Prevalence of Antisemitism Sends Fears Among Jewish Community

Image Commercially Licensed from: Depositphotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: Depositphotos

Even though the incident happened decades ago, it appears that antisemitism resurfaced in society, which caused Jewish people to feel uneasy.

For instance, the public criticized the rapper Ye, better known as Kanye West, for his antisemitic comments. For meeting with a Holocaust denier, former president Donald Trump received harsh criticism from many Americans. Authorities report more crimes against Jewish individuals throughout the years in addition to these.

For instance, according to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Jewish harassment, violence, and vandalism peaked in 2021. In 1979, the group began keeping track of these incidents. They also predict that 2022 will conclude similarly to last year.

The ADL noted that people sporadically carried out these horrible deeds throughout time. For instance, in 2018, a shooter at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue massacred 11 Jewish congregants.

In addition, vile individuals staged anti-Jewish protests two years ago, including those in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they damaged Jewish schools and community centers and distributed antisemitic fliers.

“Two young Orthodox boys played in their yard in California and were shot with red paintballs. And we saw pictures of them. And I mean, it was heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking,” said Emily Snyder from the ADL.

“Jews center in a lot of conspiracy theories, especially around economy or power or greed or whatever. Those are core antisemitic tropes. So when we start to see unrest, we tend to see antisemitic incidents climb,” she added.

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The evidence of antisemitism in US politics

Snyder said that many politicians engaged in antisemitic behavior. Some of them are also obvious. For instance, Ye, who previously received retaliation for his antisemitic remarks, met with Trump. In addition, a Holocaust denier attended the meeting with the previous leader. As a result, Snyder concluded that antisemitism will very much become a part of American politics.

“That’s old-school, classic modern antisemitism coming from the 1870s and eighties and nineties into the 20th century,” Jewish Studies professor Joshua Shanes said.

“There’s rhetoric that’s accepted today that would never have possibly been accepted a generation ago, not since the 1930s. People call it [political correctness], but there’s a benefit to saying it is unacceptable to be openly racist and antisemitic. And if you are, you will not win political office. But that has gone away.”

“And I used to show it to my students. I’d say, okay, let’s dissect it. What antisemitic myths do you see here? Let’s find them all. I don’t do it anymore because I’m concerned they’ll be persuaded by it,” he added.

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The negative effect

The recent incidents of well-known and influential persons siding with and conspiring with antisemites instilled panic among Jewish communities. Professors and specialists worry that, as a result, anti-Jewish prejudice will grow. US special envoy Deborah Lipstadt, entrusted with combating antisemitism, expressed her concern that the phenomena may mainstream violence and harassment against Jews.

“It’s both physical dangers — we just commemorated the anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue [shooting], where people were murdered just for going to synagogue,” she said.

“It’s also little kids learning that instead of [being Jewish] being a source of joy, it’s something that can bring you bodily harm.”

“There have always been threats, and there’s always been antisemitism. But it feels like an epidemic right now. And the spread of hate and lies is just happening at lightning speed, and Kanye opened the floodgates a couple of weeks ago with his comments,” added Beth Kean, Holocaust Museum LA CEO.

Photo Credit: Jeenah Moon

Source: NPR


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