In back-to-back days, The New York Times again proved it knows nothing about Israel.
On September 24, the paper wrote that “progressives” were against Israel repeatedly as it described nine members of Congress who voted against funding Israel’s missile defensive system:
“The episode captured the bitter divide among Democrats over Israel, which has pit a small but vocal group of progressives who have called for an end to conditions-free aid to the country against the vast majority of the party, which maintains that the United States must not waver in its backing for Israel’s right to defend itself.”
“After the vote, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez drew condemnations on social media both from supporters of Israel, who savaged her for failing to support the funding, and from progressives and pro-Palestinian activists, who expressed outrage that she ultimately did not register her opposition to it.”
“The debate on the House floor grew bitter Thursday as some progressive Democrats who were opposed called Israel an “apartheid state,” an accusation that at least one proponent of the bill called antisemitic.”
“The dispute began this week, after progressives revolted at the inclusion of the Iron Dome funding in an emergency spending bill, effectively threatening to shut down the government rather than support the money.”
“Some progressive lawmakers grew furious with Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, who pushed for the swift vote on Iron Dome funding. “
Ocasio-Cortez and many of the other people who are against Israel maintaining a defense program against the thousands of missiles launched by HAMAS, the US-designated terrorist group, are anti-Israel Socialist extremists. Most are members of the Democratic Socialists of America, a group of extremists peddling in anti-Semitic tropes.
True liberal-progressives, like Rep. Ritchie Torres who proudly supports Israel, understand that Israel is a beacon of liberal values in a radical, authoritarian, Muslim Middle East. Whether regarding women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, climate change, recycling, freedoms of press, religion, assembly or any of a variety of issues, Israel is by far the most democratic and liberal country for a thousand miles in any direction. No liberal-progressive would ever side with the Palestinian political-terrorist group Hamas over Israel.
The New York Times peddled much of its typical inanity on September 23rd but added its own anti-Semitism to the article. It said that Ocasio-Cortez wanted to vote against the Iron Dome funding but the “powerful” Israel lobby made her simply vote “present.”
This charge is a classic anti-Semitic smear, and echoes anti-Semites like Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler who claimed that powerful Jews run the press, politicians, the banks and all of society. It is a line that the former liberal-progressive and now anti-Semitic Socialist extremist newspaper repeats frequently.
True liberal-progressives proudly stand with Jews and Israel both because of their commitment to human rights and that they are the most persecuted minority in the world. It is the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Socialist extremists that are vilifying Jews and the Jewish State, and they must be repudiated completely.
There were three epicenters of the terrorists attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001: New York City; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and a field in Pennsylvania which took the place of the U.S. Capitol Building due to the efforts of heroes aboard an ill-fated flight. The jihadists attacks on the hearts of America’s financial, military and political centers was deliberate, evil and immediate. The ramifications reverberated in the years that followed.
I worked across the street from New York City’s World Trade Centers in 2001 and the impact on me was direct.
I first felt the vocal rumblings of 9/11 during the prior week. I spent Labor Day weekend in New York City while most of the city’s residents were on vacation. As I picked up some late night foods at the Fairway market on the Upper West Side, I stood on line behind a woman who was nearly blind, who I guessed hailed from Pakistan. She talked for some time to the cashier, a much younger man, about how everything was about to change forever and that the world would finally wake up. The conversation made me extremely uneasy and I relayed to my wife how I had suddenly felt like a vulnerable minority in New York for the first time.
That sense of dread gained credence as news trickled in from the weeklong UN-sponsored Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa which ended on September 8. Rather than serve as an opportunity to address xenophobia and racism’s oldest form – anti-Semitism – the conference twisted the notions of “colonialism”, “imperialism”, and rights of “indigenous peoples” as condemning articles against Israel, labeling it as an “apartheid” state, in a slur to resuscitate the UN’s 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution.
On the morning of Monday, September 10th, I boarded a flight bound for Kansas City for business. As the plane pulled away from the gate, it clipped the wing of a plane parked next to it in a freak accident, grounding both planes. Instead of having a full day meeting in KC and then continuing on to a conference in San Diego, I ended up spending the day and the next in New York, and planned on flying out to California late on 11th.
