The recent events in Colleyville Texas at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue are a clear reminder of the growing antisemitism we are witnessing today where Jews are targeted just because they are Jews. Four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, were held by Malik Faisal Akram for 11 hours at the synagogue before being freed by the FBI’s hostage rescue team. Akram was calling for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, aka “Lady al Qaeda,” Sam Westrop gives insight into Siddiqui, “who demanded that Jews be excluded from the jury, claiming the entire prosecution had been orchestrated by unnamed “Jews.” She was sentenced in 2010 to 86 years in prison, after the jury found that “Siddiqui attempted to murder Americans serving in Afghanistan, as well as their Afghan colleagues.”
One of the more disturbing observations made following the attack was that the authorities indicated that the hostage taker’s demands were not specifically connected to the Jewish community as Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI‘s Dallas office, reportedly stated that “we do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community.”
Antisemitism always needs to be called out. Attempts to “normalize” Jew hatred is a growing trend amongst groups and individuals who combine their antisemitism with a broader view thereby minimizing the antisemitc focus and allowing them to be part of groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS or other Islamist groups. Yet, in tandem they get to use their hatred of Jews as the embodiment of all evils.
On a separate note, we would to like acknowledge the passing of SPME’s first CPA, Kim Ledger who passed away in November and express our gratitude for all his work in SPME’s early years.
As always, we would love to hear from you and welcome your feedback and article submissions.
Asaf Romirowsky, PhD