If there is one positive thing to come out of the attacks on Jews in Jersey City last weekend, it’s that the pretense that anti-Semitism has a home in one part of American society but not in others is over. That doesn’t, of course, mean that some won’t try to keep the delusion alive but four dead in a kosher market at the hands of Black Hebrew Israelites will have to complicate their argument.
For a long time, the left was able to provide cover for the frequent attacks on Jews in America by saying it was only white supremacists engaging in these attacks.
When video after video showed an alarming uptick of attacks, in Brooklyn of all places, by perpetrators who could not be white supremacists because they were mostly not white, the argument changed to focus on the deadliness of the attacks.
Sure, Jews were being pummeled in Crown Heights and Williamsburg, but these attacks paled in comparison to the deadly ones in synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway. The dismissal of violence because no one had died yet always seemed like a troubled argument and the shooting in Jersey City should end it for good.
It won’t, of course. There’s too much to be gained from turning anti-Semitism into a political argument to use on your opponents.
Right after the Jersey City attack, New York mayor Bill de Blasio reverted to form noting that sure, this was an attack that ended with dead Jews (and a dead police officer) but it was an anomaly. ‘Where has the worst actions before two days ago, and I don’t belittle what happened days ago one bit, I think that’s quite evident, where have the worst actions, the worst anti-Semitic attacks happened in the United States of America in recent memory?’ he said. When you need to qualify that you’re not belittling a mass shooting that was allegedly meant to target a Jewish school full of children next door to the market, that’s a problem.
De Blasio had previously dismissed the 90 percent spike in hate crimes against Jews in New York City as the work of a ‘right-wing movement’. City Council member Joe Borelli commented in response ‘a simple look at where anti-Semitic hate crimes have occurred just disproves this, unless you count central Brooklyn as the home of a vast right-wing conspiracy.’
De Blasio wasn’t the only one having trouble facing reality. Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted a picture of one of the victims, adding ‘This is heartbreaking. White Supremacy Kills.’ Alerted to the fact that the two perpetrators of the attack were not white, Tlaib deleted the tweet and did not mention the attack again on her personal Twitter page. Her heart may have been broken but only if she could point the finger outside her own tribe.
Jews, who are a reliable Democratic voting base, have to start demanding the change from the politicians on their own side. Facing reality is hard but anything less is accepting anti-Semitism as long as the right people are perpetrating it. Jersey City isn’t a wake-up call, it’s a fire alarm that has been ringing for far too long. Jewish Democrats have to make sure their politicians hear it.