As it turned out, staying home on the 11th allowed me to vote during the New York Democratic primary. I voted for whoever was running against Mark Green and then walked to the Broadway and 72nd street subway station to head to my office downtown. I boarded the number 2 express train which would take me on my regular route to Chambers Street before switching to the 1 train for one stop to Cortland St. That train station was under the World Trade Center and I would normally walk out one of the corridors to my office at 130 Liberty Street, a 39-story tower known as the the Deutsche Bank Building, sometime around 9:00am each weekday. I was running slightly later that day because of my morning visit to the polling station.
A woman on the subway said in a loud voice that filled the subway car, that she heard that a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I worked on the 30th floor of the Deutsche Bank building facing south towards the Statue of Liberty and would often see planes flying up the Hudson River, sometimes seemingly way too low. I assumed one of those flights lost control and hit one of the tall towers. Before the subway doors closed, I switched to the local train to work out of the firm’s midtown office on 52nd street to avoid the craziness of the incident.
When I emerged from the 50th Street subway stop a short time later, a Black middle-aged woman walking on Broadway said to me that she just heard that both towers were hit. I replied that I heard that a plane hit one tower and she said “no, it’s both of them.” I ran to my office where there were a number of colleagues already standing and watching the television screen that was suspended from the ceiling. We would watch it for a few hours as the towers came crashing down to our utter shock. As we stared, people from our downtown office started to arrive in that midtown location. One of them was a former marine who said he had never seen anything like what he had just witnessed as he fell into my arms, exhausted. He said the sound of bodies popping as they hit the pavement as they jumped from the burning buildings would never leave his mind.
By early afternoon people began to head home, if they could, as the transportation system came to a halt. I walked towards my apartment and stopped for lunch at a pizza store named Pizza Cave on 72nd Street between Broadway and West End Avenue. I saw a friend who was shaken up by the events and had no way of getting home to Riverdale in the Bronx. He came to my apartment and hung out until he was able to figure out a way home.
After he left, I grabbed a video camera and headed with my wife and two young kids to Riverside Park. Hundreds of people went out to the pier that stretched into the Hudson River to watch dozens of ambulances race down the west side highway towards the giant cloud coming from downtown Manhattan. People stared overhead to see military aircraft race across the skies of New York City. Some just sat in the warm September sun.
The days that followed in New York were not moments of coming together as described by politicians today but a range of manifestations from post-traumatic stress disorder. I was glued to the television set so purchased a second one so my children could keep watching their kids shows. Everyone in the city talked about taping up their windows as the smell of ash, smoke and unknown scents hung over the city. People put up posters of “missing” family members all over walls of buildings, even though everyone understood they were dead in the rubble.
The days turned to weeks as people learned who died from their firms and apartment buildings.
The South Tower fell into my office building, shearing the entire front of the building and the debris filled the first floors, killing the security guard. One of the junior people on my team was allowed to go into the building in full hazmat attire to retrieve a handful of items left behind. He brought me back a cookie jar with my kids handprints and footprints which my wife had given me a few months earlier for Father’s Day. The tefillin from my bar mitzvah, which I kept in my desk drawer for situations when I worked late or needed to fly somewhere last minute did not make it out. The building was ultimately demolished in 2011, almost ten years after the attacks because human remains continued to be discovered as they methodically removed one floor at a time.
During those initial weeks, I would stop on various Manhattan streets to watch ceremonies of firefighters honoring the memories of fallen colleagues who died in their attempts to rescue people from the towers. The whole city felt a huge debt to these heroes who did their best to save hundreds of people. I would have personal encounters with some of those people in the following years.
The Diameter of 9/11
The Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s poem “The Diameter of the Bomb,” captures the essence of people and places impacted by destruction beyond those in the immediate vicinity of the blast radius. The diameter of the 9/11 attacks covered the entire planet.
On a personal level, my work relocated to Baltimore for several months after the attacks. The Amtrak train ride to the city was loaded with tension of people shuttling between the epicenters of New York and Washington. I recall the voices of riders expressing their disgust with members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol in a canned photo op, as people noted it was those very people who had failed to protect America.
About two and a half years after the attacks, I sold my Upper West Side apartment to a 9/11 widow. She had lost her firefighter husband on that dreadful day, and then married his best friend, also a firefighter. Her new husband divorced his wife a year after the attacks, and this new couple opted to start a new life together in my old home, with the help of millions of dollars she received as compensation for the bravery of her deceased spouse.
