israel’s self-defense is justified but that Palestinians have human rights as well.

          We don’t really have open supporters of the Hamas terrorists. Granted, some of Donald Trump’s “very fine people” marching in Charlottesville were chanting, “The Jews will not replace us.” But, those bigots consider all non-Europeans to be inferior “mud people.”

          And, their tacit anti-Semitism is reflected in their figurehead himself, who has done more to normalize hate speech than anyone since Archie Bunker. A month before the evil and cowardly Hamas attack, Trump’s Truth Social Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jewish voters was:

          “Just a quick reminder for liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed in false narratives! Let’s hope you learned from your mistake & make better choices moving forward!”

          But, Trump’s core base does not discriminate with its hatred.

          From Oct. 7 to Dec. 7, the Anti-Defamation Luck reported, “2,031 anti-Semitic incidents, up from 465 incidents during the same period in 2022, representing a 337-percent increase year-over-year. This includes 40 incidents of physical assault, 337 incidents of vandalism, 749 incidents of verbal or written harassment and 905 rallies including anti-Semitic rhetoric, expressions of support for terrorism against the state of Israel and/or anti-Zionism. On average, over the last 61 days, Jews in America experienced nearly 34 anti-Semitic incidents per day.”

          Now, the ADL and the US House notwithstanding, anti-Zionism is a political issue. Anti-Semitism is a matter of bigotry against particular people.

          During that same two-month period, the Council on American-Islamic Relations cites data “showing that it has received a ‘staggering’ 2,171 complaints over the past 57 days amid an ongoing wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate.”

          Few of these incidents involve supporters of one cause attacking the other side. Rival rallies in California resulted in the death of a Jewish man and the charging of his assailant with involuntary manslaughter and battery.

          But, the majority of these attacks against Jews and Muslims have been perpetrated by bigoted thugs who hate both groups.

          CAIR Research and Advocacy Director Corey Saylor said: “It’s staggering to see this kind of spike in anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate in less than two months. Far too many people and institutions have spent the past two months weaponizing Islamophobia and anti-Arab bias to both justify the ongoing violence against Palestinians in Gaza and silence supporters of Palestinian human rights here in America.”  

          Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, had a similar message: “This terrifying pattern of anti-Semitic attacks has been relentless since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, with no signs of diminishing. The lid to the sewers is off, and Jewish communities all across the country are being inundated with hate.”

          Members of both communities came to the United States hoping to bask in its pledged liberty and equality. We have failed them both by nurturing the same bigotry they hoped to escape.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: <> or <>.)

War in Palestine inspires US bigots

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