Politics & Policy

Hate Crimes and the Threat to American Jewry

A man prays at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., October 31, 2018. (Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)
It’s not as simple as blaming Trump.

In the wake of the Pittsburgh shootings, the Anti-Defamation League reported a 57 percent spike in anti-Semitic acts between 2016 and 2017. Shortly thereafter, the FBI reported a 17 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes. Many commentators linked this uptick to President Trump’s rhetoric. When commenting on the ADL report, Julie Ioffe claimed that Trump “has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.”

A closer look at the statistics, however, indicates that linking anti-Semitic acts to Trump’s rhetoric is problematic and much too one-sided. The ADL report found an almost doubling of campus incidents of bullying and harassment, for example, which are most likely associated with left-wing anti-Zionist forces. And while its intimidation measure doubled, this was mainly because it includes a spree of bomb threats made by a disturbed Israeli youth. In addition, the ADL relies on reports it receives from a variety of institutions, and at least a portion of the increase in anti-Semitic acts reflected “more people . . . reporting incidents than ever before.”

Similarly, the FBI relies on reporting from law-enforcement agencies, and an additional 1,000 agencies reported for the first time in 2017. In addition, the increase was driven entirely by a substantial rise in vandalism of property, as there was a drop in assaults and incidents of intimidation. And as others have pointed out, all three categories were lower in 2017 than they had been a decade earlier.

Further, Trump has consistently voiced animus towards Muslims, so if his rhetoric were responsible for hate crimes, Muslim victimization should have increased. There was, however, an 18 percent decline in anti-Muslim hate crimes, reflecting reductions in all three categories. By contrast, during the Obama years, anti-Muslim hate crimes more than tripled.

Latinos were another group that was subject to Trump’s animus, and the hate crimes they experienced rose by 17 percent. However, anti-Latino assaults — the most serious category — were virtually unchanged, as the overall increase reflected primarily increases in incidents of intimidation and property vandalism.

It is also worth looking at the victimization rates, as opposed to the trends, especially for assault. There were only four hate-crime assaults per million Latinos in the U.S. Among the African-American and Jewish populations the rate is more than four times higher, while among Muslims the rate is almost eight times higher.

Returning to the Jewish community, it is quite understandable that the Pittsburgh massacre increased concerns for safety. A survey indicated that 72 percent of Jewish respondents linked the Pittsburg massacre to President Trump’s rhetoric, even though the killer thought the president too friendly and supportive of Jews. It would be more accurate to point to the rise of anger across the board. Yes, Trump’s rhetoric is partly at fault. However, many leftist activists and some Democratic-party leaders have also demonized groups and condoned illiberal behaviors.

The persistent leftist stress on white supremacy has most likely intensified the anger felt by many black Americans. It led to a few violent actions against police personnel, and it may have made some more willing to engage in hate crimes. In virtually all categories, black Americans are disproportionally represented among known hate-crime perpetrators. For every five white Americans there is only one black American — yet for every five white perpetrators of anti-Latino hate crimes there are two black perpetrators, and for every five white perpetrators of hate crimes against gays and lesbians there are four black perpetrators. Just as Trump’s rhetoric may have led some angry whites to commit hate crimes, so too the rhetoric of many in the social-justice movement may have led some angry blacks to do so.

The deeper source of these antisocial actions is the pervasiveness of victimization ideologies, which began with leftist identity politics and have now been embraced by many unsuccessful whites. Now everyone is a victim and someone else is totally responsible for their plight. Without confronting the damaging impact of victimization ideology, societies will continue to be vulnerable to misguided behaviors of angry people who need little encouragement to commit violent crimes.

Certainly Trump’s rhetoric may have some responsibility for the increase in hate crimes, including those against Jews. However, the major danger in the U.S. to Jewish interests is the leftist politics that increasingly infects college campuses and the Democratic party.

On campuses, anti-Israel groups create a hostile environment for Jewish students who are not considered sufficiently anti-Zionist. Based on the notion of intersectionality, they have successfully banned these students, along with pro-life feminists, from participating in campus progressive coalitions. In Congress, a number of recently elected House members are hostile to Israel, and others ally themselves with the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. Most troubling, these views are held by new congressional members who are seen as future party leaders.

These shifts must be the focus of our attention, and we should not be diverted by spikes in vandalism.

Most Popular

Culture

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Lessons of the Mueller Probe

Editor’s Note: The following is the written testimony submitted by Mr. McCarthy in connection with a hearing earlier today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (specifically, the first volume of the report, which addresses Russia’s interference in the 2016 ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
World

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1139263782142787585 Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More