Thousands of additional people would die in the “global war on terror (GWOT)” and the “wars of terror (WofT)” in the months and years ahead.
The United States enlisted dozens of countries to help fight the scourge of Islamic extremist violence, principally in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Libya, Nigeria and Somalia. As the GWOT fought on, the WofT hit England, France, Spain and Israel, as genocidal jihadists continued to fight perceived infidels. Sometimes the WofT attacks were on a large scale, like the 2004 Madrid bombings, while at other times it was personal, like the beheading of the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
After the relief from the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the global fear of extremist Islamic terrorism came to the fore again in 2014 and 2015 when a new brand of radicals – ISIS – showed shocking videos of its members burning people alive and decapitating them. It declared a new Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq as it sought to reverse “western imperialism” which divided the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Islamic radicals went on to kill cartoonists and Jews in Paris, France in January 2015; celebrants of Bastille Day in Nice in July 2016 and hundreds in London and Manchester, England throughout 2016 and 2017.
While new epicenters emerged, the mayhem largely stayed off of American shores.
Twenty years after the infamous attacks, America pulled its troops from Afghanistan and prays that the silence from the paucity of successful jihadi attacks in the United States, continues.
But in that silence, a drumbeat of new local jihadists on America’s college campuses and the halls of Congress, echo the sentiments of al Qaeda and ISIS.
Professors from Rutgers University and San Francisco State marked the 20th anniversary of the slaughter of innocent Americans with a forum that blamed the original attacks and the responding war on terror on the false idea of “US and Israeli exceptionalism” and promoted the absurd notion that each country needed a new adversary after the fall of the Soviet Union, so they manufactured Islam as the new bogeyman. One speaker said that “For me, the horror wasn’t 911 itself, which I experienced back when I was living in North Carolina. For me the horror was George W. Bush’s speech, I found his speech to be completely horrific, because here he was openly declaring, quote, forever wars.” In short, the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans did not bother the professor as much as the advance of “American imperialism” against Islamic countries, now under the guise of a “war on terror.”
Those same outrageous chants are now heard repeatedly in Congress, with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) decrying the United States’ “western imperialism” and claiming that the U.S. and Israel foster racism for profit. The talking points of the Durban Conference, al Qaeda and ISIS are coalescing and becoming embedded in left-wing America.
On 9/11/01, Islamic extremists killed thousands of innocent civilians in the United States, vandalized America’s skyline and instilled a deep fear of their disregard for human life, in what President Obama referred to as an “evil ideology“, copied by a variety of jihadists groups. Those Islamic groups are fighting the wounds from end of World War I, which they perceive as western powers defeating the Islamic Ottoman Empire, carving it up in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 and inserting a colonial beachhead of Jews in Palestine with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. They are slowly gathering support for their cause against “western imperialism” and “Zionism” as they muster influence in the west.
The scars of 9/11 may have healed for some, making it easier to consider that the need for a global war on terror should come to an end. But the jihadist war is only entering its next phase, as it enlists westerners to undermine its own interests and values.
As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, I appreciate your involvement in foreign policy and engagement on matters in the Middle East. However, your approach to the region is seemingly a departure from official U.S. foreign policy, at odds with the idea of bipartisanship, belittles the danger of Palestinian terrorist groups and undermines the relationship with Israel.
I note the opening paragraph of the letter your office distributed to people who have written to you about the Arab-Israeli Conflict, about your recent trip to the region, copied here:
“Because you have written to us concerning Israel and Palestine, I wanted to share this important update. Senator Murphy, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, returned from foreign travel this month which included visits to Israel and the West Bank. He led a congressional delegation of his Senate colleagues to discuss regional security and democracy in the region. He was joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).”
To start, the United States does not recognize any country called “Palestine.” As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, it is imperative that you not unilaterally begin to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority.
Please share the reason that you only traveled to the region with fellow Democrats, especially as President Biden repeatedly stated his desire to keep support of Israel a bipartisan matter between Democrats and Republicans. Was Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) or any of the Republicans on the Foreign Affairs committee unwilling to join the delegation?
