Antisemitism is one of the oldest forms of discriminatory hatred and traces its roots all the way back to the Spanish Inquisition. This brutal period of European history marked the beginning of what we characterize as white supremacist ideas, in which racial hierarchies were created, and then enforced by violence.
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While it can be tempting for those of us who do not experience Antisemitic discrimination, hatred, or violence to dismiss it as a relic of an unfortunate past, such thinking would be dangerously myopic, inaccurate, and shortsighted. The Anti Defamation League (ADL) tracks Antisemitic hate crimes, and frighteningly Antisemitic activity in the United States is at an all-time high (since they started collecting data in the 1970s). This is true worldwide as well, as right-wing extremism, nationalism, and militant Islamic groups gain traction.*
On the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website**, there is a wonderful video explaining modern antisemitism, and how this hatred affects all of us as a global community. It is a short watch, but it does a wonderful job of encapsulating the multifaceted, complex aspects of modern antisemitism. You can access that video here: Antisemitism Today
Right-wing hate groups have a long history of antisemitic hate speech, conspiracy pedaling, and violent behavior. This was illustrated for the world by the Unite the Right rally in 2017, where a mob of angry men with tiki torches screamed such slogans as, “Jews will not replace us.” The FBI has stated that homegrown threats from white supremacy groups are one of the largest terror threats in this country.*** The recent January 6 attack on the United States capitol building was rife with insignia that overtly signaled antisemitic hatred****. From Auschwitz t-shirts to Proud Boys wearing shirts with the slogan “6MNE” (6 million not enough), the heavily Q-anon crowd was infamous for trafficking in conspiracy theories that place blame on Jews for elaborate global cabals.
A few months later, when heightened conflict enveloped the Middle East, American Jews felt a significant backlash in antisemitic violence, vandalism, and verbal abuse. There are legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel, yet singling out American Jews plays into stereotypes and hate-fueled conspiracy theories which leads to violence. It is grossly inaccurate and offensive to assume that American Jews have more loyalty to Israel than their own country. Over 60 percent of American Jews have witnessed an Antisemitic act since the recent Middle East conflict in May.***** Many feel physically unsafe.
We call upon our readers to understand the threats of modern antisemitism and to become allies in a global effort to preserve Holocaust education, fight against hatred and conspiracy, and stand united as a global family in protecting one another from violence and prejudice in all its forms.
Famous Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.” We encourage all of you to love radically, in small but world-changing ways every day.
*Tracker of Antisemitic Activity: https://www.adl.org/education-and-resources/resource-knowledge-base/adl-tracker-of-antisemitic-incidents