By Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe—
PUBLIC OFFICIALS were quick to speak out after the brutal July 1 stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside Shaloh House, the Jewish day school and synagogue in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood. The sentiments they expressed were appropriate to the moment. They vowed to “stand with the Jewish community.” They described the attack as “horrific.” They declared they were “united against hate.” They insisted that “an attack on any member of our community is an attack on all of us.” They proclaimed that “antisemitism has no place in Massachusetts.”
The words were fine as far as they went. Unfortunately, they didn’t go very far.
That isn’t meant as a put-down. Commonplaces and safe sound bites are part of most politicians’ stock in trade. When an Orthodox Jewish rabbi is repeatedly knifed in broad daylight on a busy Boston street amid a national wave of antisemitic violence, it’s natural that government officials should instinctively condemn the crime.
Mere boilerplate, however, will do little to stem the surge of Jew-hatred that has reached levels not seen in America since before World War II. Jews constitute just 2 percent of the US population, but they are the victims in more than 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes, according to the FBI’s most recent Hate Crimes Statistics report. On Thursday, the suspect arrested for stabbing Noginski, 24-year-old Khaled Awad, was formally charged with a hate crime. According to his former roommates, Awad is violent and “very much antisemitic” — so much so that one took out a restraining order against him after being attacked.
As a Greater Boston resident, a Massachusetts voter, and an observant Jew, I was glad to see public officials denounce the violent assault on the rabbi. In some quarters these days, simply condemning antisemitism has become a firing offense: Last month April Powers lost her job as chief equity and inclusion officer for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators after posting a message on social media deploring the “increase in hate speech and random violence against Jewish people.” Astonishingly, that post generated a furious backlash because it didn’t mention Islamophobia. Powers, who is black and Jewish, was forced to resign and inundated with death threats. Continue Reading….