Antisemitism with Guns and Graphics

On Saturday a gunman attacked the congregation of a synagogue in the USA, killing one woman and injuring three other people. It happened near San Diego, California, exactly six months after another attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which killed 11 people and is thought to be the worst antisemitic attack in recent US history.

Police believe that the latest gunman acted alone and was not part of an organised group. The suspect is 19-year-old John Earnest, who was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

The synagogue’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, said it was only the fact that the attacker’s gun jammed that prevented a much greater tragedy. He gave the Press an emotional description of the moment he came face-to-face with the attacker.

But Rabbi Goldstein also vowed that his community would remain unbowed:

“No matter how dark the world is, we need to think of light.
A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness;
a lot of light will push away much more.”

“We need to show them that terrorism, evil, will never prevail.
Let`s fill up the synagogues, let`s stand tall, let`s dance together!”

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned the attack, calling it: “a blow to the Jewish nation’s heart,” and adding that: “The international community must step up its fight against antisemitism.”

Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, described the attack as:

“A painful reminder that antisemitism and hatred of Jews is still with us, everywhere ...
No country and no society are immune.
Only through education for Holocaust remembrance and tolerance can we deal with this plague.”

Graphics as well as guns

To add insult to the injuries of the Jewish people, the New York Times published an antisemitic cartoon in Thursday’s international edition, depicting Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog leading a blind Donald Trump. Understandably, that cartoon prompted outrage around the world.

A tweet expressing horror at the cartoonA tweet expressing outrage at the publication of the cartoon.

That widespread outrage forced the paper to issue an apology. Their spokeswoman said:

“Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when antisemitism
is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable.
We are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”

This apology still leaves many of us wondering what possessed the paper’s editors to publish the cartoon in the first place. And sadly, we note that such statements are becoming too common in many areas of modern life such as politics and higher education.

The underlying truth is that antisemitism is on the rise around the world and leaders seem to be powerless to reverse that trend.

Given the scale of the problem, there is a great need for church leaders to speak out about this. The Church in general has a poor track record when it comes to attitudes towards the Jewish people.