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Antisemitism is alive and thriving in the United States

In the Pittsburgh federal courthouse at 9 this morning — more than four and a half years after terrorist Robert Bowers murdered 11 Jews at the city’s Tree of Life synagogue — begins his trial for committing the worst antisemitic massacre in American history. U.S. prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and assuming Bowers is found guilty, his fate will be determined by the 12 jurors selected over the past month.

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, Judge Robert Colville issued this order: “evidence depicting the bodies of the deceased victims and certain recordings of 911 calls involving deceased victims shall not be posted on the Court’s website or otherwise made available for rebroadcast, copying, or any other form of republication by the public, including the media.”

The disturbing material will be presented in court and available to the public and press in attendance, but it will not be broadcast. We are fine with that, recordings of murdered Jews calling for help and pictures of their bullet-ridden corpses are not needed to enlighten anyone. History is filled with too many murdered Jews targeted only for being Jews.

In 2022, the Anti-Defamation League cataloged 3,697 reported incidents of antisemitic assault, harassment and vandalism in the United States according to their annual audit, while these were not massacres, bias and hate were the motivations. More than a quarter of those occurrences tabulated were in just two states, New York and New Jersey. While both states have a lot of Jews, they must also have a lot of Jew-haters. Something to think about as Jewish American Heritage Month concludes tomorrow.

Last week, President Biden and his administration saw it necessary to issue the first-ever U.S. national strategy to counter antisemitism. The venom directed at Jews as supposed communists or capitalists comes from the far right. The far left’s obsession with Israel’s faults often veer into antisemitism. Either way, the Jews get hit.

Over the centuries, in country after country, Jews, as a small, distinct minority may get targeted first, but other victims follow.

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