Since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, a surge in anti-Semitic activity has been documented worldwide. From “anti-occupation” protests-turned-riots and swastikas spraypainted on Jewish-owned businesses, to bomb threats against Jewish day schools and death threats in college group chats, the uptick in hatred is truly alarming.
When the Gaza-based terror group brutalized and slaughtered more than 1,400 people three weeks ago, unanimous condemnation of Hamas was expected. After all, when ISIS conducted beheadings, indiscriminately murdered civilians, and sexually violated young girls, the world spoke out against terrorism in all forms. Yet Hamas’ attack targeting Jews and its genocidal rhetoric apparently need to be “contextualized,” according to those demonstrating against Israel.
What Happened at Russia’s Dagestan airport?
A gut-wrenching video that recently circulated on social media illustrates the worldwide spike in virulent anti-Semitism.
On Sunday, Israeli passengers departed on a flight from Tel Aviv and landed in Russia’s Dagestan regional airport. What should have been an uneventful journey took a disturbing trajectory once the plane landed in the majority-Muslim region. Multiple videos shared online show a large crowd of people gathering inside the Makhachkala Uytash Airport, forcibly trying to gain entry to the international terminal. More than 1,500 people were in the mob, some chanting “We are here for the Jews” and others reciting “Allahu Akbar” throughout the terminal. A rioter was even captured on video boasting, “We are here for the Jews, we came to kill them with knives and to shoot at them.”
Footage also showed some of the rioters climbing onto the airplane and its wings, which prompted the flight crew to not let anyone off into the tarmac.
Hatred of Jews in Russia Fueled by Israel-Hamas War
If the haunting scene weren’t enough, other residents roamed the area to search local hotels for Jews. According to New York Times reporter Aric Toler, these plans to “catch Jews” had been shared on Telegram.
After the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the West for trying to “split” the country’s society. Moscow has tried to distance itself from Israel since the Hamas attack, likely to placate its growing Muslim population. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov mirrored Putin’s rhetoric, accusing “outside interference” for the pogrom-like attack.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Putin’s response, noting that, “For Russian propaganda talking heads on official television, hate rhetoric is routine. Even the most recent Middle East escalation prompted antisemitic statements from Russian ideologists. Russian antisemitism and hatred toward other nations are systemic and deeply rooted. Hatred is what drives aggression and terror. We must all work together to oppose hatred.”
Israeli officials also condemned the incident, declaring that Jews and Israelis in Russia should be protected by Russia’s law enforcement.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.