Proving that pure evil never dies, it just lays in wait:
Benjamin Kuperman, associate professor and chair of computer science at Oberlin College, and his wife reportedly heard tapping sounds outside their home early in the morning on Nov. 17. They opened the front door to discover smashed seashells and a note behind their mezuzah, a small case that contains parchment with verses from the Torah, which many Jews place on the door frames. The note read, in glued letters, “Gas Jews Die,” according to the local Chronicle-Telegram.
And in just three words, this jackass not only threatened a professor and his wife, he also voiced his support for the Holocaust. Should we try to "understand" where this person is coming from? Start up some kind of dialogue? Rationalize it away, speculate that he doesn't really want anybody to come to harm, he's just frustrated? No. We don't have that luxury, and the Kupermans damned sure don't have that luxury. It's a hate crime, and should be treated as such, because such incidents are becoming more common:
Reports of ethnic and racial harassment have spiked on college campuses since Election Day. A number of alleged incidents have targeted Muslim and black students, but anti-Semitic expressions have surged, too. Franklin and Marshall College condemned identity-based violence after a swastika inside a Jewish star was found written in a classroom, and swastikas were found on a dorm bulletin board at the State University of New York at Purchase (a similar vandalism occurred at Purchase last year). AMCHA Initiative’s tracker of swastikas and other anti-Jewish expressions lists 19 campus events since Nov. 9, including the two directed at professors, though several incidents involve anti-Trump language and were likely not meant to harass Jewish students specifically.
Regarding attacks on Jewish professors, Hank Reichman, vice president of the American Association of University Professors, said he didn't know if they were increasing, but that it “would hardly be surprising if they were,” given a rash of anti-Semitic comments directed toward journalists this election cycle. (Many of them were sent as tweets, according to a recent report from the Anti-Defamation League.)
In any case, Reichman said, the association’s recent resolution condemning what it called the “unprecedented spike in hate crimes” since the elections was written with anti-Semitism, among other troublesome sentiments, in mind. In addition to “religious minorities,” the statements refers to African-Americans, immigrants, women, people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Fascism thrives on people assuming incidents are isolated, and carried out by those who are mentally unstable. That is only true until it isn't, and it becomes normalized and tacitly approved by those who are not targeted. When the Brownshirts first started operating in Germany in the early 1920's, they were vilified by the general public and the Weimar government. Two decades later, the bulk of the Jewish population was shipped off to ghettos and camps, and when they didn't starve fast enough, Zyklon B was manufactured (by corporations who profited greatly from it) to speed up the process.
Over half the population of European Jews were exterminated during the Holocaust, and the *world* population of Jews didn't recover to its pre-1938 level until about ten years ago. So no, I'm not inclined to "strike up a dialogue" with somebody who would write "Gas Jews Die" on somebody's front porch.