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Antisemitism in the U.S. is on the rise again and everyone has a role to play in combating it



These attacks, along with other acts of violence, instances of harassment, and vandalism of synagogues have occurred all over the country since the recent violence in the Middle East in which 256 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic hate crime reports in the U.S. almost doubled—rising from 127 to 222—in the two weeks after fighting began versus the prior two weeks. Most of the incidents appear to be connected to support for the plight of the Palestinians.

Although I’m focusing on hate crimes targeting Jewish Americans—a topic that deserves a post specifically devoted to it—it’s important to note both that American mosques and Muslim community centers have been vandalized during this period as well, and that multiple prominent Muslim American leaders have condemned antisemitic violence. Likewise, American Jewish leaders have denounced these recent Islamophobic crimes. Thankfully, I found no reports from Muslim groups or other media mentions of hate-based physical attacks on Muslim or Arab/Palestinian individuals relating to this issue.

The fear in the Jewish community is real, as people are wondering how safe it is to appear publicly in ways that identify their religious affiliation. One Jewish New Yorker, Danny Groner, told The New York Times: “We’ve all read about what Jewish life was like in Europe before the Holocaust. There’s always this question: Why didn’t they leave? The conversation in my circles is, are we at that point right now? What would have to happen tomorrow or next week or next month to say ‘enough is enough’?” Groner didn’t think we’d reached that point yet, and neither do I—in particular given that today’s U.S. government is actively combating antisemitic hate, whereas in Europe the governments often fueled it, and not just in Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, even hearing the question raised indicates how serious the situation has become. This is what people mean by inter-generational trauma.

So let’s talk honestly about the recent outbreak of antisemitic hate in America, and about who’s responsible for what. I doubt it shocks anyone that right-wingers blame their usual suspects. Gerard Baker, in his Wall Street Journal op-ed essay (behind a paywall), went after Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. However, the examples he cited didn’t come close to demonstrating anti-Jewish hate on their part—they represented harsh criticism of the Israeli government’s actions, yes, but nothing coming close to encouraging hate. In the past, Omar has occasionally used rhetoric that included antisemitic tropes (for which I called her out), but she has apologized, promised to educate herself, and has since avoided doing so, all to her credit.

Furthermore, each of them (along with numerous other progressives), specifically denounced the recent outbreak of antisemitism. Here’s Omar:


And AOC:


Ocasio-Cortez even went on to encourage her followers to take positive action to reduce antisemitic hate:


To be fair, four House Democrats also criticized the type of condemnations of Israeli policy made by Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar, albeit without mentioning them by name. Again, I disagree that those represent antisemitism.

Baker’s article also criticized President Biden and Democrats broadly for supposedly having been “oddly silent” about antisemitic hate crimes. I guess Baker and the folks at the WSJ editorial page didn’t see this tweet, which Biden posted almost seven full hours before the op-ed went live (Vice President Harris issued a similar one the same morning):


In addition to going after living, breathing Democrats, Baker also threw in mentions of “critical race theory,” “woke ideology,” and, wait for it, “Marxis[m]”. I mean hey, right-wing demagogues gotta right-wing demagogue. But seriously, the Biden White House has taken a number of other steps beyond just words, including meeting with leaders of Jewish organizations, having the Department of Homeland Security issue a specific warning to law enforcement to be on the lookout for antisemitic incidents, putting together a coordinated effort across the federal government to fight this violent hate, and preparing to nominate a State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Leading Jewish officials expressed strong satisfaction with Biden’s overall response.

At the same time, we have seen unequivocally antisemitic statements coming from members of Congress—just not the ones cited above. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—who has previously engaged in wild antisemitic conspiracy theories about “Jewish space lasers” causing wildfires in California—directly equated to the Holocaust a mandate that House members wear a mask:


Please note that her interviewer, David Brody, nods vigorously in agreement before the broadcast quickly takes him out of the shot and focuses just on Greene. Brody, the chief political analyst for the Christian Broadcasting Network and a regular commentator on politics for NBC (including bimonthly on Meet the Press) and CNN as well as (of course) Fox News, should face serious denunciation as well. Are you sure you want this guy providing political analysis on your show, Chuck Todd?

