Molotov cocktails and mobs at synagogues. Assaults on city streets. Leaflets left on car windshields promising violence. Public hate speech and calls for eradication. Governments holding houses of worship hostage.
It’s not paranoia or exaggeration: Jews around the world are facing attacks as the crisis escalates in Gaza, where rocket fires, bombings, an Israeli ground invasion and hundreds of civilians deaths are daily realities. But the 17-year-old teenager who was assaulted and pepper-sprayed in Paris had nothing to do with that. She’s not an isolated case. This is what happens when some view diaspora Jews as an acceptable proxy for the Israeli state.
No matter what your position is on the conflict, nothing justifies targeting people uninvolved in the fighting. To vent frustration about Israel on Jews, no matter where they live, conflates the two in dangerous ways.
To criticize Israel is one thing, and plenty of Jews there and abroad do that themselves; it’s another thing entirely to do so using anti-Semitic language and imagery, when that kind of speech has led to such terrible tragedies in the past. To no one’s credit, times of heightened tensions in the Middle East usually mean a huge uptick in expressions of anti-Semitism, written, verbal and physical.
This chart from the Washington Post shows every person who has died in the current escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as of July 21. Even though the tolls have tragically risen to at least 639 Palestinian and 31 Israeli deaths — meaning that 147 Palestinians and four Israelis have died in the past two days of fighting — what this chart still clearly shows is that the lion’s share of the casualties were Palestinian civilians. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ data, more than 25% of them were children.