On Dec. 12, Zarinah Ali violently attacked a visibly Jewish woman (she was in conversation with a man wearing a yarmulke) on the New York subway.
Just two days earlier, David Anderson and Francine Graham entered a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, with rifles and started shooting employees and customers, three of whom died, as well as a police officer.
And on Dec. 29, Grafton Thomas entered the home of Hasidic Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, New York, while the rabbi was hosting a Hanukkah party, and attacked five with a machete. The rabbi’s skull was deeply penetrated, and he is still in a coma. Thomas then unsuccessfully tried to enter and continue the slaughter in the synagogue next door.
New York police reported at least 14 violent attacks against Jews — for being Jews — during the last month of 2019. In some of the cases, the culprits were either not caught or information about them was not released, so a common causal factor cannot be identified. But what about the ones that we do know about?
During the Dec. 12 attack, Ali, in addition to repeatedly chanting “Allahu akbar,” (Allah is great!) was recorded as saying, “It’s in the Quran, where they curse the serpent Jew, you wouldn’t believe. You f— nasty a— Jew. You nasty mother—. You a nasty a— mother—, you stink. You f—- stinkin’ a— Jew.”
After the Dec. 29 attack, Thomas’ former stepfather, Joe Kennedy, stated that Thomas identifies as a Muslim, which confirms a previous report from the police that he was a “recent convert” to Islam. Before their Dec. 10 attack, Anderson, a former follower of the “Black Israelite” sect, more recently changed to another unnamed religion. In addition to a pipe bomb he reportedly left behind in his vehicle were some anti-Semitic writings, a manifesto, “religious writings” and a note that said, “I do this because my creator made me do this and I hate who he hates.” Neighbors of Graham reportedly said that she “became a dark person after … Anderson … coerced her into joining a militant religion.” Although not definitive, this is highly suggestive that their conversion was to Islam.
Much of the media commentary is bemoaning the recent upsurge in violent anti-Semitic attacks as a manifestation of a more general increase of racism, of “hate speech” or even of “white supremacy,” which rather comically was cited as the cause both by Joy Behar of ABC and Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, despite the fact that both perpetrators were black. Of course, this enables the blame to be placed, in a rather convoluted way, at the feet of President Donald Trump for somehow having encouraged intergroup hatred.
But it might be more reasonable to note the common factor in many of the recent attacks, including the three cited above, that in two of the cases the perpetrators were certainly, and in the third quite probably, Muslim.
Islam has always, from the days of Muhammad on, expressed a very particular hatred of Jews. Perhaps what we are seeing is that in the U.S. now — as already has happened in the U.K., in France, in Germany and elsewhere in Europe — as the Muslim population increases, violent anti-Semitism increases. This would simply be a logical consequence of the teaching and history of the religion itself and its founder.
Muhammad fought several Jewish tribes who refused to convert, and then, when they were defeated, had the surviving adult male members of the tribe executed. Several of his greatest enemies during his life, whom he had killed, were Jews, as was the woman who poisoned him, resulting in his death. The authoritative biography of Muhammad, written just decades after his death, quotes him as saying, “Kill any Jew that falls into your power.”
The Quran says, among many other negative things about Jews, that they are the greatest enemies of the Muslims (“you will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews” — 5:82), they never keep their promises (“every time they make a covenant, some of them abandon it — 2:100), and they are particularly cursed by God:
“Allah has cursed them for their disbelief” (4:46).
“[the Jews] hearts were hardened and became as rocks … such are rightful owners of the Fire, they will abide therein … and on the day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom” (2:74-85).
“Allah has cursed them for their disbelief. … Hell is sufficient or [their] burning. … As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment” (4:44-56).
And, whereas the Church teaches that the Second Coming cannot happen until there is a widespread conversion of the Jews (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 674, “The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his ‘recognition by all Israel’”), Islam instead teaches “the Hour [the Day of Judgment] will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them” (Hadith, Saheeh Muslim 2922).
There may be many human causes for anti-Semitism as well, but the fact that there is a primary driving spiritual cause seems unmistakable. As St. Paul writes, “We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The fundamental spiritual battle is between the leader of these “hosts of wickedness” and Christ. Is it really surprising that the Jewish people — who in bringing Christ to the world brought about Satan’s defeat — to whom Christ belonged according to the flesh, as did his Blessed Mother and all of the apostles, and who have to be around and convert for the Second Coming to take place, should be in a unique way the target of fury of the enemy of man’s salvation? After all, as Jesus said (John 4:22): “Salvation is from the Jews.” Can we not see in these violent attacks against Jews, whether by demented individuals or Muslims faithful to the example and teaching of their founder Muhammad, the inspiration of those principalities and powers?
I am not sure where that leaves us, or what an effective solution to the current situation may be. But I am sure that without identifying the cause there is no hope of finding one. Although most religious, ethnic or racial groups have been the recipients of hostility in some place at some point in time, the prevalence and persistence of anti-Semitism, directed against the Jews virtually every place they have lived over the past 2,000 years, is unique in world history and speaks of its root cause in Satan’s hatred for Christ and for the people to and through whom he came.
Roy Schoeman is the author of Salvation Is From the Jews (Ignatius, 2003) and Honey From the Rock (Ignatius, 2007).