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Putin vs. Hamas: Anti-Semitism Drives American Anti-Israel Protests

Thousands of students across America protest Israel’s defensive war against Hamas in Gaza. They call for boycotts and sanctions and shout epithets familiar to most Jews.

Most Americans know that the Israeli-Hamas war began on October 7, 2023, when Hamas terrorists illegally crossed into Israel, brutally murdering and dismembering over 1200 innocent Israeli men, women, children, and infants. These same terrorists captured some 250 hostages, many of whom were women and children. Most are still held in captivity today.

Proportionately, this Holocaust was the equivalent of multiple 9/11s. Were there widespread campus protests when America retaliated and declared war in 2001? Why doesn’t Israel, like America, have an absolute right to defend itself?

America’s college students seem to have forgotten the other war raging in 2023. On February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin and Russia viciously attacked Ukraine without provocation. From then until now, Russia has killed or displaced thousands of innocent Ukrainian citizens with little or no condemnation. Were there mass college campus demonstrations against Russia when it attacked Ukraine? Allegations of genocide? Do students protest Russia’s unprovoked war today? America sends Ukraine weapons and money, but where is our outrage? Hasn’t Russia committed war crimes? Isn’t Putin vicious and unremorseful? Why don’t we hear demands to “gas the Russians” or “shoot the Russians?” Why are there no cries of “dirty Russians” spewed on college campuses?

These disgusting examples of American student vituperation are reserved only for the Jews.

There have been multiple geopolitical conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries. The world has responded to different conflicts in different ways, ranging from support to vehement condemnation. But the reactions to these two 2023 conflicts demonstrate a dangerous level of Jew hatred in America. It is undeniable that protestors are far more vociferous in condemning Israel than Russia. While I concede that there are other reasons for the discrepancy, it is crystal clear that anti-Semitism shapes public perception and protest. For centuries, non-Jewish bigots save their most offensive vitriol for the Jews.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a recurrent flashpoint on the international stage. Israel, the Jewish state, is surrounded by multiple hostile neighbors. Territorial disputes, divergent narratives, violence, and several wars have marred the region. Israel has been accused of being occupiers and human rights violators. However, since its establishment in 1948, Israel has fought seven wars with its Arab neighbors. Not a single one was started by Israel. Every peace offer put forth since 1930 has been accepted by Israel and rejected by its Arab neighbors. A wise person once said: “You are not paranoid if they are really out to get you.”

Anti-Semitism is the primary driver shaping public opinion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No other country forced to defend itself in war has been subjected to the criticism that society has heaped upon Israel. Protestors oppose Israeli retaliation to the October genocide primarily because of inherent anti-Jewish bias. The media, for similar reasons, buys into that bias. Media outlets frame the conflict in ways that reinforce stereotypes and anti-Semitic sentiment. Aside from shaping anti-Jewish public opinion, the media places a disproportionate focus on Israel vis-a-vis Hamas. If a civilian is killed or seriously injured in Gaza, Israel is condemned. That Hamas put its own people in danger and utilized those same humans as protective shields is ignored. The media ignores the plight of Ukraine and focuses on so-called “Palestine.”

Here’s a comparison:

1. Russia invaded a foreign neighbor and started a war. Hamas invaded a foreign neighbor and started a war.

2. Russia’s war is premised upon territorial ambition. Hamas’s war is premised on terrorism and a professed desire to exterminate the Jewish people.

3. Russia, with no provocation, has committed human rights violations and war crimes. Hamas, with no provocation, attacked innocent men, women, children, and infants, slaughtered over 1200 Israeli citizens, and laughed about it.

4. Russia’s war is about sovereignty. Hamas’s war is about terror, a desire to exterminate Jews.

Anti-Semitism has a long and dark history. For centuries, Jews have faced persecution, discrimination, violence, and even extermination because of their religious and ethnic identities. In contemporary society, anti-Semitism often manifests in criticism of Israel far beyond legitimate political discourse, which results in demonization and delegitimization. Legitimate criticism of Israel is fair game, healthy democratic debate. However, such discussion is impossible in an atmosphere that distorts discourse and turns protests into platforms for expressions of Jew hatred.

It is undeniable that anti-Semitic tropes, conspiracy theories, discriminatory language and actions against Jews are driving these protests. Jewish children on campus are afraid for their lives. Colleges and universities must universally condemn this rhetoric, tone down violent behavior, and teach tolerance and diversity on campus.

Is mortal fear the campus experience you remember from your college days? Is it what you want for your children? Perhaps student protestors should be required to view the raw video footage of October 7, 2023. The disgusting and devastating carnage may provide a proper perspective. One can only hope and pray.

Please check out Mark Bello’s ripped-from-the-headlines legal thrillers, all available online at Amazon and other major online booksellers. He has quite the hero in Attorney Zachary Blake, who fights for justice on all fronts. His books are Betrayal of Faith, Betrayal of Justice, Betrayal in Blue, Betrayal in Black, Betrayal High, Supreme Betrayal, Betrayal at the Border, You Have the Right to Remain Silent and his latest, and his latest, “The Final Steps – A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery. Also, he’s written a wonderful children’s book about bullying, “Happy Jack, Sad Jack.” For more info, just check

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