The recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S. has been coupled with a new, dangerous phenomenon as American institutions’ condemnation of crimes against Jews have been walked back in the age of woke-ness and the radical left controls the Democratic agenda, says Dov Hikind.
Hikind, a former New York state assemblyman and founder of the grassroots coalition Americans Against Antisemitism, said in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital that he personally has received calls from members of the Jewish community who were approached by individuals screaming anti-Semitic comments at them on the streets of New York. Hikind said many victims were scared to report incidents to the police out of fear their names would eventually become public – putting them at risk of future harassment.
"I think that’s part of the problem with social media. People are being intimidated, threatened," Hikind said. "When you start getting threatened and you go public and you say things, and the next thing your life is being threatened with the nastiest things on social media. It creates even more fear."
"This is the United States of America, for God’s sake, and it’s out of control," he added. "When it comes to the Jewish community, when it comes to anti-Semitism, it clearly is not being treated as other hate crimes."
Speaking over the phone from Jerusalem, Hikind said there’s often a race on Twitter and Facebook to take down material shared by the political right – but the same standard is not upheld with anti-Semitic comments seen online. Amid the resurgence of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip earlier last month, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tracked more than 17,000 tweets with a variation of the phrase "Hitler was right."
During the first two weeks of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in early May, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. reported to ADL increased by 75% compared to the two weeks before the fighting began, from 127 to 222, according to preliminary data. Incidents have taken place at or around the approximately 200 pro-Palestinian rallies held across the U.S. since May 16. Others include synagogues being targeting with vandalism or threatening emails equating Israel with racism, apartheid or genocide.
"All of this hate going on right now is a completely different standard. I served in office for 36 years in New York. My mother went to Auschwitz and lost her mother and most of her family to the gas chambers. Hate is a very dangerous thing," Hikind said. "When you let it pass by, it starts with verbal, then it becomes assault, then it leads to other terrible things. Unfortunately, we’re still not taking it as seriously as we should, especially within the Democratic Party."
Hikind said that President Biden – though "he reacted a little late" – has now responded twice to the rise in anti-Semitism seen across the country. The former assemblyman said: "There’s such hate and I haven’t seen such hate in a long time, and this time the left cannot blame it on the alternate right, they can’t blame it on Trump, they can’t blame it on anyone except themselves."
In a statement on Friday, Biden condemned anti-Semitic attacks seen across the U.S. as "despicable, unconscionable, un-American," adding that "they must stop."
"I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice," the president said. "We cannot allow the toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories to put our fellow Americans at risk."
Hikind said the political left – namely Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Bernie Sanders among others – are controlling the agenda of the Democratic Party, whereas "a lot of other so-called decent people are missing in action." Jewish members of Congress such as Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Sen. Chuck Schumer have remained silent and might be intimated by the left, he speculated.
"In the case of Schumer, the only thing he cares about right now is not having AOC run against him for the U.S. Senate next year," Hikind said. "You have those committing horrible acts by encouraging that behavior and then you have good people who are rather silent… You watch the rhetoric is so hateful, horrible and scary and has created a tremendous amount of fear among the Jewish community."
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted on May 21 that she would not ever tolerate anti-Semitism in New York or anywhere in the world. She called the recent surge in attacks "horrifying," adding: "We stand with our Jewish communities in condemning this violence."
But the message came after she spent a week criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians during Ramadan and backed a House resolution opposing the sale of $735 million in American-made weapons to the Israeli government. She also accused the Jewish State of carrying out "apartheid."
As for Schumer, in recent days he has condemned anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. – though hasn't mentioned Israel-Hamas fighting in unilateral press releases, social media posts or on the Senate floor, remaining very low key in his response to the fighting and subsequent cease-fire.
"Sen. Schumer condemns in the strongest possible terms any and all anti-Semitic attacks in New York and across the country," a spokesman for the majority leader told Fox News last week. "Confronting anti-Semitism ought not to be a partisan issue and these awful recent attacks as reported as wrong, plain and simple."
