Some people think the vicious attacks on Jews happen only in Times Square or in Los Angeles restaurants. Not so. They think the apologists for these crimes are limited to the Squad and extreme leftists, some of whom actually tweeted it is wrong even to condemn anti-Semitism. That sewer of hatred would be dreadful enough, but the problem is bigger than that.

The thugs on the street have some ideological backing from the mainstream media and, of course, universities. Take a truly noxious cartoon in the Boston Globe, one of America’s most prominent newspapers. It appeared in the May 22 print edition (page A9) and online on May 21. The drawing and text by Christopher Weyant efficiently consolidated elite hatred of Israel and Jews into a neat, toxic mix.

It is shameful that the Boston Globe printed it and tried to ensure its national distribution by posting it as an official newspaper tweet. The tweet was still live on May 25. Spewing this hatred is not a problem, for the Globe or Twitter, apparently.

The cartoon is both vile and factually incorrect. More important, it is exactly what modern, intellectual anti-Semitism looks like. The idea is to link the Jewish state to deliberate, willful killing of innocents, to inhumanity and brutal militarism.

In what ways is the cartoon wrong?

First, contrary to the drawing, Israel’s air campaign made every effort to avoid civilian casualties. Even a cursory investigation by the artist and the Boston Globe’s editorial page editors would have demonstrated that point. Either they didn’t bother to look, or they ignored the inconvenient facts because they undermined their editorial viewpoint.

Avoiding civilians is no easy task for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) since Hamas’s basic strategy is to use civilian shields. It is no accident that they hide their offices, leaders and weapons in schools, homes, businesses, playgrounds and mosques. It’s their standard policy. The Associated Press may not have known that Hamas had offices in its building, but apparently it was no secret. Obama’s press spokesman in Washington, thousands of miles from Gaza, knew it because he had spoken to people in the building. It’s one thing for AP reporters to stay silent because they were scared of being killed by terrorists. It’s quite another for the organization’s CEO to claim, flatly, that there were no terrorist officials in the building. The Babylon Bee had it right in their helpful article, ‘Eight Warning Signs You Might Be Sharing Office Space with Terrorists’. When Israel did decide to take out the building, it gave everyone advance warning so they could exit the premises, knowing that allowed terrorists to escape as well.

Second, Israel never used ground forces in Gaza, much less tanks. So the cartoon’s entire premise — a tank rolling over an innocent civilian — is false. It must have been deliberately false since the absence of a ground invasion was well known. Again, the cartoonists and Globe editors didn’t want an inconvenient fact to undermine their viewpoint. So they ignored it.

Third, the cartoon implies that the violence is entirely Israel’s fault. Whatever you think of the tangled, decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the 2021 conflict in Gaza began when Hamas, without provocation, fired hundreds of rockets at civilian targets such as residential neighborhoods. Ultimately, Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli towns, schools and hospitals. The idea was to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome defense, which still managed to intercept some 90 percent of them. Some, however, did get through and kill civilians.  The IDF did not strike Gaza until after Hamas began firing those rockets. The Squad, Bernie Sanders and the progressive left oppose the Biden administration’s plan to sell Israel more defense rockets to replace those used in the latest conflict. They literally oppose defending Israelis, both Jewish and Muslim, against terrorist rockets.

As it happened, many of Hamas’s rockets never made it out of Gaza this time. They were so poorly constructed that they exploded within the Gaza Strip and killed civilians there. We still don’t know how many died that way. The media simply lump together everyone who died in Gaza without showing how many were killed by Hamas’s own rockets and how many were Hamas terrorists, killed by the IDF.

Who supplied Hamas with the technology, training and funding for these rockets? Oh, make a guess. Iran has bragged about the lethal aid it gave Hamas. Hamas, in turn, has thanked its patrons in the Islamic State of Iran.

So far, the Biden administration hasn’t said ‘boo’ about Iran’s pernicious role in this conflict. They must figure it would impede their larger goal of reentering the nuclear deal with Iran. Tehran will, rightly, read that not only as weakness but as desperation to reenter to deal.

Fourth, the cartoon’s depiction of an Israeli tank deliberately driving over a person waving a Palestinian flag is anti-Semitism at its most vile. Although the cartoonist and his editors may have been too ignorant to know it, their drawing is eerily reminiscent of the medieval blood-libel that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood in unleavened Passover bread. The theme: Jews kill innocents for their malign purposes.

boston globe

A 1493 wood carving shows ‘Simon of Trent’ being bled to death by Jews

The Globe should be ashamed of its role in perpetuating these vile, anti-Semitic tropes. It should say so publicly. It should say why, in detail, why it does so. It should say exactly what actions it intends to take. Silence is not enough. Neither is a passive sentence like ‘Mistakes were made’.

There is larger trouble afoot here. What we are seeing is the predictable outcome of divisive ethnic/racial identity politics, based squarely on hatred, resentment and imputed guilt. What we are seeing is the refusal of leaders in government and private organizations to take firm action to restore the basic norms of a tolerant, liberal society. Worse, most are taking a knee and bending to the worst ideologues.

The canaries in the coal mine are Jews (as usual) and Asian Americans (a new addition). The toxic fumes are coming not just from clueless crazies on the extremes. They are coming from once-respectable institutions like the Boston Globe. They should bear the shame.