You might have forgotten.
After it saw the potential in attacking Trump for alleged ties to Russia, the media apparently dropped the "Trump encourages antisemitism!" meme and decided to pursue a more promising line of attack.
But over the course of one week, from February 15 through 21, the media claimed antisemitism was on the rise because of Trump, and The Washington Post featured pieces such as these:
- Trump was asked a question about anti-Semitism. His answer was about the electoral college.
- A CNN panel debates the president’s anti-Semitism trump card: His daughter Ivanka
- President Trump thinks asking him to condemn anti-Semitism is ‘insulting.’ Why?
- Why was it so darned hard to get Trump to condemn anti-Semitism?
- A brief history of Donald Trump addressing questions about racism and anti-Semitism
...I’ve been rather taken aback by the panic in the Jewish community over American anti-Semitism since Donald Trump won the election. The recent spate of hoax bombing threats to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions around the country has been a precipitating factor, but the fear is drastically out of proportion to the threat; no bombs have been found, and there are no indications that there is any real physical threat to Jews.Meanwhile, from February 21 to 23, The New York Times chimed in with:
- At Jewish Cemetery, Seeking Answers Amid Heartbreak
- The New American Anti-Semitism
- When Hate Haunts a Graveyard
Well -- good news!
Judging by the media's change in focus over the last few months, antisemitism is apparently no longer a problem.
Or is it just that the media has gone back to ignoring antisemitism again?
That would explain the media's reaction to 2 actual cases of antisemitism, cases that cannot be blamed on Donald Trump.
|Imam Ammar Shahin. Source: YouTube screenshot|
On July 21, Imam Ammar Shahin delivered a sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis, northern California -- inciting hatred against Jews:
Allah does not change the situation of people 'until they change their own situation.' The Prophet Muhammad said: 'Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah...' They will not say: Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani. The Prophet Muhammad says that they time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don't say if it is in Palestine or another place. Until they fight... When that war breaks out, they will run and hide behind every rock, and house, and wall, and trees. The house, the wall, and the trees will call upon the Muslims. It will say: Oh Muslim... It will not say: Oh Palestinian, oh Egyptian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani, oh Indian... No, it will say: Oh Muslim. Muslim. When Muslims come back... 'Come, there is someone behind me – except for the Gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews. Except for a certain tree that they are growing today in Palestine, in that area, except this form of tree, which they are growing today... That's the tree that will not speak to the Muslims. [emphasis added]In that sermon, Shahin quotes a Hadith known for its inclusion by Hamas terrorists in their charter:
The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)While he does not quote the last part about the trees telling Muslims to kill the Jews, Shahin's audience that day was likely familiar with the Hadith and could guess the point he was making, based on the rest of his sermon.
Jews in the area got the Imam's point too:
“He spelled out what he wishes for every Muslim who follows the Quran and the Hadith to follow what the Hadith says which is …find the Jews hiding behind trees and stones and kill them,” said Sorele Brownstein.Following the outcry over his sermon, and before his "apology" Shahin's gave an interview to CBS News -- and Shahin was not inclined to be apologetic:
“To me, it’s clear this is direct incitement,” said Shmary Brownstein.
Rabbi Shmary Brownstein and his wife Sorele are the leaders of the Chabad in Davis. They say they’ve been on guard since the video was posted online. Their family is now being harassed by drivers passing by their home, which is also a house of worship.
The mosque where Shahin preaches was also not in an apologizing mood:
The mosque said in a statement Tuesday: “MEMRI, an extremist agenda driven organization that supports Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and other Islamophobic news organizations, accused Imam Shahin of anti-Semitism, quoting edited, mistranslated, passages of the sermon out of context.Only after the outcry persisted, did Shahin finally apologize.
“If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended,” it said. “We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony.” [emphasis added]
Meanwhile, on the same day Shahin preached against Jews, another California Imam, Mahmoud Harmoush, was praying for the destruction of Israel:
"Between World War I and World War II, so much of the immigration that came from Europe toward the Islamic world, whether North Africa or the Mediterranean area – Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and all of this... Muslims were opening their homes and saying: Those are our brethren, persecuted by the Christians in Europe. The Jews were coming from Germany, Poland, Italy, and everywhere else, and [the Muslims] would give them rooms, shelter them, and help them out, not knowing that there was a plan. Within the thirty years between the two incidents, until 1948 and the British occupation, everything was plotted to take over that beautiful land, in the way that we all know – with killing, crime, and massacres..."One brother sent me a video, showing a naked woman walking into the holy mosque under the occupation forces, just to insult more and more the psyche, honor, and dignity of the Muslims..."Allah wants us to have jihad in our lives, no matter what and where we are and what is happening. That's until in our hearts, we accept what is true and we reject what is false..."When you happen to be in Jerusalem, for example, around the holy mosque, and people are shooting you, putting you in the hospital, or killing you, you have to resist and fight back as much as you can. Otherwise our life will be meaningless..."Dear brothers and sisters, the conflict is not only in Palestine. They are going there, and they will be demanding that next..."I promise you, it is not only Palestine. If you are going to be like that, most of the Middle East, and even, as I said, Mecca and Medina...They will say: 'Muhammad has died. He left only daughters.' Muhammad died, and he left female children, who cannot fight. Then they will call, in their fighting: 'Oh, we will take revenge for Khaybar.' Where is Khaybar? They will go back to it. They will make every Muslim pay, one way or the other. Wake up, it is time to be a Muslim. Prayer is not the only thing..."Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Muslim lands from the unjust tyrants and the occupiers. Oh Allah, destroy them, they are no match for You. Oh Allah, disperse them, and rend them asunder. Turn them into booty in the hands of the Muslims. [emphasis]Like Shahin, Harmoush, does not directly mention Israel; he directs their hatred -- and Allah's destruction -- toward Jews.
