Longtime watchdogs of antisemitism say there is nothing new about the kinds of derogatory comments about Jews that the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, former president Donald Trump, sundry far-right political candidates and others have made in recent weeks.
But what has struck some experts is how blatant the comments about Jews are at a time when incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence against them have been at their highest levels since at least the 1970s. Recent data already showed that a majority of American Jews fear violence against them.
“Empirically, something is different. The level of public animosity towards Jews is higher than it’s been in recent memory,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an interview.
Experts said the climate is the product of a stew of forces including a digital culture that spreads misinformation and hate and right-wing political forces focused on protecting White Christians’ status. Some said current antisemitism is also aggravated by more people downplaying it as merely an interreligious issue instead of a dangerous form of racism; in the past majorities from Germany to America made clear they saw Jews as a distinct and inferior race. [Continue reading…]