When asked about a rise in antiseitism, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during an Oct. 22 White House press conference that there was no credible, specific threat to Jews and quickly pivoted to Islamophobia, saying that “Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks.”
As a reminder, on Oct. 7, 1,400 innocent Jews were massacred, tortured, raped, and some taken hostage. Hamas, the radical Islamic group responsible for the program, still has over 200 hostages, approximately 30 of whom are babies.
In the wake of the attacks, synagogues were attacked everywhere, from my in-laws’ homeland of Tunisia (home today to only 1,000 Jews), to Spain and Germany. In London, 100,000 protesters showed support for Hamas. In my home country of France, 15,000 people paraded on the Place de la Republique, demonstrating their support for murdering innocent civilians and torturing children. There was a massive demonstration in New York City and across elite college campuses in the United States.
Jean-Pierre’s comment was not just insensitive in the wake of barbarism, but statistics show us that it isn’t true. According to the FBI’s 2022 Hate Crime Statistics, 1,124 religious-based hate crime victims were Jewish, and 158 were Muslim. Over the past five years, there were 4,706 anti-Jewish hate crimes victims and 817 anti-Muslim hate crime victims.
Ok, well maybe there are just five to seven times more Jews than Muslims in the country. Nope. Jews make up 2.4 percent of the United States adult population, and just Muslims 1.1 percent.
Now is a good time to remind everyone of the hijab hoax in which a young woman filed a false police report, claiming that three rabid Trump supporters ripped off her hijab on the subway. It turned out she had lied to avoid getting in trouble with her parents, which is understandable given that she appeared in court with a shaved head, the preferred punishment of her strict Muslim family.
France, where I live, is home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, according to Pew Research. And just like in the U.S., France’s Muslims do not experience an outsized number of hate crimes. Half of all victims of religious hate crimes in France are Christian, followed by Jews at 37 percent and Muslims at 12.5 percent. France’s religious breakdown is as follows: 29 percent of the population is Catholic, 10 percent Muslim, and Jews make up less than 0.1 percent.
To be clear, one hate crime victim is one too many. But claiming that a specter of Islamophobia looms over the West is not grounded in fact, but is a helpful myth for radical Islamic terrorists and the useful idiots unwilling to call radical Islam what it is: a threat to freedom.
A 2018 Tablet article explains that “Islamophobia” accusations are often used to silence critics of Islam, casting their critiques as “racism” (despite Islam not being a race) or “oppression.” Attacking a mosque or harassing a woman for wearing a hijab have no place in a liberal society and must be condemned by society and punished by the law. But, that does not preclude legitimate, thoughtful critiques of bad ideas.
“What terrifies me is if ISIS were to detonate a nuclear device and kill 50 million Americans. Imagine the backlash against peaceful Muslims?” Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald quipped in 2016.
If the recent White House press conference is any sign, our society has turned that joke into its official policy.