I have additional questions as it relates to the second paragraph of your letter:
“The delegation’s visit to Israel came after the formation of a new government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in June, and was the first to travel to the country after President Biden met with Prime Minister Bennett at the White House. The senators also met with President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Ra’am Party leader Mansour Abbas to discuss the priorities of the new government and the path forward to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians can live safely and securely and equally enjoy freedom, prosperity and democracy.The senators also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and young Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. In addition, the senators also engaged with USAID partners who are implementing programs on the ground.“
I understand why members of the US Foreign Relations committee would meet with Israel’s prime minister, president and foreign affairs minister. But why would the U.S. delegation meet the head of a small Arab party in the coalition government who is not a member of Israel’s own foreign affairs committee? Do you believe that Israeli Arabs are actually ‘Palestinians’ and wanted to be sure that Israel’s Arab citizens “enjoy freedom”? Or do you think that only an Israeli Arab perspective can shed light on what Palestinian Arabs feel, even though the delegation also met with leaders of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank? If you wanted a perspective of minority groups, did you also visit Israeli Jews living in the West Bank?
I note that you referred to Palestine as a country again when you called Mohammad Shtayyeh the Prime Minister of “Palestine” instead of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Does the subcommittee you head have its own foreign policy apart from the United States?
In your letter’s final paragraph, you decided to gratuitously and falsely accuse the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu:
“Upon his return from travel, Senator Murphy joined CNN International’s Amanpour with Christiane Amanpour to discuss the United States’ role in the world following the withdrawal from Afghanistan. In recounting his visit to Israel and the West Bank, Senator Murphy said: “[I]t is important to note that this government has taken some really important steps: one, to do outreach with the Palestinians, the first government-to-government meetings at the highest levels in over a decade. And they have begun to open up humanitarian pathways into Gaza. They’re trying to relieve the suffering there in a way that the Netanyahu government would have never contemplated. This is obviously a very unique coalition government… but I left pretty impressed with the seriousness of the government, and some of the early steps that they have taken to lower the temperature, both inside Israel and in the relationship with Palestinians.”
I am baffled how your recollection of a visit to America’s strongest ally in the Middle East begins with the “outreach with the Palestinians.” You falsely stated that the meetings were the first held in “over a decade” between the US and the PA, seemingly forgetting the debacle of a flawed 2014 peace process shepherded by the Obama Administration’s Secretary of State John Kerry.
You stated that the goal of the mission was regarding “regional security and democracy,” yet offered nothing on the remarkable Abraham Accords that the Netanyahu government cemented with several Arab nations over the prior year. Instead, you implied that Netanyahu helped create the suffering in Gaza, rather than note that a US-designated foreign terrorist organization launched several wars against Israel, and the Netanyahu government responded in a restrained manner. Further, Netanyahu enabled Gaza exports to hit record levels in the beginning of 2021 and allowed monies from Qatar to flow into the terrorist-run enclave, much more than the current Israeli Prime Minister Bennett.
Senator, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, Americans expect you to call out the evil of the US-designated terrorist group Hamas, to not upgrade the PA to a state, to acknowledge the expanding circle of diplomatic relations Israel recently forged in the region, and to follow protocol in regards to visiting Israel, America’s strongest ally in the region, without gratuitously bad-mouthing the prior government. Your approach simply leads Americans to believe that the Democratic Party is pulling away from Israel.
The spike in antisemitic incidents in the United States over the past few years is alarming. Jews are being physically attacked, killed and verbally assaulted, while their properties are being vandalized.
With the onset of the coronavirus and fighting in the Middle East, things have gotten even worse.
As the first known patient with COVID-19 came from the Orthodox Jewish community of New Rochelle, antisemitic slurs have become more common for Jews walking the streets and shopping in stores. When fighting broke out among Arabs and Jews in Israel, a mob brutally beat a Jew walking the streets of Manhattan.
Westchester County, sitting in the intersection of the tri-state region and home to one of the largest concentrations of Jews in the United States, must take action.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) developed a working definiton of antisemitism in 2016 to help countries and municipalities develop policies to help fight the scourge. The IHRA definition of antisemitism is endorsed by major Jewish organizations including the ADL and the AJC. Major counties and cities in New York have begun endorsing the definition including Nassau County and the Village of Great Neck.
As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States approaches, various news outlets are discussing the animosity towards Muslims that became a reality in America after the terrorist attacks by nineteen Muslim men, directly killed nearly 3,000 people and many times that number indirectly in the years that followed. Other than giving a platform for American Muslims to talk about their experiences with prejudice, little analysis into the hate crime statistics has been shared.
