“Is Antisemitism Good for Business?”

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Is Antisemitism Good for Business?

By Norman B. Gildin

This essay poses the question, “Is Antisemitism Good for Business?” It is at minimum a provocative and cynical insinuation, and at best, a distasteful intimation. Of course, Antisemitism is pure evil. But we know all too well that every crisis brings fundraising winners, as well as losers. So, let’s go back in time.

The tectonic plates shifted on October 7, 2023. That day, the Richter scale needle flew off the charts. The earthquake we felt, however, wasn’t Mother Nature’s physical tremors or volcanic activity. Instead, it was an upheaval caused by the horrific massacre in Israel perpetrated by Hamas. To quote from President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, that day will go down as “a date which will live in infamy.” Much like December 7th and the aftermath of 9/11/2001, life would no longer be the same.

What also occurred after October 7th in the United States (U.S.) and globally was the violent unleashing of Antisemitism, unlike most of us had experienced in our lifetimes. “Pro-Hamas” protesters emerged from the woodwork in sinister ways not seen since Nazi Germany’s early days. “From the River to the Sea” has become the malevolent mantra of people who are clueless about what the slogan even means. Here, in Israel, and worldwide, it is a subterfuge for the genocide of Jews. Social media and the print and electronic news media have become dim-witted stooges for the propagation of anti-Semitic vitriol concerning to all civilized societies. Make no mistake about it. There is a seamless connection between anti-Zionism, anti-Israel and Antisemitism. Anti-Jewish is what they mean. Some may disagree with this premise, but it is accurate.

Let’s also not argue with semantics. Growing up in Washington, D.C., I learned to use precise terminology from an attorney friend. He would ask, “How can you accuse people from the Middle East of being anti-Semitic? Arabs are Semites. Therefore, how can they be anti-Semites? The truth is, Semites are not just Arabs. They belong to diverse ethnic groups and languages in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. Let me be clear. In my understanding of anti-Semites, such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad, I refer to populations that are anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish. Case closed.

A Historical Perspective on Antisemitism

During his lifetime, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks explored the etiology of Antisemitism. He suggests where the roots of Antisemitism lie. In his work Covenants & Conversations: Genesis, he cites a well-known book on Antisemitism titled World on Fire by Amy Chua, an American legal scholar and author. She lists three conditions that breed Antisemitism:

1. The hated group must be conspicuous or else it won’t stand out.

2. In order to be envied, it must be successful.

3. It is a minority and likely will be attacked.

These conditions apply to the Jewish people to a “t.”

In addition, he references Hannah Arendt, born into a Jewish family in Germany and another author and philosopher. Her book “The Origins of Totalitarianism” offers one more compelling condition: Hostility toward Jews becomes dangerous not when they are strong, but when they are weak. She should know. Her firsthand experience of Antisemitism in Germany was devastating. Before fleeing from the Nazis, the Gestapo arrested her, and she spent some time in prison. In those days, most Jews were passive and not in a position to fight back because they felt safe. It was difficult then to predict Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

History has witnessed all four conditions throughout different countries and during many eras, such as Babylon, Egypt, the Roman Empire and Greek civilization.They also were present during the Medieval Ages, in Russia, Eastern Europe, Germany, and Arab and Muslim countries. A close examination of Jewish persecution over the centuries will confirm these ubiquitous conditions. The past doesn’t lie.

The Origins of Antisemitism

Rabbi Sacks further suggests that Antisemitism has its roots in Genesis 26, 14-21. The story describes Isaac’s herdsmen quarreling with Gerar’s shepherds over water used by their flocks in the wells.

This passage suggests that Jew loathing - animosity toward Jews as an ethnic group - has been around for thousands of years. It is also unmistakable in this reading that Chua and Arendt’s conditions predominate. Here’s how.

1. Isaac was conspicuous—a stranger in the Philistines’ land. His status was that of an outsider. He stood out from the crowd. Unlike indigenous people, he held a different faith. Also, unlike the Philistines, he didn’t worship pagan gods.

2. He achieved success. As his flock and cattle grew, he prospered. The crops he planted multiplied in size. The locals, whose harvests failed, envied his success. Even during a famine, Isaac’s crops were successful, according to some commentaries. His produce flourished despite a severe drought.

