The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), alongside many individuals and institutions, condemns the brutal antisemitic mass murder carried out at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Shabbat. As Professor Elie Wiesel warned, antisemitism is not a Jewish parochial issue. Antisemitism begins with Jews, but it never ends with Jews. Once this virulent form of hatred is unleashed upon society, it knows no boundaries. It attacks sectors of society and the very institutions and practices designed to protect all citizens. Combatting all forms of antisemitism is a matter of basic human decency, human rights and the rule of law.
ISGAP calls upon political, religious and civic leaders, as well as journalists and scholars, to begin to have an informed public discussion about the ideology and discourse of antisemitism; issues that are rarely assessed. Given the challenges we face in the United States and internationally, we need to move beyond descriptive comments and place these changing dynamics into a context of analysis, with deeper understanding.
In the United States, there must be a broader understanding regarding the historic ties between antisemitism and white supremacy and white nationalism. Current strands of antisemitism in the US are associated with extreme nationalism, xenophobia, racism and white supremacy. In addition, there also must be an open debate regarding the implications of antisemitism on the extreme left, and how the demonization of Israel and Jewish Peoplehood impact contemporary antisemitism in US society, including some of its institutions of higher education and the media of record. We also need to understand the implications of the alliance that has been formed with the extreme left in Europe and North America, with reactionary movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Revolutionary Regime.
Nazi inspired conspiratorial antisemitism has become widespread in sectors of the Middle East, and within some Muslim communities throughout the world, including the West. The influential Muslim Brotherhood, for example, adopted as a core element of its ideology, European antisemitism based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forged document that paved the way to the Holocaust. Later, the Muslim Brotherhood incorporated Nazi notions of antisemitism. This form of antisemitism is mainstream in much of the Middle East and Turkey for example. As Professor Elie Wiesel warned: while these social movements call for the death of the Jewish People and the destruction of Israel, they kill and murder thousands upon thousands of their Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria, Iraq, Northern Nigeria, and beyond.
Too many leaders, scholars and journalist do not pay attention or understand these deadly and dangerous connections. Some willfully turn a blind eye – for short term gain or for ideological convenience – in the political, economic and
geo-strategic arena. Leaders must understand these historical, ideological and political connections, and in doing so, begin to contextualize the horrific murders that took place in Pittsburgh. Universities across the country must take a leadership role and create courses on contemporary antisemitism, and pertinent research projects, so to ensure that our future leaders, policy makers, and journalists can identify current manifestations of antisemitism and know how to confront it without hesitation and with effectiveness. As a society we must develop a deep contextualized assessment and understanding of this virulent form of hatred. Then, with knowledge, we must create effective policies to combat this “Longest Hatred.” Too many people are being killed and displaced by reactionary movements that use antisemitism as a core element of its ideology.