The attack on a synagogue reflects the growing anti-Semitism in the U.S.
All murders begin with words. An environment full of racist hatred has been gradually developing over the last two years in the United States. There has been an increase in anti-Semitic offenses, both on the streets and on social media. The Anti-Defamation League reported 7.5 million offensive messages on Twitter between September and October, all of which have resulted in a tragedy: a terrorist attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where Robert Bowers murdered 11 people. It’s the largest anti-Semitic crime in United States history.
Anti-Semitism, unfortunately, has been part of European culture since the Crusades, and not even the greatest crime in history, the extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazis, has been able to eradicate it. In the United States, although it has always been present in the discourse of neo-Nazi movements, it seemed to be masked behind other forms of more obvious racism and discrimination. Until now, that is. In 2017 anti-Semitic incidents rose by 57 percent in the United States, with some particularly serious cases, such as the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August last year, where slogans such as “Jews will not replace us” were chanted. President Donald Trump’s reaction toward this demonstration was quite inexcusable, with him comparing those who marched with torches and racist slogans to those who were protesting against them.
Anti-Semitism is extremely dangerous and poisons the foundations of society, not only through extremists who are able to carry their hatred to the point of violence, but because of all those who justify it, downplay it or normalize it. Trump may argue that he is a friend of Israel, or that his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish, but his tolerance of white supremacists and his issue with investor George Soros lead to the creation of an environment full of hatred, which can ultimately lead to murder. And this is what many Pittsburgh citizens criticized him for when they protested his visit to the city on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the same can be said of some far-right European leaders, who share and spread the same clearly anti-Semitic mania.
The attacks against Soros are especially revealing. This Jewish investor and philanthropist, who has invested millions into building a civil society in Eastern Europe, is accused – and no this is not a joke – of wishing to contaminate the white race with waves of immigration. For this reason, he has been accused of financing the caravan of immigrants headed toward the U.S., which has become one of the central themes of the Nov. 6 midterm elections. No matter the magnitude and ridiculousness of the lie, it has been supported by the president himself and also by some Republican politicians. This idea that almighty Jewish investors are dominating the world in order to destroy the pure race is at the center of the most dangerous anti-Semitism, which motivated the pogroms in Russia in the 19th century – and which drove the text of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” – and formed the fundamental basis of Nazism. To ignore it is to ignore the warnings throughout history. Unfortunately, the tragedy in Pittsburgh is proof of that.