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Viewpoint: The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the United States

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Viewpoint: The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the United States

Retrieved from nytimes.com

Retrieved from nytimes.com

Retrieved from nytimes.com

Retrieved from nytimes.com

Marissa Widdifield, Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusion Reporter

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There is a consistent pattern in human beings of fearing differences. This results in the marginalization of various identities. Currently, there is news circulating around whether the United States should accept refugees, the conversation about the term ‘bisexual,’ and the reoccurrence of anti-Semitism. The fears start as an idea, culminate into discrimination, and escalate into violence.

Deborah E. Lipstadt, a Dorot professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory College, said “[anti-Semitism] has legs that I think other hatreds haven’t had.”

It began with early Christian thought, in which Christian teachings blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and over time, Catholicism and Protestantism adopted this view as well. After the Enlightenment, Europe became increasingly secular and Jews were discriminated against politically for their different beliefs. During World War II, the Nazi’s exploited this hatred and consequently preformed a horrifying mass genocide of European Jews. Anti-Semitism has followed us into the 21stcentury and is even increasing.

“There were at least 1,986 such incidents motivated by anti-Jewish bias – including physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions – in 2017, a 57 percent spike in incidents over the year before,” according to Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks and fights anti-Semitism.

Some have attributed this increase to the election of our current president.

Samuel Woolley and Katie Joseff, both published authors who study computational propaganda said, “Prior to the election of President Donald Trump, anti-Semitic harassment and attacks were rare and unexpected, even for Jewish Americans who were prominently situated in the public eye. Following his election, anti-Semitism has become normalized and harassmentis a daily occurrence.”

President Trump has been observed using racial slurs and making derogatory comments towards women and other marginalized identities and thus, “A genie was let out of the bottle, which may take generations to put back in,” said Alexander Soros, an American philanthropist, in a New York Times op-ed.

Samantha Power, a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said, “It would be a grave mistake to view anti-Semitism as something that merely affects the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is a form of discrimination against citizens that affects all of us. You do see anti-Semitism correlating with an intolerance generally.”

Anti-Semitism has become a greater conversation after the death of 11 Jews who were shot at a synagogue in Pittsburgh this year—noted to be the deadliest attack against Jews in United States.

Mike Pence, the Vice President of the U.S., said that Americans “need to be very careful” when connecting politics to the kind of extreme violence that the Tree of Life synagogue experienced in Pittsburgh.

Anti-Semitism still occurs even if it isn’t outward physical violence. Not believing in the Holocaust is a form of anti-Semitism and discrimination happens to celebrities as well. Ilana Glazer, a Jewish comedian, cancelled a panel discussion with two New York State Senate Candidates on November 1st, when police officers found slurs such as “Kill all Jews” written inside of the synagogue the event was going to take place in.

Even in Baraboo Wisconsin, a picture recently surfaced of boys of the high school class of 2019 at prom last spring depicting the boys doing a stiff-arm Nazi salute.

People are losing empathy and we need to be aware of it. We need to make sure that the Jewish population in La Crosse are safe and welcomed.

The synagogue in La Crosse, known as Congregation Sons of Abraham, had a vigil for those who had passed in Pittsburgh. Bishop Jim Arends of La Crescent, head of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, said “How long must we remember the bodies of last week? As long as it takes to remember to fight anti-Semitism and terror.”

Those who attended the vigil read aloud, “May we choose love over hate, kindness over cruelty, compassion over judgment, friendship over anti-Semitism, friendship over Islamophobia and friendship over supremacy.”

 

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