So how did the media -- the same media that was so concerned about antisemitism early in the year -- react to these antisemitic sermons?
The reaction of the Washington Post was not to report on the antisemitic sermon when it was actually given. Instead, the newspaper waited until after Shahin finally apologized.
At Legal Insurrection, David Gerstman wrote that the Washington Post whitewashes California Imam’s “Annihilate the Jews” sermon:
For a full week The Washington Post was silent about this crude anti-Semitism. Only a week later did the Post cover it and a number of things are readily apparent.The false claim referred to is that Israel supposedly closed the Al Aqsa Mosque. The truth is that it was closed at first after Arab terrorists killed 2 Israeli guards at the Temple Mount, while Israel finished its investigation. The Al Aqsa Mosque was then reopened, but Muslims were urged by the Waqf not to enter, because of the cameras and metal detectors installed for security.
The first two items are related. The news, which was first reported by MEMRI, on July 21 was that two California imams gave virulently anti-Semitic speeches calling for the killing of the Jews. That was the news.
- The Post only reported once Shahin offered a dubious apology.
- The Post never reported on Harmoush’s sermon. Harmoush did not apologize.
- The Post reported uncritically a false claim made by Shahin and one of his supporters.
- The Post got an expert to reinterpret part of his sermon so that it was somewhat less offensive.
The expert reinterpretation referred to was done by Nair Harb Michel, who basically substituted "desecrations of the Jews" for "filth of the Jews" and "defeat each of them" for "annihilate them".
Gerstman also notices that the reporter, Boorstein, acknowledges receiving a statement from Shahin on Wednesday -- 2 days before her article came out -- but held off until Shahin officially offered his public "apology". Again, The Washington Post appeared more interested in the damage control than in reporting about the kind of antisemitism they were apparently so keen on reporting earlier this year.
But regardless of how you translate the sermon, the fact remains that Shahin quoted a Hadith which clearly describes, if not encourages, killing Jews.
The Washington Post was not the only newspaper to play down the threatening nature of Shahin's sermon.
CAMERA noted that the Sacramento Bee Sanitizes Anti-Semitic Sermon. Among the criticisms made about the newspaper story:
- The Sacramento Bee reported the sermon's content as "Islamic texts about an end-times battle," deliberately concealing from its readers Shahin's actual language about Muslims fighting Jews.
- The Sacramento Bee reported that Mosque officials claimed the imam was mistranslated and thus taken out of context, yet in his sermon Shahin made statements about a "corrupted" Jewish Torah and the "Muslims fight the Jews," which were made in English and clearly illustrate his intent.
- The reporter, Anita Chabria, asked University of California, Berkeley, Near East professor Hatem Bazian to check the MEMRI translation, which he said "missed nuanced distinctions". However, CAMERA notes that Bazian
is the founder of the radical anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine, slurs Israel as an apartheid state, and is affiliated with, and fund-raised for, groups and individuals that have illegally financed Hamas, a designated terror organization committed to Israel's destruction.
CAMERA also refers to MEMRI, which notes that Shahin's sermon from the previous week was along the same antisemitic lines:
May Allah protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the harm of the Jews. Oh Allah, protect our brothers in the land of Palestine. Oh Allah, let us pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque before we die. Oh Allah, allow Jerusalem to be liberated. Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah, show us the wonders of Your ability that you inflict upon them. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon them. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon those who wish ill upon [the Al-Aqsa] Mosque. Oh Allah, keep them preoccupied with one another, and make a deterrent example out of them. Oh Allah, count them one by one and destroy them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them. Oh Allah, destroy them and do not spare their young or their elderly. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon those who occupy Palestine. Oh Allah, show us the wonders of Your ability that you inflict upon them. Oh Allah, turn Jerusalem and Palestine into a graveyard for the Jews.On the other hand, The New York Times settled for a bare-bones report about the sermon, provided by the Associated Press. It noted:
In a July 21 sermon, Shahin condoned the annihilation of Jews and those restricting access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.The truth of course is that Shahin did not condone the annihilation of Jews -- he was encouraging it. His apology is noted, but leaves unclear how an imam can talk about annihilating Jews yet can apologize -- and apparently have his apology accepted.
As opposed to The Washington Post (30 paragraphs) and the Sacramento Bee (23 paragraphs) which go into depth in their whitewash of Shahin's sermon, The New York Times uses the AP story, which amounts to playing down the incident in 9 short paragraphs, as if the whole thing is not worth the reader's attention.
How did Jew-hatred suddenly become so unworthy of being considered a news item?
Trump should only be so lucky.
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