In just two weeks, three separate Jewish cemeteries across the country faced vandalism and damages. Now, you know anti-Semitism in America has gotten bad when even Breitbart News is covering it.
In the past two months over 100 bomb threats have been made at 88 different Jewish Centers in 33 states across America. On Friday, the FBI arrested Juan M. Thompson, a disgruntled former journalist for making threats against Jewish centers as a means of getting back at his ex-girlfriend. In light of the arrest, FBI officials were quick to point out that Thompson was a "copycat" and was not responsible for the bulk of the threats across the country.
Threats such as, "There is a bomb in one of the children's backpacks, and it's going to detonate shortly." Or, "The Jews will be decimated," and "C-4 bomb has been placed in the JCC, and a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered."
Now, to date, no actual devices have been found, however, for the ones involved in making the threats their intentions have been wildly successful. Because the truth is every threat must be taken seriously because no one wants to take a chance of dismissing a threat and it end up being real.
For the ones who are making the threats, their goal is to instill fear and cause disruption to the Jewish communities. Those are the same intentions as the people vandalizing the Jewish cemeteries. Unfortunately, for every one that only desires to bully and harass the Jewish community, there are others like Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, of SC. McDowell was arrested after he purchased a firearm from an undercover FBI agent. A gun he said he planned to use in a "Dylann Roof style" attack. McDowell told the undercover FBI agent, he couldn't decide if he wanted to commit this violent mass murder against "a group of blacks" or at Temple Emanu-El, a conservative synagogue in Myrtle Beach.
I remember almost two years ago, when antisemitism was on the rise in Europe, and I started wearing a Yarmulke all the time in public, my wife expressed concern for my safety., especially, when I wore it at work. She felt like being a Jewish cop made me a doubly attractive target to hateful, racist anti-government militia groups. I told her, "it just is what it is." Because for me, it would be very easy to hide my Jewishness. I don't look anything like a stereotypical Jew, nor does my last name sound Jewish at all.
However, I told her what kind of person would I be, if I hid who I was out of fear? What about all the others, that these same type of hate groups loathe as well, who cannot hide their skin color or prominent ethnic features? I either do what I can to stand with them, or I mind as well be no better than the groups than hate them.
Now, truth be told, antisemitism isn't anything new. During the Middle-Ages, the Roman Catholic Church decided that the Jewish people collectively were responsible for killing Jesus. The fact that it was indeed, Jewish authorities that charged Jesus with blasphemy, however it was Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who ordered his Crucifixion, didn’t stop the Roman Catholic form ordering expulsions, forced conversions and massacres of Jews.
The persecution of the Jews during the Middle Ages hit its peak during the First and Second Crusades. Then the Jews in Europe got blamed for the Black Plague in the 14th Century and in 1348, nine-hundred Jews were burned alive in Strasbourg because the people said they had caused the plague by poisoning the wells. Then, of course, there was the murder of 6,000,000 million Jews during World War II by the hands of Nazi Germany. In an example of the irony of how stupid it is to hate other groups of people, thousands of Roman Catholics ended up losing their lives in Nazi concentration camps alongside the Jews during World War II.
In fact, the truth behind many Jewish stereotypes arrives from persecution and prejudice. The idea that the Jews control Hollywood comes from the fact that many European Jewish immigrants in the early 20th Century came to America to seek refuge from the persecutions going on in Europe. At the time, the film industry was new, and no one realized the potential for which it would ultimately end up. So, for many Jewish immigrants, Hollywood and the film industry just represented an employment sector where Jews could find work. This is the same reason why almost every famous comic book superhero was created by Jewish artist and authors.
The casting of Jews controlling finances and banking goes all the way back to the 14th Century. During the Middle Ages, Jews were prohibited from nearly every trade. In response, Jews formed the economic niche as being moneylenders. At the time, the Catholic Church forbid charging interest on loans. However, Catholic canon law only applied to Christians, and not Jews. So Catholic nobility could use the Jews as bankers and loan officers to collect interest on loans, skirting around Catholic edict at the time. Because the rulers of the Middle-Ages used the Jews as their bankers, Jews role to positions close to the monarchs hence the still present stereotype of Jews controlling politics.
Now, I do not consider, historical or modern anti-Semitism, to afford me any extra sympathy from anyone, nor do I seek any condolences. Frankly, our story isn’t any more tragic than Black Africans, Native Americans, Muslims, Christians, or any and virtually all, groups who have found themselves in the position of being a minority within a society’s populous. However, there is a couple of things I’ve learned over the years from studying my ethnic persecutions, that ultimately are relevant to any group that others desire to subjugate.
First, To the individuals who hate us Jews, I have to wonder, have you ever met a Jew? We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You have a diverse range of religiously observant Jews, such as Orthodox, Conservative, or the manner in which I find my faith which is liberal Reform Judaism. You have ethnic Jews, who aren’t religious at all. You have Black Jews, like Whoopi Goldberg, Lenny Kravitz, Sammy Davis Jr., or Drake. Which maybe isn’t a good example, since most hate groups are none too fond of dark skinned people either.
Ok, well how about others like Marilyn Monroe, Paula Abdul, Harrison Ford, or even Ivanka Trump. There are wealthy Jews, like Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerburg, Michael Bloomberg, or Ivanka Trump (again). Then there are poor Jews, like me. There is a whole Jewish smorgasbord in this world. There will be some Jews you don’t like. However, there is probably a whole lot of Jews you would like if you met them. If even one Jew has done something you don’t like, that doesn’t mean all of us are just like that person. You don’t have to hate all of us. The entire group of Jewish people hasn't injured or wronged you.
Lastly, one significant thing I’ve learned in studying history can be summed up by the Jimi Hendrix song, “Castles Made of Sand.” Basically, “Castles made of sand, fall in the sea eventually.” Starting at the beginning of human history, you can find that every class of people has suffered some persecution at the hands of another class of individuals at one point or another. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what place any group of people find themselves in at any given time, their place of significance will not last forever. Eventually, it could be your great-great-great-grandkids who are on the receiving end of the persecution. Or maybe five-hundred-years later you could find your group in the same place that the Catholics found themselves in when they were forced into concentration camps with the same Jewish people they set out to exterminate many years prior.
Essentially, the only way we stop any of this abysmal and depressing cycle of human suffering is if we just choose to stop persecuting others. So if these neo-Nazi, white supremacist or hate groups actually care about protecting the survival of their ethnicity, then that depends on getting along and NOT hating other people. Because the idea that you can exterminate all the Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, etc. is not some new theme in human history. It has been tried over and over to no avail. So at some point, maybe you have to consider we ALL are in this world together for a reason. Let’s just decide to get along then and stop all the stupid hate.