May 6, 2002
By Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
In the days following the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush,
Attorney General John Ashcroft and numerous other government
officials and opinion leaders urged Americans not to take out their
frustrations on people and institutions of Arab or Muslim
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Jewish
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and no stranger to racist attacks,
joined the chorus. "We are disturbed that a number of Arab
Americans and Islamic institutions have been targets of anger and
hatred in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks," he said. "At
this time of profound anger and anxiety, no group in this country
should be singled out for hatred, prejudice or blame based on
… ethnicity or religion."
Such a message was sorely needed. According to the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Arab-American community
"experienced an unprecedented backlash in the form of hate crimes,
various forms of discrimination" and alleged civil liberties
violations following the Sept. 11 attacks.
ADC has assembled data for an upcoming report that documents
more than 600 violent incidents against Arab Americans, or those
perceived to be Arab Americans, since Sept. 11. The report also
chronicles 60 occasions on which people perceived to be Arabs were
removed from aircraft, 45 cases of violence against Arab students
-- 13 of them at the hands of faculty -- and 23 instances in which
Arab customers were discriminated against or denied service by
All of the examples of violence and bias -- to the degree they
are true -- are deplorable and go against everything America stands
for. This country was founded on the premise that people ought to
be judged on their merits, not their lineage. That is what makes
America unique among nations.
But let's be consistent.
Where is the outrage over similar acts of hatred and prejudice
It has been 18 months since Palestine Authority honcho Yasser
Arafat ordered a resumption of suicide bombings and other terrorist
attacks against Israel and more than a month since Israel finally
began to defend herself against the murders of innocent
Yet, not only do we not hear our leaders urging us not to
persecute American Jews for the situation in Israel, we see
anti-Jewish sentiment being condoned and actually encouraged in
College campuses nationwide have been the scene of anti-Israel
sloganeering and rallies. The Associated Press reports Jewish
students at the University of California at Berkeley have been
pelted with eggs as they leave religious services.
At Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, the student
newspaper, reporting on protests there, quotes a woman who claims
the Israeli military went into an all-female Palestinian hospital,
chose 30 women at random, accused them of being terrorists and
executed them. But when a professor of Jewish studies writes a
letter to the editor pointing out how ridiculous the story is and
how harmful such myths are to Arab-Jewish relations, the editors
refuse to print her letter.
Then, the third weekend of April, Washington, D.C. becomes the
scene of strident (if somewhat disjointed and disorganized)
anti-everything protests, with much of the anger aimed at
Yet we hear nothing from the White House, the Justice Department
or the ADC about the need to pull together and resist the
As we examine the ADC's report on post-Sept. 11 attacks on Arabs
in the United States, let's remember that the number of these
alleged offenses pales in comparison to the number of anti-Jewish
acts committed year after year in this country. The Anti-Defamation
League notes that 40 states and the District of Columbia together
reported 1,432 anti-Jewish incidents in 2001 (down from 1,606 such
incidents reported in 2000).
Alan Schwartz, ADL's research director, cautions against lumping
in legitimate political protest with anti-Semitism. Not all those
who oppose Israel's policies regarding the Palestinians wave
swastikas while doing so, he reminds us. But many do -- as the
recent attacks on synagogues in Spokane, Wash., and Key West, Fla.,
and a cemetery near Pittsburgh demonstrate.
And more will if we merely blink at what has happened in Europe
recently. There, anti-Semitic attacks have mushroomed, particularly
in France, where Jean-Marie LePen, who once called the Holocaust "a
detail" of history, is in a runoff for the presidency.
Hate is always wrong. Prejudice is always un-American. It's time
for all Americans, including Arab-Americans, to be heard loud and
clear denouncing prejudice and hatred in all their forms, against
Muslims and Jews.
Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation, a
Washington-based public policy research institute.
Hate is Hate
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
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