3. As a minority, he was marginalized. Isaac lived in a foreign country with a strange culture. The native population vastly outnumbered Isaac’s household.

4. Isaac was wealthy, but he lacked power. He was weak. Weak enough to cause incidents at the wells. It was Isaac who continued dug wells successfully. However, the herdsmen of Gerar continued to oppose him. After the shepherds blocked the first two wells, Isaac was powerless to defeat them. This was the birthplace of Antisemitism. A scholar and professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Robert S. Wistrich, called Antisemitism “the world’s longest hatred.”

My First Encounters with Antisemitism

I never excelled at math. In fact, I was terrible. So much so that when I took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in math to determine my college readiness, I scored 300 out of 800. You get that just for entering your name. One year, I failed math in grade school and had to take a summer make-up class to graduate. Not one of my proudest moments. The remedial math course was offered at MacFarland Middle School in Washington, D.C.

I wore my kippah (yarmulke) everywhere I went. At the end of one school day, I headed over to my bus and innocently sidled next to busses transporting other kids. Suddenly, I felt a painful blow to the left side of my head. It sent me reeling to the ground and knocked the kippah off my head. I turned around, to my horror, and noticed some kids on one bus had opened their windows and were reaching out to smack me. The bus erupted with screams of laughter as they witnessed my tumble. Kids yelled expletives at me, including “Filthy Jew,” “Kike,” and other ethnic slurs. It was an unnerving moment in my life. The experience also opened my eyes to Antisemitism. In the years that followed, I usually wore a baseball cap whenever I traveled in public because of this incident.

Being raised by a Holocaust survivor mother and a father who came from Ukraine, where his family suffered pogroms, further solidified my impressions of Antisemitism. Throughout my life, this unambiguous outlook has guided me.

Fast Forward to the Present

Today, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have dramatically increased compared to others. In an October 17, 2023 article, Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reported on an FBI study that “Jews again faced the most hate crimes of any religious group in 2022.”

He continued, “There were 1,305 offenses committed against Jews in 2022, the FBI reported in its tally Monday of national crime statistics, far outnumbering the second-largest category, anti-Muslim crimes, of which there were 205. That disparity is consistent with years of hate crimes reporting showing that Jewish victims far outnumber other religious targets. Broken down according to category, there were 775 cases of anti-Jewish destruction, damage or vandalism of property; 358 cases of intimidation; 103 cases of simple assault; 38 cases of aggravated assault; and eight cases of larceny or theft.”

Disparities in reported numbers, however, are difficult to reconcile. Here is one example: CNN’s Krystina Shveda stated on March 23, 2023, that “Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. are at the highest level recorded since the 1970s.” Sharing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) data, she said, “The incidents including assault, vandalism and harassment increased by more than a third in just one year and reached nearly 3,700 cases in 2022, a new ADL report found. And the upward trend is alarming.” Experts said that the FBI statistics are “notoriously under reported.”

Reutersreported on October 31, 2023, that “Anti-Semitic incidents had risen by about 400% in the two weeks following the Oct. 7 attack, compared with the same period last year.”

On January 10, 2024, a headline in i24NEWS stated that “Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. have risen by 360% since October 7th.” In addition, the ADL “… tracked a total of 3,283 incidents within the three months. During the same period a year before, the U.S. observed 712 incidents.” The ADL also concluded that “… at least 505 anti-Semitic incidents occurred on college campuses ….”

A wave of unabashed, bald-faced anti-Semitic attacks swept across college campuses following October 7th. They occurred with such frequency and furor that Jewish students no longer felt safe in institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Stanford University and Columbia University, among many others. The Associated Press (AP) reported on December 9, 2023, that “The University of Pennsylvania’s president has resigned amid pressure from donors and criticism over testimony at a congressional hearing where she was unable to say under repeated questioning that calls on campus for the genocide of Jews would violate the school’s conduct policy.”

Harvard University president, Dr. Claudine Gay, resigned almost a month later for similar reasons, as well as for plagiarism allegations. In a January 2, 2024, story in the New York Post, the Harvard Chabad rabbi said they were told by the University to ‘hide’ their Chanukah menorah for fear of vandalism that ‘won’t look good’ for the Ivy League school. He concluded, “You know when change is gonna happen on this campus? When we don’t have to pack up the menorah.”

