Anti-Israeli tent city at Columbia.

Wake up! US Jewry must act now

US Jews must mobilize for a determined fight against the alarming wave of anti-Semitism and hatred towards Israel

Demonstrations against Israel on American campuses, which began with slogans of "Free Palestine" and developed into crude and shameless anti-Semitism, have had a contagious effect. The toxic social media campaigns, including those that openly or unknowingly support the murderous terrorism of Hamas and advocate wiping Israel off the map, are spreading at an alarming rate. But the enormous commotion that is unfolding hides the truth: most Americans are not anti-Semitic, certainly not Hamas supporters. Many of them, who live between the East Coast and California, don’t even differentiate between Hamas and hummus.
Polls still show broad support for Israel, even if it has eroded among young people. Congress is mostly pro-Israel, with the exception of a relatively small group on the radical side of the Democratic Party. The administration, despite its justified criticism of the Netanyahu government and his extremists, still supports Israel with weapons and armament systems and provides a political umbrella in international institutions. But - what will happen in a decade or two, when the angry young people take key positions?
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מתחם האוהלים של המחאה ה פרו פלסטינית ב אוניברסיטת קולומביה 24.4.24 מלחמת עזה
מתחם האוהלים של המחאה ה פרו פלסטינית ב אוניברסיטת קולומביה 24.4.24 מלחמת עזה
Anti-Israeli tent city at Columbia.
(Photo: REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs)
Israel, immersed in the destruction caused by the war, and under a failed government, is doing nothing about this issue. Here and there, some politician is shocked and suggests "doing something"; from time to time, the Israeli media brings alarming images from a stormy campus, and interviews frightened Israeli students, or Noa Tishby. The chance that the Netanyahu government will establish a significant task force to fight the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic wave in the U.S. is smaller than the chance that Netanyahu will suddenly resign on his own will.
Therefore, the Jews in the USA must understand the obvious: you cannot trust the State of Israel to save you from the rampant anti-Semitism. Wake up, before it's too late. Wake up, for you and for us. For your children and for our children. In a different time, with a different government, there could have been a joint war waged by the Israeli government and the Jewish organizations, but as an Israeli, I sadly say to my brothers and sisters in America - in this government, there is no one to talk to, no one to cooperate with.
The hope that the wave will pass or subside by itself is not rational. Sitting on the fence, trying to close your eyes, to ignore the situation - will not work. What do American Jews need to do and what can they do? A lot more. They cannot leave the war to stubborn social warriors like Bill Ackman, or to Prof. Shai Davidai who fought almost alone against the Hamas supporters at Columbia University. Even sporadic announcements about stopping donations to prestigious universities will not make the difference. So far, they are more infuriating than deterring. The big Jewish organizations must get out of their comfort zone and establish a joint task force, allocate the necessary resources to it, and start fighting.
This should be an all-out, determined war, on all fronts.
There is a need to mobilize the political forces in Washington, among the administration and Congress, state governors and mayors, and of course in the universities themselves, so that they will act by all legal means against all manifestations of anti-Semitism, hatred of Israel, and support for terrorism.
There must be a demand from law enforcement to take measures against any racist incitement and against any organization that facilitates hate crimes and anti-Semitism, especially those that deteriorate to violence. If necessary, those involved should face personal and class action lawsuits.
It is necessary to establish a group of online and content experts that will respond in real-time to any anti-Semitic or anti-Israel lies and distortions and provide facts, voices, and images worthy of a poignant but fair public discussion. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok, the hardest of all, should not be left to the haters and lunatics.
There must be an intensive dialogue with newspapers and all media about the narratives of the events in the Middle East and the USA itself. Background materials, commentators, and appropriate speakers should be made available. Even in the age of social media, the front page of the New York Times and the news broadcasts on television channels are important.
The war will be difficult and arduous, sometimes frustrating in the face of hypocrisy and stupidity, but it is a containment battle that could not be more important to American Jews, and it is of course also essential to Israel. In these terrible days - we put our trust in you.
Yoel Esteron is Calcalist's publisher and co-founder of Shomrim.