Once again the country is spellbound by a series of fake hate crimes, while at the same time, refusing to hear the truth about real hatreds. To paraphrase Napoleon in Animal Farm, some types of hate are more equal than others.
It makes me think of the time I was the victim of what today would be called a hate crime. I didn’t think of it as one at the time because no such concept existed in 1979. I have never written about this, and seldom discuss it. It was something someone stupid did a long time ago. I hate to talk about it.
In my senior year of high school, someone scratched a swastika onto my locker. I didn’t report it to the office, there was nothing they could do about it. Schools in 1979 didn’t have security cameras, or security officers. Reporting it seemed a waste of time. Some of my friends were upset. One of them told a teacher; he was furious. And that was the sum of the reactions.
I didn’t like it, and I didn’t want to think about it or talk about it. I certainly didn’t want the local CBS News affiliate showing up and sticking cameras in my face. That would have been so embarrassing, like totally. I chalked it off to someone stoned or drunk being an idiot. It was the ’70s. The secret to survival in the ’70s was avoiding harm at the hands of the stoned or drunk.
What I did not think was to look for Nazis under my bed. I didn’t think the country hated Jews or even my school hated Jews. One stoned imbecile was not America, and was no reflection on America.
A year later a pickup artist tried to flatter me by saying I was brave for wearing a Star of David, on a college campus, in 1980. I was confused, not flattered. Even after the hate crime I didn’t know was a hate crime, I’d never felt threatened being a Jew in America.
America is where Jews flee for safety. My mother told me the story of her Polish-born father learning what became of the cousins he left behind before World War II. It was the only time my mother ever saw her father cry. My grandfather gave up home, family, language and even his name so his children and grandchildren would be safe from Europe’s centuries of anti-Semitism. And I was safe, and felt safe.
But now I wonder. Today it is my son who is in college. He doesn’t wear jewelry and his head covering only reflects his love for the San Diego Padres. I wonder would he be safe on a college campus wearing a Kippah.
For the 21st century college student, the ancient commie Bernie is their bro. Bernie Sanders who, despite his name, supports Hamas and condemns Israel for daring to engage in self defense. Sanders who, like his benefactor George Soros, has abandoned the Jewish faith and would punish the only nation on earth dedicated to that faith’s protection.
The Palestinian-led BDS movement (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction—Israel, of course) is the cause du jour on the 21st-century college campus. Students have been taught a mythology of an apartheid Israel and the suffering Arabs. Those of us actually alive during the 1972 Olympics recognize this is completely insane. Throughout this century, hatred toward Jews and Israel on college and university campuses has been growing. I know I would never let my son set foot on the City University of New York campus. There, being a Conservative Jew is a crime.
And now there are two openly Jew-hating women in the United States Congress. We know that Jews are always the first test of a societies true tolerance. But Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is the cobra in the grass. One, or two, little anti-Semites in Congress and the Democrats figure no one will notice. One or two cobras in the grass, what could happen?
Americans are not bigots; Americans are not ruled by hate. Americans are good people, warm and welcoming. But Americans have been too welcoming and have invited in a nest of cobras. We need a mongoose, right away!
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