Of course, it does not help matters when a celebrity like Kanye West said this in a December 2, 2022, Washington Post story, “I love Hitler” and “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.” West purportedly has upwards of 20 million social media followers. Rhetoric of this sort inevitably weaves its way into today’s naïve youth and popular culture consciousness. His words, like those of others like him, can magnify existential threats.

One need not go further than our neighbor to the north, Canada, to learn about the chilling rise in Antisemitism. A headline in The Algemeiner on December 21, 2023, relates that “57% of all reported hate crimes in Toronto since October 7th were aimed at Jews.” And yet Jews comprise only 3.6 percent of that city’s population.

Elsewhere in the world, Reuters on October 31, 2023, reported, “London’s police force said there had been a 14-fold increase in incidents of Antisemitism”; in France, “there had been 819 anti-Semitic acts. That compares with a figure of 436 for the whole of 2022”; “Germany found a 240% year-on-year increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the period of Oct. 7-15”; and in South Africa, “The number of anti-Semitic incidents in October is nine times higher than the average recorded for that month over the past decade.” Around the world, incidents involving harassment, vandalism at Jewish institutions, and even riots all reached dangerous levels.

Other Reasons for Our Current State of Affairs

I would like to suggest other explanations for why Antisemitism is suddenly escalating in the United States. We live in topsy-turvy times. It has emboldened radical behaviors as society’s values and mores crumble. Some ways in which this has happened follow:

1. Woke politicians and their activist proteges have captured the spotlight and megaphone in the public square. Their extremist ideologies have spread like wildfire, particularly among the uninitiated and poorly educated youths who unwittingly jumped aboard the revolution bandwagon. The leaders have allowed these fanatical followers to have free rein while gaslighting them into believing their extreme beliefs.

2. Lawlessness afflicts society. There are parts of the country where people openly steal products from shelves. Authorities will not charge them with a crime if the amount taken is less than a certain value. Worse still, thieves walk out of department stores with products in tow unchallenged. Sometimes, authorities hold staff liable for trying to stop these thugs because insurance pays for the losses.

3. District attorneys in some states have reduced felonies to misdemeanors or less. Commit serious crimes in some of these communities and enjoy cashless bail. Get arrested and released the same day without adverse consequences. They have adopted Marxist and socialist policies to the detriment of these communities.

4. The chant “Defund the Police” has given rise to anarchist behaviors in certain geographic areas because municipalities have decreased their police presence. It is also common for police to desist from intervening in certain areas because of the fear of being held liable. In other instances, depletion of police resources has prevented them from responding quickly enough. The directive “To Serve and Protect” has been diluted. Entropy plagues the law enforcement industry.

5. The new-age revolutionaries’ rallies and protests have scared the silent majority. People are unsure how to reverse these societal setbacks because of the woke establishment.

6. Racial tensions, tribal divisions and identity politics have reverted our society to that of the 1950s when segregation ruled. Activists have turned Dr. Martin Luther King’s adage to judge people “by the content of their character” upside down. The benefits of a truly integrated society are being reversed by radicals.

7. Leading Democrats have openly embraced Antisemitism. Know that these legislators have a profound influence on their followers. There are ominous implications for Jews in America in this trend.

8. Members of the Fourth Estate appear to collaborate with and coddle anti-establishment factions. Because of this, groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter get a free pass despite their corruption and anti-Semitic tendencies. Some media portray them as peaceful protesters just exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly and expression. Does anyone want to purchase a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge?

A majority of Americans know better. But these factors give anti-Semites more room to run wild and unchecked. Unless there are serious consequences imposed on their obstreperous behavior, hydra-headed mob rule leads to anti-Semitic acts and other forms of chaos.

Who Benefits from Antisemitism?

The Anti-Semitic Side

Who benefits from Antisemitism? Consider both sides of the story. How are pro-Hamas protesters funded, for example? Who supports student unrest on college campuses? After all, the professional signs and large numbers of people showing up en masse did not originate ex nihilo. So, it’s fair to ask how fundraising is going on both sides.

An October 28, 2023 article in the New York Post asserts that “Groups behind Israel-bashing protests backing Hamas attacks got $15 million-plus from (George) Soros.” Ironically, Soros is a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor. Still, the Open Society Foundations founded by Soros has given away more than $32 billion in 120 countries worldwide. News flash: They did not hand out these grants with benign intentions.

