Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 11, 2019
On the heels of yet another act of anti-Semitic violence, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Wednesday, December 11 before a group of bi-partisan supporters of that order, in the White House, that protects against “anti-Semitic discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.”
The Executive Order pertaining to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes potential recriminations against colleges and universities that receive federal funding. Those colleges and universities not protecting students, faculty, and staff on campus subjected to anti-Semitism risk losing that federal funding.
In recent years there has been growing support on myriad campuses for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement as well as illogically referring to Israel as an apartheid state. While this growing support for the BDS Movement is creating a toxic atmosphere on numerous campuses, Congress for the most part, opposes BDS on a bi-partisan basis.
However, 16 Democrats in Congress voted in favor of legislation supporting the BDS Movement, going so far to ignorantly, and with more than a modicum of chutzpah, compared support for Israel to support for Nazi Germany. Those Democrats are:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon
Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana
Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan
Rep. Jesús G. "Chuy" García of Illinois
Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington
Rep. Barbara Lee of California
Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota
Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine
Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin
Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois
Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey
“The vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears,” said Trump.
Anti-Semitism has been on a sharp incline throughout this decade, particularly on college campuses. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tracks acts of anti-Semitism on college campuses among other venues. In 2017, there were 204 reported acts of anti-Semitism on campuses, and 201 in 2018.
The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service has facilitated 17 forums since September 2018 focused on protecting houses of worship and preventing hate crimes. One such forum was held at my synagogue, the site of an anti-Semitic crime. Fortunately, no one suffered any physical injuries, unlike the recent spate of synagogue shootings in the last 14 months. On October 27, 2018 at the Tree of Life - Or L’Simcha Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh an attack during Shabbat services saw 11 congregants murdered in the worst anti-Semitic attack in United States history. Of the six others injured, four were police officers. Six months later, to the day, on April 27, 2019, the last day of Passover, also on Shabbat, one congregant was murdered, and three others injured at the Chabad of Poway, CA, north of San Diego.
Hopefully the Executive Order which pertains to venues both on and off campus, will help stem the tide of anti-Semitic crimes. This Executive Order received praise from the ADL, American Jewish Committee, World Jewish Congress, and the Zionist Organization of America - running the gamut from left to right.
The anti-Semitic violence referenced above, occured one day prior to the already scheduled Executive Order signed by President Trump. Four people were murdered in Jersey City - three at the JC Kosher Supermarket on Martin Luther King Drive, and near a cemetery in Jersey City, a police detective, Joseph Seals, 40, a 15 year veteran of the force, and the married father of five children.
With the winter holiday season of Chanukah and Christmas right around the corner, perhaps some good cheer, good wishes, and good will to all mankind are absolutely in order.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.