Monday, January 31, 2022







        When a flash mob of flag-bearing Palestinian activists attacked Jewish diners outside a Los Angeles delicatessen last summer, they shouted they were reacting to the fact that Jews in Israel had the temerity to defend themselves.


They didn’t say it quite that way, but that’s what they meant. The motive was similar when outright anti-Semites distributed propaganda pamphlets and posters to homes and public buildings in cities like San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Santa Monica just before last month’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The materials falsely claimed “The Covid Agenda is Jewish,” even declaiming that some non-Jewish scientists it vilified are in fact Jews.


As in most anti-Semitic hate crimes, police responded with mere token efforts to identify and punish the perpetrators.


The Palestinian-expressed notion that Jews, wherever they live, should not defend themselves also seems an underlying reality of the current battle over demands that school districts, churches, state pension funds and the faculties of universities and colleges cut ties with the world’s only Jewish state, Israel.


        That fight flared anew here during and after the latest major exchange of bombardments between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that rules the city of Gaza, evacuated by Israel years ago to end its occupation.


        News accounts of causes for that conflict were sketchy at best, reporting it was sparked by an Israeli effort to evict some Palestinians from homes they’ve occupied for generations in Jerusalem.


In fact, the properties belonged to Jews for decades before the 1948 war in which the armies of seven Arab countries invaded Israel, with Jordanians seizing the buildings. The previous Jewish owners took back possession when Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War.


        Today’s Palestinian residents – still living there – refuse to pay rent, so owners sought last spring to oust them in a private action not involving the government.


        Hundreds of Palestinians reacted by gathering at the Al Aqsa Mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, hurling rocks at crowds of Jews praying before the base of the Western Wall about 60 feet directly below the mosque. Police moved in to stop the stoning.


        Hamas answered with rocket fire from Gaza, countered by Israel’s air attacks on Hamas terror facilities, which often include weapons dumps in apartments or tunnels dug below homes, hospitals and school buildings in Gaza.


        The conflict fueled a wave of crimes against Jewish Americans, especially in California. In 2021, more than 80 percent of reported religious hate crimes in this state targeted Jews.


The upsurge in California anti-Semitism is part of a national picture dramatically played out in last month’s Texas synagogue hostage-taking.


        There has been no anti-Semitic shooting or hostage situation in California since a 2019 synagogue murder in Poway. But thousands of demonstrators marched multiple times last year in California demanding Israel’s demise. The state saw a 40 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate incidents during 2020; they rose far more sharply after the latest Gaza conflict.


        Did the demonstrators and hate criminals expect Jews in Israel not to retaliate for deadly rocket fire?


        Similarly, do education bureaucrats expect Jews to capitulate to them as they minimize Jewish American achievements in California while pushing the state’s new ethnic studies mandate.?


        That curriculum lionizes figures from the late 1960s prime of the often-violent Black Panthers, including onetime Panther leader Bobby Seale, but ignores California Jews who played key roles in shaping cities like San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, including Levi Strauss, John Jones, Adolph Sutro and Florence Kahn.


        The battle over Israeli self-defense continues, too, with the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the state’s largest local teachers’ union, still undecided on a resolution demanding this country boycott, sanction and divest from Israel because of its “apartheid and war crimes.”


        The resolution ignores war crimes Hamas commits by hiding ammunition dumps behind innocents.


        Palestinians, and especially their allies on college campuses, right now are unhappy when Israel defends itself effectively. That's a big shift for the world's Jews, whowere intimidated for centuries when pogroms and inquisitions victimized them, ending in the Holocaust. But no longer.

    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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