It seems that everyone was eager to call out the anti-Semitic killer who attacked Jews in Pittsburgh for what he was: a terrorist. This wasn’t hard for people to do since they know what a white-supremacist bigot looks like. Unfortunately, countless Americans—Jews included—have somehow missed the memo that all Jew-killers should be condemned.
Fortunately for us, Jews are rarely hunted and gunned down in America. Unfortunately, Jewish people are killed abroad at a much higher frequency in Europe and especially Israel. With the global rise in anti-Semitism, the horrific Pittsburg attack should be a wake-up call to Americans that there are horrible people in the world who just want to kill Jews. The discussion shouldn’t be about gun laws or mental illness. The discussion should be about people who specifically want Jews dead and gone.
Anti-Semitism exists on both sides of the aisle. While history has taught us how to point out a Nazi, new manifestations of anti-Semitism have yet to be fully appreciated. Anti-Zionism is commonly used to mask anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses, and groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) are guilty of just that.
Let’s use a well-known example: In 2017, JVP was proud to host Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist, at their national conference. Odeh was involved in the 1969 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) bombings in Jerusalem and is responsible for the deaths of two Jewish college students, Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe. This does not sound like the type of person who should be honored at a (self-proclaimed) progressive group’s conference. Of course not, but it reveals the sinister motivations of groups like JVP that defend themselves against charges of anti-Semitism, yet actively promote Jew-killers.
I urge you to consider why groups like SJP and JVP express sympathy for slain Jews here in America, but are not equally concerned with Jews killed by terrorists in Israel. Please consider why these terrorists are invited to speak at their national conferences, prominently featured on their posters and advertisements, and why they are lauded as heroes who should be emulated for their bravery.
Even when the hosts and attendees know of the egregious anti-Semitic crimes the speakers advocate for and, in some cases, have committed themselves, these terrorists and terrorism advocates are treated as authority figures on countless issues. Students should not be fooled into taking what they say for face value. It is important that students and attendees conduct their own research outside of the event, rather than taking the speaker’s comments as the only truth.
Anti-Israel students who chant for another Intifada call for Molotov cocktails, bus bombings, and the killing of Jews, civilians and soldiers alike. Chants of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” call for the eradication of the Jewish State. If the idea of millions of Jews being slaughtered in the Holocaust does not sit well with you, the wholesale slaughter of millions of Jews in Israel should not either. If someone’s exoneration of Palestinian terrorist is based on “politics” or “criticism of the Israeli government,” they are no better than a white-supremacist who supports the actions of the Pittsburgh killer.
It is time to stop treating Israeli Jews like they’re second-class Jews who are undeserving of our sympathy and support. A dead Jew is a dead Jew. A Jew-killer is a Jew-killer. Let’s make sure they are all condemned. It is time for the GW student body to realize that all Jew-killers are anti-Semitic and student groups that praise terrorists and anti-Semites shouldn’t be supported.
Emma Enig is the George Washington University CAMERA Fellow for 2018-2019.