The fiery presidential election campaign was a fertile ground for the outburst of anti-Semitic manifestations. One of the most inflamed arenas was social media, and the situation was particularly serious on Twitter. A report released by the Anti-Defamation League monitored during the election campaign about 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets. Of these, 19.253 tweets were directed specifically against Jewish journalists who had criticized Donald Trump. The figures show that the anti-Semitic manifestations were influenced by the rhetoric in the election campaign.
The problem is not just the existence of the discourse, but its products, the main one being the fact that anti-Semitic discourse has become acceptable and “normal.” The source of the anti-Semitic discourse in this case was mostly the Alternative Right circles, a group of radicals supporting white supremacy. The days after the elections were also extremely charged, bringing to the center of the stage movements and phenomena we had not been familiar with in the US.
As the Alternative Right movements grow stronger, new phenomena have been seen in the US, like the gathering of activists of a radical right movement in which participants performed a Nazi salute and chanted “Hail Trump,” vandalism against Jewish symbols across the country, anti-Semitic graffiti, and more. In Arizona, extreme right-wing activists turned a menorah in a family’s yard into a swastika. In the past month, many Jewish institutions have received bomb threats.
But problematic positions don't exist just on one side of the political map. One of the candidates for Head of the Democratic National Committee was Keith Ellison, a politician of Muslim origin who had made some disturbing comments on Israel, according to a recently reveiled recording in which he alluded to Jewish control of the US administration.
Left-wing movements which hold anti-Semitic views do things different and with different tools, but the message is in many cases anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League asserts that a different attitude towards Israel and judging Israel by different standards from the rest of the world, as well as undermining its existence as a Jewish state, is anti-Semitism.
The same applies to the BDS movement, which calls for boycotting Israel and imposing sanctions on Israel in different areas, academic boycotts of Israeli institutions and academics, financial boycott attempts on the Israeli produce and industry, attacks and harassment of Jewish students on campuses across the US. These are all manifestations of anti-Semitism which excludes Israel and undermine its right to exist.
Carol Nuriel is the executive director of the Anti-Defamation League’s office in Israel.