Politics & Media
Jan 01, 2024, 06:24AM

Support Peaceful Free Expression

Stand up to the angry mob. 

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Now is a terrifying time to be Jewish. I’m not Jewish, yet, but most of my friends are. In recent months I’ve attended services at a local synagogue. I went to escape the rampant anti-Semitism around me and be in solidarity with Jews as they’re under attack. In conversation with Jewish friends in the US and Israel, and in the calm communion of that sacred space, I’ve begun to explore if I may be Jewish myself. I’ve always identified with the Jewish people, ever since I was a kid reading the literature that came out of concentration camps. Now I find myself most at home in the Jewish community, where I’m grateful to have found warmth and kindness.

I’ve listened to my American Jewish friends as they face a new level of a familiar fear. The week before Christmas, more than 400 Jewish facilities received bomb threats. A falafel shop in my own city of Philadelphia was the target of a “protest” that would better be called a riot just a few weeks ago. Its crime? It’s owned by an Israeli.

I walk down the street in my “progressive” neighborhood and hear people in casual conversation say that Israel should be wiped off the map. While some make the bizarre claim that calling for the destruction of the world’s only majority Jewish state is not anti-Semitism, it’s hard to imagine that these people want to kill all of the Jews in Israel but it’s perfectly safe to be the Jew next door.

We should have no illusions that those of us who aren’t Jewish are safe. Perhaps you weren’t stuck in traffic as “protesters” blocked the way to Los Angeles International Airport, New York’s JFK, and Chicago’s O’Hare airport as holiday travelers were trying to get to their flights. You may not have been in New York City when rioters with their faces covered attempted to “cancel” Christmas. But it’d be hard to miss that violence in the streets is becoming normal.

While there are many who genuinely care about civilian deaths, and some who’ve followed these issues for a long time or have family in the region, most of these rioters never gave any thought to the Middle East before Israel became the new fashionable target for hatred.

TikTok videos have whipped the mob into a frenzy, but they didn’t riot over civilian deaths before. The angry mob was nowhere to be found when civilians were killed in Yemen, Syria and on Christmas Eve when Christians were massacred in Nigeria. They haven’t taken to the streets to demand that Russia be destroyed for stealing more than 19,000 Ukrainian children from their families. Their target is Jews.

When the angry mob glorifies Hamas-style violence, including raping women in ways that are almost too brutal for words as this New York Times investigative report reveals, they’re sending a message. When they rejoice in “resistance by any means necessary,” we in America should be alarmed and afraid. Will those who support Hamas employ similar tactics here in the US?

Those who hate Israel will not stop at silencing Jews. Their rhetoric of hate is aimed at America, the very America that protects their freedom to express their identities in ways that would quickly result in death or worse under Hamas. I support their right to free, peaceful expression. Not riots. Not violence.

It’s time for sane people to stand up to the angry mob. If we want to protect America as a country of laws, freedoms, and basic safety, we can’t stand by silently and watch angry mobs take over our highways and public squares and threaten Jewish students on college campuses. The angry mob becomes emboldened every time they get away with breaking the law, harassing Jews, and disturbing the peace. Don’t wait until their riots escalate.

Your voice matters. Support political candidates who’ll enforce the laws of this country equally, and who pledge to protect Jews in America. Call your friends and acquaintances out on anti-Semitic statements. Challenge those who support terrorist organizations.   We can’t let our voices be drowned out.

Stand up to the angry mob. The majority, however quiet, stands behind you.

  • I suspect people will think I am making this up, but when I regularly socialized with DC's liberal Democrat LGBT community, many of whom were my real estate customers, I had a gay woman who was a John Edwards delegate tell me she wished someone would nuke Israel because its existence just made American politics too messy, especially for Democrats.

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