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Op-ed | Hamas unleashes the forces of antisemitism here and around the world

Oct. 31, 2023 By Rabbi Marc Schneier

I just returned from the Republic of Kazakhstan — a most prominent Muslim-majority country in Central Asia, a paradigm of interreligious cooperation, a nation that is supportive of both the State of Israel and the plight of the Palestinian people. 

While in its capital, Astana, I had the distinct honor to meet with Kazakhstan’s top leadership and discuss Israel’s response in Gaza to mass murders committed by Hamas inside southern Israel – the greatest massacre of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust, by an enemy bereft of humanity. 

I explained that I, too, support the plight of the Palestinian people, but let’s make no mistake – Hamas does not represent the political aspirations of the Palestinians, and what we are witnessing is not a  conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Israelis and Arabs, Jews and Muslims.

In the words of President Biden, this is a war between good and evil — a war against a more toxic and a more heinous modern-day ISIS. 

Furthermore, Hamas’s charter not only calls for the destruction of Israel, but for the destruction of the Jewish people worldwide.  

Following my meeting, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev issued a statement repudiating Hamas and expressing Kazakhstan’s repulsion of Hamas’ barbarism and savagery. 

More and more, countries have demonstrated support for Israel, both publicly and privately, against this unadulterated evil. Remarkably, a growing number of Muslim countries have disavowed the unbridled terrorism of Hamas. They have come to recognize the existentialist threat they pose to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, as well as to the values of Western democracy.  

The war against Hamas is also a war against global antisemitism. 

Rabbi Marc Schneier

Rabbi Marc Schneier

In the days following Hamas’ atrocities on Oct. 7 in southern Israel, Jewish communities around the world have been threatened and targeted by antisemitic attacks. 

The Anti-Defamation League, across the United States, has reported that antisemitic incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault have increased nearly 400% since the Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians.  

In Austria, 76 antisemitic incidents have occurred since Oct. 7 — a 300% increase.

In France, 588 antisemitic incidents have led to 336 police arrests.

Germany has witnessed a 250% increase of antisemitic incidents; 91% of these are anti-Israel related.

And in the UK, 220 antisemitic hate crimes have occurred since Oct. 7 — 13 times greater than during the same period last year.

UN Secretary General António Guterres revived a pernicious anti-Semitic trope saying, “The attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.” He suggested that Israel provoked the massacre and brought the tragedy on itself. His comments are primal Jew-hatred. Blaming Jews for their own suffering is an indispensable part  of the history of antisemitism.  

How upsetting that here in New York, Jewish students who may have enrolled in colleges and universities to learn about antisemitism are now experiencing antisemitism.  

As mentioned before, Hamas’ charter is laser-focused on the destruction of Israel. Most people don’t realize the charter is as hell-bent on destroying the Jewish people. Antisemitism is a major pillar and component in the ideology of Hamas. They portray their struggle as a war of religion and faith between Islam and Judaism, Muslims and Jews, rather than between Palestinians and Israelis. 

However, 2023 is not 1943 nor any other time of persecution in Jewish history, including the Crusades, Inquisition, Pogroms, and the Holocaust. The Jewish people are no longer defenseless; we are no longer helpless. We are blessed with the state of Israel, and one of the most powerful military forces known to mankind that will defend  and protect the honor and dignity of every single Jew across the world.  

Oct. 7 is yet another reminder of the necessity of Jewish power. With an unabashedly pro-Israel president in the White House, the iron-clad support of the United States, and the beginning of a paradigm shift in the Muslim world, I am confident that the State of Israel will prevail in eradicating  Hamas and defending the Jewish people from the animus of Anti-Semitism.  

Rabbi Marc Schneier is the President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a noted adviser to many Gulf states, and the author of Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation about the Issues that Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims. He is the founding senior rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach. 

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