Not since the Holocaust have so many Jews been murdered in a single day.
Parents executed in front of their children. Mothers, babies, and grandparents kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip. Families opening Facebook to find a video of their grandmother murdered in cold blood, uploaded to her own page by her killer. Babies reportedly beheaded.
And as if this unspeakable trauma inflicted on the Jewish people wasn’t enough, antisemites the world over have taken their cue from Hamas’ barbarism and kicked into full swing.
Not only are Jewish communities reeling from an attack that, as of writing, has left a death toll that, if adjusted by population, would be 45,000 Americans dead, but they now find themselves facing a barrage of antisemitism from those willing to exploit a foreign conflict as an excuse to torment their fellow Jewish citizens.
On Monday, at a Sydney, Australia, pro-Palestinian rally in response to the violence in Israel, protesters chanted, “Gas the Jews” and “Fuck the Jews.” The coming days saw a dramatic spike in anti-Jewish hatred that has already led to one arrest and left Australian Jewry shocked and feeling vulnerable, prompting police to increase their presence around the Jewish community in Melbourne, home to around half of the country’s Jews.
“Whenever a major violent conflagration breaks out between Israel and the Palestinians, a global explosion of anti-Jewish hatred is bound to follow.”
To my knowledge, there were no calls to gas Jews at a pro-Palestinian rally the day before in Manhattan. But there was outright celebration of Hamas’ massacre of 260 people at a music festival in southern Israel, where, according to one survivor, women were raped next to their dead friends’ corpses. “As you might have seen, there was some sort of rave or desert party where they were having a great time, until the resistance came in electrified hang gliders and took at least several dozen hipsters,” the speaker said to a delighted crowd.
Similarly repulsive antisemitism was rife on Telegram too, with the first 18 hours of Saturday witnessing a reported 488 percent jump from the day before in the number of extremist messages calling “for violence against Jews, Israelis and Zionists,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. Since Hamas’ attack, Jewish communities nationwide have gone on high alert, with President Joe Biden announcing on Wednesday that he was stepping up security for American Jewry.
In the United Kingdom, the number of reported antisemitic incidents since Saturday’s attack has tripled compared with this time last year, according to the Community Security Trust (CST), which aids British Jewry in security and antisemitism matters.
Along with other nations across Europe, British police have had to up their presence in Jewish areas, while some Jewish schools have told students not to wear their uniform in public, so as to avoid being identified as Jewish. On Thursday evening, three Jewish schools in London told parents they were closing until Monday “in the interests of the safety of our precious children.” Disturbingly, CST director of policy Dave Rich believes the rate of antisemitic incidents “is likely to increase further.”
None of this comes as a surprise—at least, not to those who have been paying attention.
Whenever a major violent conflagration breaks out between Israel and the Palestinians, a global explosion of anti-Jewish hatred is bound to follow. And while those harassing Jews in the name of “liberating Palestine” or openly cheering on the genocidal death cult that is Hamas may be quick to blame Israel for their anger, it is but a mere deflection. It isn’t about Israel. It never has been.
The antisemite always has a rationale for their hatred of Jews.
For Christians in medieval Europe, Jews were Christ-killers. In Nazi Germany, they were polluters of the Aryan race. For antisemites on today’s political Left, Jews are the embodiment of white privilege, and Israel is the last remaining bastion of European colonialism in the Middle East. Antisemites within Muslim and Arab communities, meanwhile, have brought along their own toxic concoction of anti-Jewish sentiment—one that was on full display at the protest in Sydney.
After its founding in 1948, Israel became but another excuse to target Jews. It matters little whether they live in Israel (around half of the world’s Jews are not Israeli citizens) or have never even visited the Jewish state. After all, what other minority group is targeted and held responsible for the actions of a nation state to which they may not even have any connection?
Such was the logic of the men calling to gas Jews at a rally that was purportedly aimed at demonstrating solidarity with the Palestinian people. If they wanted to protest against the Israeli government, they could have. If they wanted to show their love for Palestinians, they could have done that, too. But instead, they called for the murder of Jews.
World Jewry has seen this play before. We know all too well what comes next.