One would think it would be unnecessary to explain this, but no, sending six million Jews to their deaths in a frighteningly close-to-successful attempt to annihilate every Jew on Earth is not the same thing as asking people to put a mask on their face in order to keep their colleagues safe from a deadly disease during a motherfucking pandemic. Only 19 states require public schools to teach about the Holocaust. Is it a surprise that Greene’s Georgia isn’t one of them? Neither is neighboring Tennessee, where the owner of a Nashville hat store—perhaps inspired by Greene—started selling yellow badges in the shape of a Jewish star with the words “NOT VACCINATED.”


For anyone who needs a bit more context regarding what’s wrong with that (and there is so much):


Although some anti-Trump Republicans in the House promptly castigated Rep. Greene (thank you, Reps. Cheney, Kinzinger, and Meijer), it took their leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, four days to speak up. But even in doing so, after a lousy 40 words on the matter, he managed to throw in a “hey, look over there, Democrats are doing it too” non sequitur. Way to grapple seriously with antisemitism in your own caucus, Kev.

Broadly speaking, antisemitism in the U.S. coming from the right has been more prevalent and more dangerous than that coming from the left. However, we need to recognize that both do exist. Furthermore, as Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League recently explained, antisemitism to some degree transcends traditional left-right dichotomies:

Anti-Semitism is not a right-wing issue. It’s not a left-wing issue. It’s a problem in and of itself. It’s unique, in that no matter where someone is on the ideological spectrum, they’re able to manipulate anti-Semitic tropes to make a point if they want to. Sometimes it’s not necessarily coming from an extreme left or an extreme right, but it’s just an anti-Semite.

Any public official, whether left or right, who is normalising tropes commonly used by anti-Semites, that’s a problem. Normalising anti-Semitism, I think, has more to do with the rise in anti-Semitism than people might think.

This post is about hate crimes being carried out in our country, not how wrong is either the policy and practice of the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu, or the actions of Hamas, which rules Gaza. Suffice it to say that both deserve harsh criticism and both have the blood of innocents on their hands. As I’ve written before, criticism of Israeli policy, either during the recent conflict or more broadly, does not in and of itself equal antisemitism. Antisemitism means promoting hatred of or violence against Jews because they are Jewish, not supporting the rights of Palestinians. Likewise, one can support the right of Israel to exist and of Jews to have a national homeland without being anti-Palestinian. Furthermore, both peoples are equally deserving of peace, freedom, security, and dignity.

But even writing some of those words leaves me feeling conflicted. Why, when writing about Jews facing violence and hate in America, must I personally acknowledge wrongdoing by Israel? I wonder whether, in doing so, I am buying into the very logic of those who attack Jews here because of anger at the Israeli government (not that an unprovoked assault on any civilian because of what any government has done is ever justified). By comparison, that’s like someone attacking an Asian American in this country because they feel the government of China is culpable in its reaction to COVID-19 (and unfortunately that seems to be the case, as Asian American hate crimes are on the rise in this country too).

Can’t Jews simply count on the sympathy and support of everyone in the fight against anti-Jewish hate? Can’t we just be pissed off that we or our loved ones might be targeted and attacked for wearing a yarmulke, or going into a temple?

That’s what I’m offering here. Simply an unapologetic expression of outrage. I ask that all progressives stand together against anti-Jewish hate crimes, just the same way we do when members of any other group are targeted simply for who they are. In large part, that’s exactly what’s been happening. For that I’m grateful.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of  The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh’s Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)


They Seemed Like Democratic Activists. They Were Secretly Conservative Spies.



They also took aim at the administration of the Republican governor of Wyoming, Mark Gordon, whom hard-right conservatives considered far too moderate and whose candidacy Ms. Gore had opposed in 2018. They targeted a Republican state representative, now the Wyoming speaker of the house, because of his openness to liberalizing marijuana laws — a position Ms. Gore vigorously opposes.

Using her Democratic cover identity, Ms. LaRocca got a job working for a consortium of wealthy liberal donors in Wyoming — the Wyoming Investor Network, or WIN — that had decided to back some moderate Republicans. The job gave her access to valuable information.

“Getting the WIN stuff is really damaging,” said Chris Bell, who worked as a political consultant for the consortium. “It’s the entire strategy. Where the money is going. What we’re doing long term.”

Mr. Seddon, Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca did not respond to requests for comment about the operation or the campaign contributions. Cassie Craven, a lawyer for Ms. Gore, also did not respond to emails or a voice mail message seeking comment about the operation, nor did Ms. Gore herself.

