So how many antisemites do we have to deal with this week? In my inbox, seven new ones! I name them as more warnings — while we’re observing the third anniversary of the horrifying attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, my home city. In Judaism, we’re encouraged to engrave good things upon our hearts. But — oh so sadly these days, we have to engrave the terrible ones as well.
So here they are:
Andrew Torba: founder and CEO of Gab, a social media platform embraced by neo-Nazis and other extremists, including Robert Bowers, killer at the Tree of Life… (BTW: Gab says “We’re building a parallel Christian society because we are fed up and done with the Judeo-Bolshevic one…)
Fritz Berggren: actually a mid-ranking Foreign Service Office in the Department of State. He asks: “They murdered Jesus Christ, so how can they be God’s chosen?”
Anuradha Mittal: the bigot behind the Ben & Jerry’s boycott on Israel. From a position on that company’s Foundation, she uses money to fund antisemitic and Palestinian terrorist groups.
Rafael Shimunov: called by extremist antisemitic groups “a self-loathing Jew, a useful idiot…”
Cynthia McKinney, Ph.D.: a former Georgia Democratic congresswoman who accuses Jews of being behind the 9/11 terror attack, she has personally met with Hamas groups and tried to help breach the Israel naval blockade.
CJ Werleman: An Australian who uses YouTube and Twitter to post antisemitic lies about “horrific” Israeli behavior.
Mia Khalifa: A Lebanese-American former porn star who has faked a photo on Instagram showing an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at a Palestinian child. When Israeli-American Hollywood star Gal Gadot took to Instagram and posted a message condemning the violent conflict initiated by Hamas and calling for peace, Khalifa called Gadot “Genocide Barbie” and falsely insinuated that Jews are committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. One of her anti-Israel tweets criticized President Biden, but contained the words “Send tweet,” which made it clear that she was instructed — and most likely paid — to do this.
Gadot responded: “My heart breaks. My country is at war. I worry for my family, my friends. I worry for my people. This is a vicious cycle that has been going on for far too long. Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation. Our neighbors desire the same. I pray for the victims and their families; I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end; I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we could live side by side in peace. I pray for better days.”
I once had a friend — now too long gone — who spent years as head of the Anti-Defamation League in St. Louis. At his retirement, he commented that his had been a strange and lengthy career “in the paranoia business.” But this is not paranoia today — we see its real existence everywhere. So, I proudly wear my t-shirts from three different Holocaust museums in three very different cities: Pittsburgh, Chicago and, of course, Dallas; I hope they attract attention and challenge everyone to “be Upstanders, not Bystanders,” and work hard to wipe out the plague of hate that killed us three years ago. Our country must be better than this. My hope: Just maybe we can join Black Americans in their current movements toward equality, and ask them to stand with us in our efforts to protect Judaism? In unity, there is strength.
Harriet Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org