A rising wave of Anti-Semitism

A rising wave of Anti-Semitism

Mia Egerman

Over the course of the past several months, there has been an overt rise in anti-semitic acts in America that have historical parallels to the early days of the Holocaust. In 2017 alone, over 89 locations including Jewish Community Centers and offices of the Anti-Defamation League have been victimized  by anti-Semitic vandalism inciting harm on Jewish communities. Incidents have been reported from all over, including the NYC subway, a Jewish foundation in Wilmington, Delaware, and even a JCC nearby in Rockville, Maryland.

However, not everyone today understands the painful history behind the hatred promoted by ‘alt-right’ groups and the influence their words can have on other groups motivated by hate and prejudice. The very act of inciting harm against any person or group of people is a plan of action already in mind. I have always been taught that we discussed the holocaust and other horrible historical events in order to prevent history from repeating itself. I learned that anti semitism is the motive for such acts of hate, and that prejudice against Jews is equivalent to acts of racism or Sexism.

It is a matter of historical fact that between the years of 1933 and 1945, one man, Adolf Hitler, dictated a regime that killed six million European Jews. This was accomplished through a combination of propoganda and fear. Despite having learned about this, I’ve never been forced to grapple with anti semitism in my daily life. But lately it seems like my safety as a Jewish-American is something I can’t take for granted. I find myself questioning, and criticizing, the change that has occurred in our country since the election in November, of 2016. I have been confronted with the notion that Donald Trump and his rhetoric has allowed those who once quietly harbored hate feel that it was now okay to act upon those feelings.  As the president of the United States, Donald Trump has promoted a platform based on racism (immigration issues), sexism (blatant misogyny), and bigotry. Tzipora Cohen of the Tanafly, New Jersey, Jewish Community Center “[understands] there [are] similar threats around the country,” but blames it on the “times we live in”. I don’t believe this matter should be brushed under the rug or excused as what is now “fashionable” in the U.S. Our subways’ that once read, “Stand on the right, walk on the left” or “Never take up a seat with your bag” now read “destroy Israel, Heil Hitler” and “Jews belong in the oven” written in graffiti. The place I call my country is no longer a place that I can safely call my home.

As a minority in my community, it’s hard to hear about these incidents without feeling targeted and fearful of the future. I believe education is the most important step to take towards social justice within the community to fight against groups motivated by ignorance, hatred, and fear. It’s really important that in order to fight against matters of hate, we stay educated, involved, and spread messages of positivity. Regardless of who’s in office, I myself will continue to stand up for the rights of all people and ally myself with marginalized groups in order to pursue a more equal America.

Sources

http://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-semitism-now-fashionable-in-the-us-warn-experts/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/05/nyregion/swastika-nyc-subways.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FAnti-Semitism&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=8&pgtype=collection

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/17/opinion/why-we-need-a-project-to-document-hate-crimes.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FAnti-Semitism&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/these-and-those-words-bibi-aipac-iran-and-purim/