Hatred towards Jews is a sign of what is to come.


In 2016, British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote that “Jews are frequently compared to the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine,’ an enduring signal for when the world is failing to meet its obligations in tackling bigotry. It has never been clearer to me just how widely understood that truism is.”

This was eight years ago – before October 7th and the attendant explanation, contextualization, excusal, and denial of the mass murder, rape, and dismemberment of over 1,200 innocent Israelis and others; before antisemitism rose hundreds of percent, immediately after the largest single shedding of Jewish blood since the end of the Holocaust; and before Jews became unwelcome on university campuses, in organizational structures, and on the streets, in scenes eerily reminiscent of 1930s Germany.

Just like then, we see that what started with the Jews did not end with them.

Warning signs

The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews, a singular event in modern history, but it was also part of a bloody maelstrom and frenzy of hate, intolerance, and carnage that engulfed much of the world and led to the deaths of tens of millions.

Let us be clear: We are not on the cusp of another Holocaust.

However, we are witnessing today across the globe many of the same elements that led to the destruction of European Jewry.

Demonstrators hold Palestinian and Israeli flags as they gather in front of the National Holocaust Museum on the day of its opening, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 10, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW)

The Jews are being targeted not only by the extreme Right, the extreme Left, and radical Islamists, but also by mainstream figures in the political, diplomatic, multilateral, NGO, academic, and cultural spheres in a way reserved for no other community or minority.

The Jews are being demonized by those who claim to stand with every other oppressed people or community, people who think of themselves as anti-racist and part of a society of good. However, their calls for the erasure and destruction of the ancestral and indigenous homeland of the Jewish people and their praise of mass murderers while making common cause with misogynist anti-LGBTQ extremists show that beyond their “woke” veneer lies a pure hatred for Jews.

The canary is in the coal mine, and it is singing and screaming.

Already on campuses in North America, we see the same people who call for the destruction of the Jewish state chanting “Death to America.” They rip down the stars and stripes and replace the US flag with one they barely knew existed until recently.

The ignorance and hatred is there for all to see.

Any person who has approached these radicals, united only by a despisal of Jews, Israel, and the US, and questions them finds not even the scantest of knowledge of a conflict raging thousands of miles away.

These haters believe that they stand with the oppressed when they actually stand with imperialism.

The State of Israel is a unique story of overcoming colonialism and returning an indigenous people to their land after 2,000 years of expulsion, slavery, and mass murder.

That a people held on to an attachment to their land, language, culture, and civilization despite the hardships should be celebrated and not castigated.

Progressives around the world should look to Israel as a source of inspiration.

Unfortunately, however, these people are not progressives. They are the composite representation of the horseshoe theory of politics, whereby, rather than the far Left and far Right as polar opposites on the ideological spectrum, they bend toward each other and begin to resemble the other in word and deed.

Extreme progressives have become exactly what they have long rallied against.

The Jew is just the easiest of targets, but the synergy between the far Left and far Right bodes ill for our societies. It leads them to extremes whereby moderation, fairness, and dialogue are the enemy.

We see this most clearly on university campuses, places that are supposed to be paragons of debate and dialogue. These future leaders are being taught that the world is black and white, good and evil, and they should not countenance shades of gray, learn some history, listen to another side, or engage in fair discourse.

THE REASON these extremist students and faculty wish to disengage, boycott, and throw Jewish voices off campus is because they know a little light from another side would pierce the darkness they have created and easily cause it to shatter. They would rather batten down the hatches, literally and figuratively, in an almost childish closing of the ears and drowning out all other sounds.

This is the level our societies have reached.

Not only are the targeted Jews screaming to have their pain heard, but they are also raising the alarm for our societies.

They have seen this before. What starts with the Jews rarely ends with them.

The canary is in the coal mine, and it is singing and screaming at the top of its lungs.

Will we listen before it is too late?

The writer is CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement.

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