Even though the incident happened decades ago, it appears that antisemitism returned to society, which affected Jewish people.
For instance, the public lambasted Ye, better known as Kanye West, when he made antisemitic comments. While this went on, many Americans denounced former president Donald Trump for meeting with a Holocaust denier. In addition, officials indicate that additional crimes have been perpetrated over time against Jewish residents.
For instance, according to the Anti-Defamation League, incidents of anti-Jewish harassment, assault, and vandalism in 2021 were at their highest level ever. In 1979, the group began keeping track of these incidents. And they predict the year 2022 will conclude similarly to the previous one.
The ADL also stated that, over time, people had occasionally carried out these horrible deeds. As an illustration, a shooter in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 killed 11 Jewish congregants.
Two years ago, some anti-Jewish protests, similar to those in Charlottesville, Virginia, when the participants destroyed Jewish community centers and schools and circulated anti-Semitic leaflets.
“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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Antisemitism within US politics
Snyder alleged that several politicians had likewise engaged in antisemitic behavior. They can even be apparent in some cases. As an illustration, Ye, who people called out for his anti-Semitic remarks, met with Trump. Along with the Holocaust denier, the previous leader met with him. Because of this, Snyder concluded that antisemitism will become a huge issue in 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 simply never would 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, 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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An afflicted Jewish community
Recent incidents shook Jewish communities, with well-known and influential persons aiding and abetting antisemitic perpetrators. Because of this, experts and educators worry that anti-Jewish prejudice may grow. Deborah Lipstadt, a US special envoy, entrusted with combating antisemitism, expressed her concern that the tendency may mainstream violence and harassment aimed at 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