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Natasha Kirtchuk, Antisemitism, And Deafening Silence

[additional-authors]
June 3, 2021
Natasha Kirtchuk, with permission.

On Monday 24th May, Natasha Kirtchuk took to the airwaves in an impassioned monologue that decried the recent upsurge in anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide. In the short broadcast, lasting a little over 3 minutes, Kirtchuk raised a number of concerns about the anti-Semitic rhetoric that she viewed as all too commonplace. She stated that with a cursory glance online, it was possible to find examples of vitriol, threats and violence, aimed at Jews. Kirtchuk claimed that it was reminiscent of the pre-holocaust era: right before the Nazis attempted to eradicate the entire Jewish population. But is Kirtchuk correct in her assertions, or is this a subjective outburst, devoid of objective backing?

 Multiple reports of attacks and abuses

On the same day that Kirtchuk released her video, the Washington Post reported on the ‘spate’ of antisemitism sweeping the USA. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 26 separate incidents had been reported between May 10th and May 24th. The League’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, explained that, in 2019, more than 2100 anti-Semitic events had been recorded. This was the worst year since their records began back in 1979. Even 2020 (a year in which most Americans stayed indoors) still topped their charts, reaching third position.

In New York, 29-year-old Joseph Borgen was beaten in a vicious attack. He was branded a “filthy”, “dirty” Jew and was told that Hamas was going to kill all of his kind, referring to all Jews. On the west coast of the country, LA diners were harangued by a mob shouting anti-Israeli slurs. The shouting turned into a physical attack, which resulted in one man being arrested on charges of having a deadly weapon. CNN also reported on unrest affecting different parts of the country, including a synagogue, in Arizona, that had been vandalized in a senseless act.

Worrying indications from other countries

But America is not the only nation to report such problems. Human Rights Watch reported on worrying antisemitic incidents taking place in different parts of Europe. In Germany, pro-Palestinian protestors burned Israeli flags outside of synagogues, in Bonn and Munster. Der Tagesspiegel described how a Syrian national, who resided in Germany, threatened Jews online with the comment, “we will burn you like Hitler did.”

The UK press is also following the plight of the British Jewish community. The Guardian covered the story of the Rabbi who was beaten up in Chigwell, Essex. The incident spurred Robert Genrich, Communities Secretary for the UK, to urge all local authorities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. He even went so far as to threaten to name and shame local authorities that did not enforce the standard.

How many incidents are actually reported? 

Kirtchuk’s revelation that there has been a 400% increase in violence against the Jewish community is corroborated by figures from Community Security Trust, a British charity that works in conjunction with police and government to provide protection for British Jews. In fact, the CST website indicates that in the period between 8th and 18th May (coinciding with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict) there was actually a 500% increase in reported violations against the Jewish community. In fact, this is likely to be a low estimate as many will not report anything out of fear, and some occurrences remain unverified.

Whilst many of the recent attacks against Jews have been carried out under the banner of pro-Palestinian groups, Kirtchuk is quick to point out that not all those who have Jewish heritage actually live in Israel. She makes the point that the war was actually between the countries of Israel and Palestine and therefore should not involve innocent bystanders who live in different parts of the world and have different nationalities.

Why silent bystanders might cause more harm

As host, and co-founder, of “Global Eye”, at Israel’s i24NEWS, Kirtchuk has never been one to shy away from controversial news reports. She, therefore, concludes her broadcast with a challenge to those who have remained “silent” on the subject of violence against Jews. Kirtchuk is quick to point out that lobby groups like LGBTQ and BLM have gained huge support from all quarters of popular culture. Film stars, influencers, and Hollywood legends have been quick to defend those who have felt discriminated against, within minority communities. However, what Kirtchuk simply cannot understand is how these same people can be silent when faced with an overwhelming body of evidence that similar violations are being perpetrated against minority Jewish communities. Essentially, she’s calling out the double standards that seem to be at play.

Natasha Kirtchuk, with permission.

In particular, Kirtchuk mentions the example of Bella and Gigi Hadid who recently got into hot water when they shared their views on Israel with their 100,000,000+ social media followers. Shortly after sharing her video, Bella Hadid promptly took it down: perhaps unaware of the impact that her words could have on the wider Jewish community. Kirtchuk acknowledges there is nothing wrong with having a different point of view. But when that point of view endangers the lives of countless others, perhaps greater wisdom and restraint should be exercised.

Eli Jonah Karls is a 21-year-old social media artist from Montreal, Canada, popularly known online for making wisdom relevant, and creating impactful content weighed in on the recent surge of anti-semistism “we can ALL stand with our beliefs but it CANNOT come at the expense of the acceptance, respect, and peace of others.” Karls went on to provide advice to those looking to combat anti-semistism “water breaks through a rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence. The path forward can be difficult and we must be patient, persistent, and keep true to what we feel is right.”

 


Michael Peres writes for The Jewish Journal, where he covers Middle-Eastern politics, tech, entrepreneurship, and daily events.

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