Updated May 1st, 2024 at 10:32 IST

What Explains The Rise of Anti-Semitism in USA

Last year, FBI chief said that 60% of religious hate-crimes are against Jews, warning that anti-Semitism incidents are reaching "historic levels" in USA

Reported by: Digital Desk
Rise of anti-Semitism in US | Image:AP

Washington: The alarming rise in anti-Semitism in USA since Israel's attack on Gaza on October 7 has resulted in a tectonic shift in the narrative of the land being a safe haven for the Jews. Over the years, the Israel lobby in the States has maintained a tight grip in matters of policy-making through political action committees, think thanks and fact-checking groups. In fact, US was the first country to recognise Israel as a country in 1948, giving legitimacy to the Balfour Declaration, which talked about the creation of a "Jewish homeland in Palestine," passed by the US Congress in 1922 and 1944. The Zionist lobby in US playing an active role in the creation of Israel has been well-documented.

Since 1948, US has been known to support Israel by handing out billions of dollars in aid every year, strongly backing any military campaigns publicly and using its veto in the UN Security Council to block any anti-Israel resolutions. Despite few indifferences between the allies, the US has seen Israel as an important partner in promoting stability in the oil-rich and highly volatile West Asian region.  


Anti-Semitism at "Historic Levels" in US

Image Credit: AP

Cut to 2024, sentiments against Israel in USA are at a record-high. Last year, advocacy group Anti-Defamation League (ADL) pointed out that anti-Semitic incidents in the US grew by an alarming 400%. The rise was captured two weeks since Israel started its offensive against Hamas on October 7. The ADL data showed that there were at least 312 incidents, including physical assault, online and offline harassment, from October 7 to October 23.


In a study published by an academic journal 'Studies in Conflict & Terrorism', the authors identified 2968 anti-Semitic incidents between 2015 and 2021. The scholars further cited ADL as saying that in 2022, the incidents were at their highest since the organisation started documenting anti-Semitism cases in 1979.

In November last year, the FBI director Christopher Wray said that 60% of religious hate-crimes are against Jews, warning that anti-Semitism incidents are reaching "historic levels" in the States.


Sentiments Driving Anti-Semitism in US

Image Credit- AP

An increasing number of Arab voters in USA, especially in states like Michigan, has also led to a re-think in US' stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Biden has increasingly come under pressure from voices within the Democratic Party for his pro-Israeli stance.  64 percent Republicans still approving Israel's attack on Gaza while 75 percent Democrats disapproving of the same, according to the Gallup survey in March. Israel's war in Palestine has highly polarised politics in USA.


Several pro-Palestine groups in Michigan believe that Arabs have the power to sway the votes in a swing-state like Michigan, and in turn, the Presidential elections. Interestingly, Biden won by 150,000 votes in 2020 and there were about 145,000 Michigan Muslims, who had cast their votes last time.

Michigan's Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud took to X and wrote, “Palestine is a generational cause that has been passed down to us and one that we will pass on to our children," adding, "We will continue marching and protesting until our Palestinian sisters and brothers get justice." The first Muslim and Arab mayor in Dearborn, Hammoud represents the increasing Arab representation in US politics that has bolstered pro-Palestinian voices in the country's political landscape. Hammoud is one of the several Arabs, who have risen up the political ranks in Michigan after the adjacent  Dearborn Heights and Hamtramck got their first Arab mayors in recent years. In fact Biden has sent several of his close associates to Michigan to understand his government's stance in the Israel-Hamas war, that has angered many key members in the battleground state ahead of the Presidential elections, according to reports.


Published May 1st, 2024 at 09:37 IST