Money funneled from Soros takes good care of the Tides Center and, in turn, it funds left-leaning advocacy groups such as the Illinois-based Adalah Justice Project, Desis Rising Up and Moving, and the Arab American Association of New York (co-founded by Linda Sarsour, an avowed Anti-Semite), The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now. As you might suspect, these organizations have members who regularly spew hate against Jews and/or Israel while advocating for the Palestinian cause.

It seems, therefore, that anti-Semitic groups are cashing in on their association with Soros, among other anti-Jewish benefactors. Look no further than celebrities like actresses Susan Sarandon and Cynthia Nixon, rapper Kanye West or NBA player Kyrie Irving and some of their colleagues who voice anti-Jewish or pro-Hamas sentiments. Many of them post hateful comments on social media platforms, as well as in other places. They support and endorse fundraisers for anti-Semitic causes, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Over the years, this movement has gained traction.

Cryptocurrency is another non-conventional fundraising method used by anti-Semitic terrorists. According to PBS News Weekend online, November 4, 2023, “Hamas announced it would stop Bitcoin fundraising efforts, but as the Treasury Department’s new sanctions show, terrorist groups, including Hamas, al Qaeda and ISIS are still finding ways to use cryptocurrency exchanges to raise and launder money and evade detection.”

The Pro-Semitic Side

As a culture of fear spreads, nonprofit Jewish organizations paradoxically benefit from Antisemitism too. I do not mean this as a criticism, nor is it condoning the proliferation of Antisemitism. This is just a sad fact of life. As Antisemitism continues to dominate the news, Jews feel threatened, and fundraising on behalf of these organizations spikes. Look at their annual philanthropy impact reports for starters.

Such iconic agencies include:

1. Anti-Defamation League (ADL)—fights Jewish defamation and bigotry.

2. B’nai Brith International—supports Israel and fights Antisemitism.

3. Jewish Federations—this network supports Jews in the U.S. and Israel.

4. Simon Wiesenthal Center—named for the famed Nazi hunter, it works to counteract Antisemitism.

5. American Jewish Committee—advocates for Jewish civil and religious rights.

When Antisemitism becomes more prevalent, these and other respected Jewish nonprofits take action to develop or share countermeasures. Several of these proactive measures are costly, but they have the benefit of increasing fundraising. This is necessary to provide various forms of security, including self-defense courses, cybersecurity, firearm training, political lobbying, grants for guards, perimeter lighting, alarms and other institutional security mechanisms. 

At the moment, we see a tremendous tide of donations flowing to local and Israel-bound organizations. One headline in The Times of Israel from October 21, 2023, reads: “Jewish giving to Israel spikes as U.S. Jews grieve after Hamas atrocities.” The article continued, “Leaders say the level and intensity of incoming cash for Israel since Oct. 7 is highest in 50 years.” Some local organizations may even have experienced dramatic increases in their regular fundraising activities, depending on their size, resources, and inner strength.

During the 1967 Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, Israel raised funds at unprecedented levels. In the same article, Julie Platt, the Jewish Federations of North America chairwoman, said “She remembered similar periods when she was a child and her parents were active in pro-Israel fundraising — during and after the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. American Jews feared Israel’s survival and opened their pocketbooks in response” …. “For me as an adult, I’ve never experienced a day like today,” Platt said. “Since the Hamas attack, it doesn’t feel like a trickle of support,” she added. “It feels like a flood.”

Finally, eJewishPhilanthropy’s November 3, 2023, online edition describes how nonprofits are pivoting to meet the challenges now, especially with aid to Israel surging. Based on the article, “The Jewish Federation of North America said it alone had raised over $600 million.”




So, is Antisemitism good for business? Seemingly, organizations on both sides of the issue stand to benefit. That being said, no one really gains anything from Antisemitism except for the Anti-Semites. 

© 2024 Norman B. Gildin. All rights reserved.

About the author: Norman B. Gildin is the author of the popular book on nonprofit fundraising “Learn From My Experiences.” He is the President of Strategic Fundraising Group, whose singular mission is to assist nonprofits to raise critical funds for their organization. His website is