Pitting marginalized groups against each other poses a real threat to Jews, Muslims, and Blacks alike in our country.
Jordan Goldwarg, Aneelah Afzali | Common Dreams | Feb 27, 2019
It is important to ask why marginalized community members are the main targets of outrage, and who benefits when marginalized groups are pitted against each other.
As an American Jew and an American Muslim, we find the cycle of attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Angela Davis, and others deeply troubling. These attacks reflect a weaponization of the “anti-Semitism” charge against certain individuals (especially Muslim and/or Black leaders supporting Palestinian human rights), which turns progressive allies against each other and ignores the real source of physical threat to our Jewish (and Muslim and Black) siblings.
There is no doubt that anti-Semitism is alive and well. The FBI reported a 37% increase in anti-Semitic crimes from 2016 to 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available). Islamophobia has also increased sharply in recent years, as we face some of the highest levels of anti-Muslim hate crimes in our nation’s history along with hateful rhetoric and policies from the highest levels of our government (such as the Muslim Ban). And Black Americans are still victims of hate crimes more than any other group in our country, with a 16% increase from 2016 to 2017.
With the Jewish, Muslim, and Black communities (among others) under increased attack, it is worth inquiring into the source of the threat. Research makes clear that it is predominantly white men from the extreme right who perpetrate hate crimes against Jews, Muslims, and Black Americans (not to mention against immigrants, Latinx people, Asians, transgender people, and other marginalized communities). The rhetoric, proposals and actions of the current administration have further provided fuel for the increased hate in our country, and constitute direct attacks on the rights of many marginalized communities.