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Progressives call out anti-Semitism and 'Islamophobia' after wave of hate against Jews
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Progressives call out anti-Semitism and 'Islamophobia' after wave of hate against Jews

As pro-Palestinian activists engage in a rising wave of attacks against American Jews, some progressive lawmakers who have criticized Israel are condemning the anti-Semitic violence but also are suggesting without evidence there is a concurrent rise in Islamophobia since violence renewed between Israel and Hamas.

Recent high-profile anti-Semitic attacks in New York City and Los Angeles in the last two weeks have called national attention to a rising wave of hate crimes committed against Jews.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an outspoken critic of Israel, on Friday condemned "disturbing antisemitic attacks and a troubling rise in Islamophobia."

"If you are committed to a future of equality and peaceful coexistence, please stand united against anyone who promotes hatred of any kind," Sanders tweeted.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) shared Sanders' tweet with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. and said, "We won't be free if we come from a place of hate + violence + racism."

The Anti-Defamation League last week reported a 47% increase from the previous week in online and real-world incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States. The ADL said there were 193 reports of possible anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. from May 7-14, up from 131 incidents reported the week prior.

Examples of the hateful incidents include at least one Jewish individual who was beaten by a pro-Palestinian mob in Los Angeles and a group of around 20 pro-Palestinian protesters in Skokie, Illinois, who chanted "Intifada!" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" across the street from Temple Beth Israel synagogue.

An ADL analysis of Twitter found more than 17,000 tweets that used variations of the phrase, "Hitler was right" in the same time period.

"As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. "We are tracking acts of harassment, vandalism and violence as well as a torrent of online abuse. It's happening around the world — from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform.

"To those who choose to indulge in age-old antisemitic tropes, exaggerated claims and inflammatory rhetoric, it has consequences: attacks in real life on real people targeted for no other reason than they are Jewish," Greenblatt said. "This is antisemitism, plain and simple. And it's indisputably inexcusable in any context."

Though Sanders indicated there was an equivalency between rising anti-Semitic hate and Islamophobia, there does not appear to be data showing a rise in Islamophobic incidents in the past two weeks.

Other progressive lawmakers spoke out against anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

"We will never, ever tolerate antisemitism here in NY or anywhere in the world. The recent surge in attacks is horrifying. We stand with our Jewish communities in condemning this violence," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, who earlier that week called Israel an "apartheid state."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said the attack at the Los Angeles restaurant was "horrific and unacceptable."

"Nobody should face threats and harassment based on their religion or ethnicity," she tweeted. "This has to stop."

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