When The Times reached out to political activists and politicians who had come to know Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca, informing them of the couple’s true agenda, some said the news confirmed their own suspicions that the pair might not have been on the level. Others were stunned and said they regretted any part they had played in helping them gain entree to political circles in the West.

George Durazzo Jr., a Colorado businessman and fund-raiser who coaxed the large donations from Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca and shepherded them around Las Vegas before the debate, said he was both angry and embarrassed. He had planned, he said, to take them to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee before the pandemic turned it into a virtual event.

“If they are indeed Benedict Arnold and Mata Hari,” he said, “I was the one who was fooled.”

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News Roundup: Giuliani suspended; infrastructure deal; pro-Trump network floats mass executions



From hoax-peddling to violent insurrection to talk of mass executions, fascism in America is now a major political force

In the news today: Trump fixer Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law in New York is suspended after a pattern of flagrant lying about supposed election “fraud” in and outside courtrooms. The White House and a group of 10 senators announced an agreement on “bipartisan” infrastructure funding—but both the details and the supposed bipartisanship that will allow it to pass remain sketchy. A prominent conservative “news” site responsible for pushing election hoaxes that helped lead to insurrection is now speculating on a need to execute “tens of thousands” of Americans who, they falsely contend, helped unfairly deny Donald Trump an election win.

Here’s some of what you may have missed:

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‘Unforgivable and un-American’: U.S. Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick’s longtime partner calls out GOP



In a CNN op-ed, Garza, a clinical social worker who was with Sicknick for 11 years, wrote that she couldn’t watch the Jan. 6 footage for a month after the attack, but eventually gutted it out and took a look.

But before his memorial a month later, something came over me: I wanted to see everything I could and understand what happened that day. As I watched the videos, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw officers being brutalized and beaten, and protesters defying orders to stay back from entering the Capitol. All the while, I kept thinking, “Where is the President? Why is it taking so long for the National Guard to arrive? Where is the cavalry!?”

As the months passed, my deep sadness turned to outright rage as I watched Republican members of Congress lie on TV and in remarks to reporters and constituents about what happened that day. Over and over they denied the monstrous acts committed by violent protesters.

Garza didn’t name those members of Congress, but they’re not hard to identify. There was Sen. Ron Johnson, who said he was never concerned about the insurrection because the rioters were “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement”—and not scary antifa or Black Lives Matter protesters. There was Rep. Andrew Clyde, who compared the insurrectionists to tourists, even though footage from that day showed him fixin’ to drop a chimichanga or two into his Simon Bar Sinister Underoos. And there was Trump himself, who infamously said that the insurrection posed “zero threat” and that his supporters were “hugging and kissing” the Capitol police. 

Eventually, Garza joined Sicknick’s mother, Gladys, in her campaign to convince GOP senators to vote in favor of the commission. But as we all know, their heartfelt pleas were ignored. Garza writes that during her and Gladys’ outreach campaign, “some Republican senators were very pleasant and polite. Others were dismissive, and others could barely hide their disdain.”

Sounds about right. Of course, in the wake of Republicans’ nearly unanimous betrayal of democracy, Garza feels she’s being retraumatized.

By denying or downplaying the viciousness and trauma that occurred on January 6, members of Congress and the people who continue echoing their false narrative are engaging in a specific kind of psychological harm that is familiar to people who work in mental health. It’s known as “secondary wounding.” Secondary wounding, described by psychologist Aphrodite Matsakis, occurs when people “minimize or discount the magnitude of the event, its meaning to the victim, [or] its impact on the victim’s life.”

The kicker? Before the Capitol insurrection, both Garza and Sicknick—who adored blueberry pancakes and wiener dogs alike—were Trump supporters. Not anymore: “To know that some members of Congress—along with the former President, Donald Trump, who Brian and I once supported but who can only now be viewed as the mastermind of that horrible attack—are not acknowledging Brian’s heroism that day is unforgivable and un-American.”

Eventually, anyone who puts their faith in Donald Trump gets burned. Ask … well, pretty much anyone. Most people don’t suffer this much for their obtuseness, but just about everyone who hitches their wagon to his collapsing star gets a rude awakening.

It’s sad that it took the loss of a loved one for Garza to finally wake up, but if she can keep warning others, maybe the day when Trump is truly—and forever—radioactive will come sooner rather than later.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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