Stop equating antisemitism and Islamophobia in public pronouncements

The destruction caused by Hamas terrorists who overran Kibbutz Be’eri, near Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip, Oct. 14, 2023. Photo by Omer Fichman/Flash90.

By Mitchell Bard

(JNS) — Joe Biden has been the best friend Israel has ever had in wartime (so far, and I’ll address that in a future column). His pro-Israel stance was epitomized by his Oval Office speech that resonated with the nation. Still, there’s one aspect I’d like to address separately, as it wasn’t directly related to the ongoing conflict.

Jews are in mourning. ZAKA members are literally picking up the pieces of Israelis and others massacred on Oct. 7. Funerals are held daily. More than 200 people, including Americans and other nationals, remain hostages; some are already dead, others badly injured or ill, and soldiers possibly tortured. There should be no reference to threats against anyone but the Jews, who alone are hunted worldwide and murdered only for being Jews.

The paroxysm of antisemitism around the world (did you see the 100,000 Londoners supporting the jihad against the Jews over the weekend?) is nothing like we have ever seen before. And we are seeing the same thing in communities and on college campuses across the country.

At this moment, our unwavering attention must be on the Jewish community, which faces an unparalleled threat worldwide simply because of their identity. Yet in his address, Biden twice equated antisemitism in the United States with Islamophobia. He made the same mistake in his U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism when he mentioned Islamophobia seven times.

Let’s be clear. There is no equivalence between Islamophobia and antisemitism. Muslims have not been persecuted around the world for thousands of years. No madman devised a “final solution” for all believers of Islam. They have not been subjected to blood libels. They were not scientifically and systematically exterminated.

I don’t need to recite the entire history. You understand.

It is also ironic to group intolerance toward Jews and Muslims, given that rulers in many Muslim lands treated Jews as second-class citizens (dhimmis) or gave them a choice of conversion or death. Today, radical Islamists like Hamas and Hezbollah pose the greatest threat to Jews, inciting hatred for them among their millions of followers and offering those who kill Jews glory and martyrdom.

And the Jews who are now being pilloried for having the audacity to defend themselves do not resort to the behavior or rhetoric of those Muslims. Rabbis do not call from their pulpits for the extermination of Muslims or compare them to apes and pigs. It is Islamist imams who do so regarding Jews. They sermonize that “the Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him’.” This exact quotation appears in Article Seven of the Hamas Covenant.

Unfortunately, there is a prevailing trend in our society to lump different forms of discrimination together, whether driven by guilt or political correctness. The Democrats, for example, would not unequivocally denounce Ilan Omar’s (D-Minn.) antisemitic remarks, instead condemning “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry.” Now, her twin bigot, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), is leading the celebrants of the Hamas massacre. When a reporter asked if she condoned “chopping off babies’ heads,” she ignored him. So far, the Democratic Party has taken no action against her.

Denunciations of antisemitism are diluted when lumped together with other forms of bigotry as the president did in his speech. When a white supremacist murders a black person, do you hear anyone in response say: “We must denounce racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism?

While we must acknowledge the harassment, threats and violence faced by American Muslims as unacceptable, we cannot ignore the glaring disparity in the dangers they face compared to what Jews experience. This is underscored by the FBI’s latest hate-crime statistics, which showed that 55 percent of all religious hate crimes last year were directed at Jews compared with 8 percent targeting Muslims.

Last year, there were six more anti-Islamic incidents than in 2021, compared to 305 more anti-Jewish ones. A total of 1,217 Jews were victims, 348 more than in 2021; 200 Muslims were victims, an increase of 10 from the previous year.

Meanwhile, no one is demanding an end to anti-Sikh discrimination even though more hate crimes (9 percent) were directed at them than Muslims.

Jewish organizations denounced the heinous murder of a Muslim child. What you did not see was Hillels organizing rallies across the country to praise the man who stabbed 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume 26 times in his home the way Students for Justice in Palestine chapters staged demonstrations to glorify Hamas for stabbing, beheading, shooting, raping, dismembering and burning alive 1,400 Jews.

Jews worldwide did not gather in celebration, as antisemites continue to do. No Jewish professor said he was “exhilarated” and “energized” by the killing of Al-Fayoume. And, unlike the response of some administrators towards such behavior, it is unimaginable that any university president would have defended students or professors on free speech or any other grounds if they extolled the murder of a Muslim child.

Would white students be allowed to chant a genocidal ditty like “From the Transvaal to the sea, South African whites should be free”? Would this be just one type of bigotry to be condemned with all others? I suspect the response would be different than the apathy towards antisemites calling for the destruction of the only Jewish state when they shout: “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free.”

There is no longer any masquerade that SJP (Students Justifying Pogroms), BDS (Barbarity, Depravity and Slaughter), JVP (Jewish Voice for Pillagers) and others celebrating Hamas are anything but antisemites.

I am sick of the politically correct woke cowards from the White House down who can’t unequivocally denounce murdering Jews as unconscionable and unjustifiable, label those who defend the killers as antisemitic and do so without referencing any other form of bigotry.

As Biden should say: “Full stop.”

Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including “The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews” and “After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.”