“In Lyon, France, this weekend, a Jewish woman was stabbed in her home. The authorities said they found a swastika painted on her door. In Berlin last month, assailants threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue and Jewish community center. Someone set fire to the Jewish section of Vienna, Austria’s, largest cemetery last week, and a violent mob stormed an airfield and hotel looking for Jewish passengers when a flight arrived from Israel in Dagestan, a Russian republic that borders Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Reports of antisemitic incidents are soaring in countries across Europe, following Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in response to the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7, which killed roughly 1,400 Israelis. Health authorities in Gaza say the bombing has killed 10,000 Palestinians so far, including more than 4,000 children, sparking outrage so intense that Jewish communities in Europe say they’re facing a level of hatred many of them haven’t seen before.
In the United Kingdom, these reports of antisemitic incidents more than quadrupled in the days immediately following the initial attacks, according to the Community Security Trust, an organization dedicated to protecting the British Jewish population. (The reports, it’s worth noting, often include a broad range of behavior, from physical assaults to tearing down posters of Israeli hostages.) In Germany, an organization that tracks antisemitism reported 70 incidents in the 11 days following the Hamas attacks, triple the number in the same period the year before. In France — home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, where Jews make up less than 1 percent of the population — interior minister Gérald Darmanin said there had been more than 1,000 incidents in the last month. “The number of antisemitic acts has exploded,” Darmanin told a French news network.
Stars of David have been spray painted on Jewish homes in Paris and Berlin — an ominous echo of the violence, forced displacement, and genocide European Jews experienced in these same places less than 100 years ago. “I am crying, because I am once again seeing the hate that we received when I was a child,” a elderly woman whose apartment was graffitied told a French television network.”
“European Jews aren’t the only minority group being targeted due to the violence in the Middle East. An organization dedicated to tracking Islamophobia found that reports of Islamophobic acts in the UK increased five-fold in the days after the Hamas attacks, according to the Financial Times. European Muslims are worried for their safety. “Muslims are really afraid of being stigmatised and blamed, and lumped together with Hamas supporters,” Lamya Kaddor, a German lawmaker of Syrian descent, told the paper. In the United States, too, both Muslim and Jewish communities are being singled out by acts of hatred.”
“It’s now clear the speaker was the target of Friday’s attack. The assailant broke into the home looking for her, reportedly shouting, “Where is Nancy?” — echoing what insurrectionists called out when they breached the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 — and saying that he would wait “until Nancy got home” as he confronted Paul Pelosi. The speaker’s husband suffered a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands that required surgery after the assailant bludgeoned him with a hammer. The attacker faces federal assault and attempted kidnapping charges. (A spokesperson for the speaker said in a statement that Paul Pelosi is expected to make a full recovery.)
Republicans have dismissed any connection between their rhetoric and the attack. Instead, they’ve blamed Democratic policies on crime and suggested that growing political violence may be the result of general anxiety around election legitimacy. Elon Musk, the billionaire Tesla CEO who was cheered by Republicans when he bought Twitter last week, has advanced a right-wing anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory around the circumstances of the attack. Though he deleted his post, it remained on Twitter long enough to be amplified and repeated by many on the right.
Even before Pelosi became speaker, Republicans in the party and those adjacent to it have demonized her regularly, featuring her in attack ads and lambasting her on Fox News. At least one of her colleagues in the House, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), has directly indicated support for violence against her. And members of right-wing militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters have sought her assassination.
Police haven’t gone into further detail about the attacker’s motivations, but his Facebook posts on conspiracy theories around Covid-19 vaccines, the 2020 election, and the January 6 attack provide a window into his radicalization. Other blog posts under his name contained screeds against minorities, politicians, women, and global elites, and content related to QAnon — the false pro-Trump conspiracy theory that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles, including prominent Democrats like Pelosi, are running the world.
None of those posts reference Pelosi specifically, but all of them intersect with the ways she has been a familiar target of the right — and not just on the political fringes.”
“The country many times over has witnessed dissent and disruption far more violent than anything seen in recent years. But earlier episodes featured profound ideological and moral questions — easily visible to the naked eye, in the present and to historians afterward — that lay at the heart of the matter.
The real Civil War was about slavery — at the start, to restrict its territorial expansion, by war’s end to eliminate it entirely. Capitalists opposed to the New Deal knew why they loathed FDR — he was fundamentally shifting the balance of power between public and private sectors — and FDR knew, too: “They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.” The unrest of the 1960s was about ending segregation and stopping the Vietnam War.
Only in recent years have we seen foundation-shaking political conflict — both sides believing the other would turn the United States into something unrecognizable — with no obvious and easily summarized root cause. What is the fundamental question that hangs in the balance between the people who hate Trump and what he stands for and the people who love Trump and hate those who hate him? This is less an ideological conflict than a psychological one.”
“Two recent studies found that online animosity and offline hate incidents against Asian Americans heightened after Trump linked China and COVID-19 in his tweets; another study found that Trump’s framing of the pandemic as China’s fault increased anti-Asian sentiments and xenophobia in survey experiments; and there’s evidence, too, that rank-and-file Republicans have become much more hostile toward China during the pandemic — views that experts warn pose a threat to all Asian Americans.”
“Over the past year, anti-Asian incidents have surged across the country: There have been more than 2,800 since last spring, according to Stop AAPI Hate, which has been tracking people’s reports. Ranging from verbal abuse and workplace discrimination to storefront vandalism and physical violence, many of these assaults have been fueled by xenophobic sentiment that seeks to scapegoat Asian Americans for the spread of the coronavirus, given its origins in China.”
“Kulkarni emphasizes that Trump’s rhetoric had a clear effect in stoking xenophobia and fueling these attacks, many of which fed off longstanding tropes about Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners who can never be fully American. “We would often see increased violence or hate and discrimination when the president would make remarks. We saw that was having direct impact on the perpetrators,” she said, regarding the Stop AAPI Hate tracker. Additionally, the association of Asian Americans with the coronavirus activated age-old stereotypes that have associated immigrants of Asian descent with “weird” foods, dirtiness, and illness.
Anti-Asian attacks in the past year have been wide-ranging. According to the Stop AAPI Hate tracker, they’ve included an Asian American child getting pushed off her bike by a bystander at a park, a family at a grocery store getting spat on and accused of being responsible for the coronavirus, and vandalism outside businesses. Then there is the death of Ratanapakdee in San Francisco this past month: Members of his family told KTVU that they believe the attack on him was racially motivated.
In a recent executive action, President Joe Biden condemned anti-Asian racism, marking a stark change from the Trump administration. He’s also instructed the Justice Department to begin gathering data on these attacks and to strip discriminatory language from federal documents. But it is going to take more than one message denouncing such acts to maintain this dialogue and ensure that members of these communities get the funding and legal backing they need.”
“To provide some context for the range of discrimination that’s been experienced — and show what Asian Americans have been facing as they walk down the street or make a quick stop at the grocery store in towns and cities across America — here are some accounts that have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, in people’s own words.”