The Forward regularly monitors the surge of anti-Semitism across the country and around the world. The mission of this column is not to unduly alarm, but rather to raise awareness of a disturbing trend that, from some vantage points, can prove difficult to spot.
Though he’s not even Jewish, Emmanuel Macron is not immune to anti-Semitic attacks that have ravaged France in recent years. A couple days before Macron’t victory against Marine Le Pen, one of his campaign’s offices in Normandy was defaced with anti-Semitic slurs. Macron’s face was covered with X’s and the window was inscribed with epithets like “Israel = Mossad de Rothschild” and “the 20 most shocking extracts of the Talmud.” Anti-Macron French people have derisively called Macron a “Rothschild banker,” referring to the prominent French Jewish banking family.
A non-denominational, mostly black Christian church in North Dakota was defaced with racist and anti-Semitic scribblings early Sunday. Swastikas were drawn along with messages of “KKK” and the n word. Reverend Ensley Windham chose to leave on the graffiti on the church until the bishop could personally see it.
Anti-Semitism hasn’t only been on the rise in the United States, but in Canada, as well. B’nai Brith Canada, which has tracked anti-Semitic incidents in Canada for 35 years, said Tuesday that 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Canada last year — an increase of 26% from the previous year and the highest they’ve ever recorded.
An Anne Frank memorial in Boise, Idaho was vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic language on Tuesday. Anti-Semitic graffiti was accompanied with racist messages, including one declaring that black people are not human — directly below the engraved first paragraph of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Written in permanent ink, the chemicals used to remove the epithets ruined the marble tablets, which will have to be replaced at a cost of $20,000.
In Bozeman, Montana, hundreds of flyers featuring a fictitious ultra-Orthodox rabbi calling for white genocide were dropped in front of homes over the weekend. The flyers quoted the fake rabbi as saying that it is “in the Jewish interest… that whites experience a genocide.” Police are not investigating the incident, citing free speech. This is the latest in a series of similar anti-Semitic incidents in Montana over the past several months.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has spent the past week battling accusations of anti-Semitism. Prime Minister Orban, also leader of the nationalist Fidesz party, introduced a bill last week that many see as an attempt to shut down the Central European University in Budapest, a highly respected institution founded by Jewish Hungarian-American George Soros. Orban got out his dog whistle, calling Soros an “American financial speculator attacking Hungary” who has “destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans.” European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmerman said that he believed Orban’s comments were tinged with anti-Semitism, which led to calls for Timmerman’s resignation by Hungary’s Foreign Minister.
Steven Davidson is an editorial fellow at The Forward.