So here it is.
Before the September 11th attacks, almost every religious-based hate crime reported by the FBI was against Jews. From 1998 to 2000, a total of 89 anti-Muslim hate crimes were reported, or about 30 per year. In comparison, over that time period, over 3,500 anti-Jewish attacks were reported by the FBI, or 39 times as many. That dynamic changed with the jihadist terrorism against the USA in 2001.
The spike was immediate and significant.
In 2001, a total of 546 anti-Muslim hate crimes were reported, a 16.5 times jump from the prior year. White people committed 200 of those offenses, a high number relative to the 29 attacks committed by Black people. The numbers declined rapidly in 2002, but the number of anti-Muslim attacks has remained significantly above the pre-9/11 days.
Anti-Muslim attacks increased again with the influx of Muslim refugees from Syria and elsewhere in 2015 and 2016, reaching a high of 381 in 2016. The number of incidents declined significantly since then, with 219 attacks reported in 2019, a 43 percent decline in three years.
In regards to the perpetrators of the offenses, from 2000 to 2009, Whites committed an average of 69.9 attacks per year, compared to 16.8 for Blacks. The numbers increased for both groups in the 2010-2019 decade, with Whites and Blacks committing an average of 97.3 and 25.2 attacks, respectively, representing a jump of 39% for Whites and 50% for Blacks.
By way of comparison, Jews suffer many more hate crimes than Muslims but the trend line is quite different.
Attacks against Jews was consistently above 1,100 attacks per year through the year 2001. It was only in 2002 that anti-Semitic attacks began to decline, reaching a low of 635 attacks in 2014. This was a period marked by the War on Terror around the world, and in Israel, it included the Second Intifada/Two Percent War (2000-2005), the election of a Holocaust denier to the Palestinian presidency and a jihadist terrorist group to a majority of the Palestinian parliament (2005 and 2006) and wars from Gaza after the Hamas takeover of the Strip (2008, 2012 and 2014). Perhaps Americans sympathized with Jews and the Jewish State in the global war on Islamic extremism, as attacks on Jews declined significantly over those thirteen years.
But the trend reversed as anti-Semitism began to spike at the same time as anti-Muslim attacks picked up in 2015. Most recently, crimes against Muslims have been declining while anti-Semitism has been rising.
A review of the offenders perhaps reveals some clues.
From 2000 to 2009, Whites committed an average of 181.0 attacks against Jews while Blacks committed an average of 17.8 attacks per year. But from 2010 to 2019, Whites committed an annual average of 137.3 attacks while Blacks committed 28.5. So while anti-Semitic attacks among Whites declined by 24% over the past decade, it increased 60% among Blacks.
The sharp increase in Black anti-Semitism came most recently in 2018 and 2019, with all-time record levels of attacks by Blacks on Jews. This coincides with the election of the “Squad” to Congress – and two Muslim women, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, in particular – who pushed anti-Semitic tropes that Jews control the military, the press, the government and do it all as a means to profit from the poor. The ridiculous shouts of “from Ferguson to Palestine” shouted by the likes of CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill and “from Detroit to Gaza” shirts sold on Rashida Tlaib’s website, were malicious attempts to portray Jews as militant exploiters of Blacks and Muslims all around the world. Shockingly, Democratic leaders protected their anti-Semitic minority members and advanced anti-Islamophobia measures rather than protecting Jews.
Not surprisingly, attacks against Jews increased and those against Muslims decreased.
In 2019, an average American Jew was roughly three times more likely to suffer a hate crime than an average Muslim (1,032 Jewish victims in a population of 5.7 million versus 227 Muslim victims in a population of 3.3 million). Jews always suffered more than Muslims and the gap is growing.
In summary, there were almost no anti-Muslim attacks in the United States until the Islamic extremist attacks of September 11, 2001. The spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes went on for a year, and the situation then dramatically improved. That turnaround enabled American Muslims to assume positions of power in the United States, which they have used to further protect Muslims and fuel minority attacks against Jews.
Twenty years ago, foreign jihadists hijacked a small part of the U.S. transportation system to viciously attack America’s financial, military and political centers. Today’s jihadists are aggressively weaponizing the U.S. educational system, the government and the media, to attack Jews around the world.