His spokesman reiterated to Fox News on Tuesday that Schumer is an original cosponsor of a bipartisan Senate resolution introduced last week "unequivocally condemning the recent rise in Anti-Semitic violence and harassment targeting Jewish Americans, and standing in solidarity with those affected by antisemitism, and for other purposes." He also pointed to Schumer’s successful advocacy for the nonprofit security grant program securing federal funds to add security cameras and other protective measures at synagogues, day schools and other Jewish religious institutions.
Last week, the White House had denounced incidents where windows were broken at a Jewish-owned business in Manhattan, a swastika was carved into a synagogue in Salt Lake City, families were threatened outside a Los Angeles restaurant, and museums in Florida and Alaska dedicated to remembering the Holocaust were vandalized with anti-Jewish messages.
Though the highest office offered condemnation, Hikind says there’s still fallout from incidents, such as a public school principal in Brooklyn sending an email to staff members to support pro-Palestinian protests in New York City as part of "anti-racist education."
"This is a phenomena we’ve never seen before. Emails being circulated by government institutions to the people that work for those government institutions with vile, radical conversation and attacks upon Israel and about the people of Israel, government of Israel about defending itself," he said.
He also pointed to Rutgers University, which issued an apology to its pro-Palestinian students after school officials first denounced the rise in anti-Semitism after a fraternity house was egged during Holocaust remembrance event. Hikind argued that a double standard exists within the Democratic Party when addressing crimes targeting the Black community versus the Jewish community.
"When it comes to hate against the Black community, everyone defines it as hate against the Black community. When it comes to the Jewish community, it’s hate against everybody, which diminishes it unquestionably," Hikind said. "All these radical leftists of the Democratic Party, even those who have come out against anti-Semitism, each of them talk about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. … Now, I haven’t noticed any Islamophobia recently, I haven’t seen any attacks upon the Muslim community. I’ve seen from the Muslim community upon Jews."
Hikind cited an incident where two Jewish teens were beaten with baseball bats in Brooklyn by a group of people who demanded they chant "Free Palestine." Another involved a Jewish EMS worker from New York who was allegedly assaulted while vacationing on the Las Vegas strip.
Hikind said he received a call from the victim, Paul Lebowitz, because "he was trying to get the police to deal with what happened to him and he wasn’t getting much cooperation." Hikind said it wasn’t until Americans Against Antisemitism mentioned the Las Vegas assault on Twitter that five networks picked up the story and the incident received more attention from law enforcement.
"He had to reach out to me from Vegas – he said ‘look, the police are not interested,'" Hikind said. "Sometimes I understand that the police would like to minimize these things, but he wasn’t getting any reaction, any support until we got involved."
Hikind said he traveled to Jerusalem to show support following an 11-day war earlier in May. On Sunday, Egypt and Israel held high-level talks in both countries to shore up a fragile truce between Israel and the Hamas militant group and rebuild the Gaza Strip.
The conflict halted by a cease-fire on May 21 was triggered by weeks of protests and clashes in Jerusalem over Israel's policing of a flashpoint holy site and efforts by settler groups to evict Palestinian families in the nearby Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Hamas had fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians from Palestinian homes, hospitals and schools, Israeli Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar argued last week after the United Nations’ Human Rights Council approved an unprecedented probe into possible Israeli war crimes during the conflict.
More than 250 people were killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians living in Hamas-ruled Gaza. In Gaza, at least 66 children and 39 women killed. In Israel, 12 people also died, including two children.
"It’s one thing to sit back in America, Bernie Sanders, and talk about what’s going on here but when you’re here and hear the sirens go off, which means a missile is coming -- being here and watching mothers with little babies running to shelters – that’s something that I think the average person can’t even imagine," Hikind said. "And that’s what happens, millions of Israelis forced into shelters as result of missiles shot at the civilian population. The blame belongs to terrorists using civilian population
"No one needs to apologize for the fact that more Jews were not murdered. That’s ridiculous. That’s outrageous. I don’t understand, it’s like the whole world is upside down."
Fox News also reached out to Sanders’ and Ocasio-Cortez’ offices for comment but did not immediately receive responses.
Fox News' Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.