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Column: Attacks on Jews over Israel are a gift to the right

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Violence between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East is often accompanied by spikes in antisemitic activity in the United States, but what’s happened over the last week or so has been different.

As Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, put it to me, Jewish organizations are somewhat inured to, say, pro-Palestinian graffiti on a synagogue following a protest. What’s new, and more reminiscent of the sort of antisemitic aggression common in Europe, are flagrant public assaults on Jews — sometimes in broad daylight — motivated by anti-Zionism.

In Los Angeles, for example, a caravan waving Palestinian flags stopped near a sushi restaurant in West Hollywood, where men got out and attacked diners sitting outside. A witness recalled them asking, “Who’s Jewish?” In New York, a 29-year-old Jewish man on his way to a pro-Israel rally was beaten and pepper-sprayed by a group of men hurling antisemitic slurs. In southern Florida, men in an SUV reportedly pelted a visiting Jewish family with garbage and shouted: “Free Palestine” and “We’re going to rape your daughter. We’re going to rape your wife.”

What’s distinct about these attacks, said Greenblatt, is “the brazenness and the boldness.”

These apparent hate crimes are, first and foremost, a catastrophe for Jewish people in the United States, who have just endured four years of spiking........

© Chicago Tribune

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