Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

It's real, it's here-face it

 


You would think by this point in the 21st century we would have learned. But we delude ourselves into thinking it doesn’t exist. It does. Anti-Semitism is alive and well and growing—right here in the good old U.S. of A. There was a wave of positive enthusiasm when President Obama was elected—that we were entering a “post racial” era. The truth is the opposite.

There is a wonderful song from the show “South Pacific” titled “You’ve Got to be Taught to Hate.” It’s true. We thought that racism in general and anti-Semitism in particular was “generational” and would disappear as our population became more educated and integrated. It looked for a while that was happening—but if anything, it is growing—and not organically.

I have often written about “The Other”—those that are blamed by those who feel threatened or disenfranchised or just plain angry. They take that anger and turn it against a target. And that target is “The Other.” And high on that list are the Jews.

There has been a huge change in the profile of American business. Old, semi-skilled jobs are disappearing. Factories are becoming more and more automated. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics—this trend will only accelerate.

Many young people, tagged as “Millenials” saw their parents’ dreams disappear in 2007-2008. God Bless these young people—most are moving on with their lives. But their parents? Especially those in the hard hit areas—the Old South, the Rust Belt—they are not. The jobs they held no longer exist. In others this trend of automation, artificial intelligence and a number of other innovations mean that many professions can get along with a much smaller work force.

So—who do you blame? It’s not their fault. Not their neighbor’s fault. Who do you blame? (Okay—I’m about to get political—so if you want to leave, I understand).

Donald Trump ran for the Republican Nomination by promising to “Make America Great Again.” He had no details. He was going to bring jobs back from “Foreigners.” He promised an era of prosperity and that it was the fault of “others” and that things were going to be like they used to be.

Look—“they” were banning the Confederate flag. “They” were coming in from overseas and “taking American jobs.” “They” had stifled business by putting in laws that cleaned the air, acknowledged Climate Change, tried to reform the banks. He told these angry or frustrated or confused people that he could bring jobs back from “Overseas” and prevent “Them” from taking everything from them that they deserved.

Who are “They”?

Well, the campaign is sophisticated and in many ways brilliant. First, discredit the “MSM”—mainstream media. Do our newspapers and television news programs have some bias? Of course—they are human. BUT—for the most part the opinions stay on the opinion page.

MSNBC is not a news network, although it does carry all the news—it is for the most part a group of liberal show hosts. Fox is also for the most part not a news network—they feature for the most part a group of Conservative show hosts.

The difference is that Fox has joined a chorus of websites and podcasts and other social media outlets to portray another America. Where differences are not acceptable. The fear of The Other is prevalent at all times. Breitbart news is the most egregious. Are they anti-Semitic? Are their stories overtly racist? Not quite. But that’s where the “beauty” comes in. They don’t have to be. Their followers and other frustrated and angry people take the cue that it’s all right to be crass and disrespectful and blame the “other and you have a drunken bar patron shooting an Indian native working in an American Business dead. You have literally hundreds of bomb threats at synagogues, JCCs and the like every other week.

This does not come from nowhere. It has to be fomented and given permission. All restraints are off. Neo-Nazi and other White Supremacists groups are emboldened by what they see is an opportunity to tell people that it is obviously all right to be openly against anyone different than themselves.

The gloves are off. The “market” is ripe to blame the Other. The president of the United States says it is all right. He governs by Twitter. His minions rise to the bait and there are more swastikas appearing on Jewish garage doors and in school buses. This does not come from nowhere. It has to be encouraged and applauded. Twelve feet from the Oval Office sits a self-declared “Leninist.”

The president of the United States is not anti-Semitic. Probably neither is Steve Bannon. They don’t have to be. Their rhetoric encourages these actions which has collateral damage and some of that is us.

 

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