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The Fight Against Antisemitism

While the incident passed decades ago, it seems that antisemitism made its way back into the mainstream, sending fears among Jewish people.

For instance, artist Ye, more popularly known as Kanye West, received criticism from the public after his antisemitic remarks. Meanwhile, many American citizens lambasted former president Donald Trump for meeting with a Holocaust denier.

Besides these, authorities report more crimes committed against Jewish citizens over the years. For example, the Anti-Defamation League revealed that 2021 saw the highest on record regarding harassment, violence, and vandalism against Jews. The organization started to record these events in 1979. And they surmise that 2022 will end the same as last year.

The ADL added that people committed these heinous acts occasionally over the years. For example, in 2018, a gunman killed 11 Jewish worshippers at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue.

Furthermore, two years ago, some hateful people also demonstrated against the Jewish community, like those in Charlottesville, VA. The demonstrators vandalized Jewish schools and community centers and handed out antisemitic flyers.

“Two young Orthodox boys were playing 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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Antisemitism in politics

Snyder said many politicians also committed antisemitic acts. And some of them are blatant. For example, Trump met with Ye, who earlier was under fire for his antisemitic comments.

The former leader also met with a Holocaust denier. This led Snyder to believe that antisemitism is very much alive within the larger political sphere in the United States.

“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 simply never would have possibly been accepted a generation ago, not since the 1930s, really, People call it [political correctness], but there’s a benefit to saying it is unacceptable to be openly racist, to be openly 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 effect

The recent bouts of famous and influential people supporting and conniving with antisemitic individuals sent fear among the Jewish communities. Experts and professors fear that because of this, the hate against the Jewish community will spread.

Deborah Lipstadt, a US special envoy tasked to counter antisemitism, said she fears the phenomenon will normalize violence and harassment directed at the 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

Opinions expressed by Economic Insider contributors are their own.

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