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Blaming Trump for the Pittsburgh massacre downplays the scale of anti-Semitism today

Blaming Trump for the Pittsburgh massacre downplays the scale of anti-Semitism today

Date Published: 
Monday, 29 October, 2018
Summary: 

It presents violent anti-Semitism as yet another thing unleashed, or at least intensified, by Trump and by the political turn of the past two years. And this dangerously distracts public attention – purposefully, I suspect – from the fact that anti-Semitism has been growing and becoming increasingly militarised for more than a decade now, among the left as well as the right and within Muslim communities, too.

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After all, where was their rage, their concern about rhetoric, their existential handwringing over hateful ideas and hateful language, back when anti-Semitism was deepening and militarising pre-2016, pre-Trump, most notably in Europe? Back when four Jews were slaughtered at a deli in Paris in 2015. Or when a gunman attacked the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen in 2015, during a bat mitzvah, killing one. Or during the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, in which a rabbi and three children were murdered. A fourth child, an eight-year-old girl, was almost murdered: the anti-Semitic perpetrator grabbed her by her hair and pushed his gun into her face but it jammed when he pulled the trigger. He wanted to shoot her in the face for the crime of being Jewish.

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One problem, of course, is that many of these attacks – notably the deli massacre, the Toulouse massacre, and the attempted Copenhagen synagogue massacre – were executed by radicalised Muslims. And we don’t criticise them too harshly, right? That would be a form of Islamophobia. It has in recent years been treated virtually as ‘Islamophobic’ to focus too much on the growth of militarised anti-Semitism in 21st-century Europe.