The recent defacement of Carmel’s Congregation Shaarey Tefilla with swastikas and iron crosses has galvanized supporters of a proposed statewide hate crimes law who argue that it will reduce the likelihood of future anti-Semitic hate crimes. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that such a law will address a key related issue—that there exists politically acceptable and unacceptable forms of Jew hatred.
Politically unacceptable anti-Semitism, which everyone is encouraged to denounce, originates from the political right and includes white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Although anti-Semites of this ilk commonly use swastika imagery, this by no means confirms that the CST vandals were far right nationalists. Far left and Muslim activists have for years used the swastika to try and tar Israel and Jews as the “new” Nazis.
As repulsive as neo-Nazism is, by far the most prevalent and dangerous form of Jew hatred locally and globally is the kind that many individuals work hard to overlook. It originates from the progressive left, key Muslim organizations, or an alliance between the two. This type of anti-Semitism literally threatens the lives of Jews in Israel and Europe and in America seeks to foment hatred and delegitimization of Jews and Israel on college campuses, in certain media circles, in affiliated political movements and self-proclaimed human rights organizations and elsewhere. Unfortunately, many groups who claim to advocate on behalf of the Jewish community prefer to minimize or ignore such Jew hatred (or occasionally even ally themselves with these anti-Semites) for politically expedient reasons.
A local example of this involves the Islamic Society of North America, which is located in Plainfield and is the largest Muslim umbrella group in the U.S. According to documents captured by the FBI, ISNA was founded by the Jew and America-hating Muslim Brotherhood group. For years, ISNA has included anti-Semitic speakers and paraphernalia at its annual convention. Its 2018 conference will include the notorious Jew haters Linda Sarsour and Hatem Bazian, both of whom are leaders in the Muslim/far left alliance. For years, we have warned local Jewish groups about ISNA’s nefarious behavior but to no avail.
We want to assure the Indianapolis community that our organization will work hard to ensure that any future hate crimes legislation will be crafted to be an effective deterrent against all types of anti-Semitism.
Elliot Bartky, Ph.D, president,
Allon Friedman, M.D., vice president
Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana