Distorting the Truth About Growing Anti-Semitism When The Facts are Staring You in the Face
False equivalence at work in in the NY Times editorial offices:
For years, Europe maintained the comforting notion that it was earnestly confronting anti-Semitism after the horrors of the Holocaust. It now faces the alarming reality that anti-Semitism is sharply on the rise, often from the sadly familiar direction of the far right, but also from Islamists and the far left.Whoever wrote this is consciously aware that is simply not so.
The clear implication is that anti-Semitism is becoming as influential and visible among "Islamists" and the "far left" as it is among the far right. But that is a gross and deliberate distortion of the facts. And I'm being kind here, because the proceeding grafs say this:
The worrisome trend was underscored by a report issued by the German government this month showing that anti-Semitic incidents in Germany had increased by almost 20 percent in 2018 from the previous year, to 1,799, with 69 classified as acts of violence. The most common offense was the use of the swastika and other illegal symbols; the rest ranged from online incitement and insults to arson, assault and murder.
Of the total, the report attributed 89 percent of the incidents to the far right. Despite this — the use of the swastika, a far right symbol and the fact that nearly every single anti-Semitic offense reported was perpetrated by the far right — despite this, the Times writer(s) nevertheless repeat their utterly false equivalence of right, left, and Muslim:
What is clear is that these strains of anti-Semitism — from the right, from the left and from radical Muslims — have morphed into a resurgence of a blight that should have been eradicated long ago, and that is causing serious anxiety among Europe’s Jews.What this does is minimize the exceedingly dangerous anti-Semitic actions of the far right, an extremist movement that currently has vastly greater political power throughout Europe and the US than any left-leaning or Islamist movement. And by minimizing the fact that anti-Semitism is an explicitly rightwing program, the Times misses the point, the rise in hateful actions directed against Jews and Muslims.
Look at it this way: although the term "anti-Semitism" is usually used to refer to hatred of Jews, Semites include both Jews and Muslims, according to Webster's. Because (not coincidentally) both groups are the object of hateful actions by the far right in Europe and the US, it makes sense to combine incidents against Muslims and Jews together into the expression of a single bigotry. And if they were — if the statistics regarding the increase in anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish attacks were combined — the real danger of far right hate crimes would be much clearer.
The growth in theses dangerous incidents is a profoundly troubling problem and of course, bigoted, hateful actions are not confined to a single political/cultural/religious ideology. But the most prominent haters, the ones with real power to oppress and harm Jews and Muslims in Europe and the US are overwhelmingly from the right wing: white identity authoritarians who have taken over (or are poised to take over) many of the largest and most powerful nations in the world.
In short, the problem of bigoted hate crimes today, including anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim actions, remains primarily a right wing problem, the Times knows it, and yet they appear to have gone out of their way to avoid appearing to say so.