In a Time of Trump, the Left Awakens to Anti-Semitism

Ben Wofford’s recent article in Politico is headlined “In a Time of Trump, Millennial Jews Awaken to Anti-Semitism.” The crux of the article is that the Trumpian Twitter harassment of journalists, the Donald Pepe the Frog meme, and the general alt-right support for Donald Trump have alerted my generation of Jews to the fact that there is anti-Semitism still in the world. Wofford alleges that “to some young Jews, this election season has felt like a cold shower.” He quotes 19-year-old Debbie Rabbinovich: “Whether you experienced no anti-Semitism growing up, or a watered-down version of it, I think most young people felt like anti-Semitism was dying.”

The alt-right may have awoken Ben Wofford and the liberal youngsters he quotes to anti-Semitism, but for those of us who have lived through it, we scoff.

The Left has been pretending that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist for years; they have been arguing that being anti-Israel doesn’t equal being anti-Jewish, and that their Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements aren’t hateful at all. So I may think that the alt-right social media posts are crap, and I may even agree that Trump has had a problem with his retweets, but I think that if this is what is awakening you to the problem of anti-Semitism then it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

I grew up in the affluent San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, a place with a far-above-the-national-average population of Jews. And yet even there, in what should have been a Jewish protectorate, I can think of three heinous incidents of anti-Semitism.

As a young kid, I attended summer and afterschool programs at the North Valley Jewish Community Center (JCC). I remember it as a happy place where I sang the songs of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (a show I was really into at the time), and where I spent my first night away from my parents (there was a community sleepover). In 1999, only a couple years after I stopped attending their programs, a white supremacist named Buford Furrow entered the JCC with five rifles, two pistols, and six thousand rounds of ammunition. He shot a 5-year-old, two 6-year-olds, a 16-year-old camp counselor, and a 68-year-old receptionist. Luckily all his victims at the JCC survived. Furrow had cased the University of Judaism campus, the Skirball Cultural Center, and (ironically) the Museum of Tolerance, before settling on his JCC target. He told investigators “he wanted this to be a wake-up call to America to kill Jews.”