A new wave of antisemitism has shaken the security of our country.
Since the recent Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza, aggressive brutal acts and attacks against Jews of numerous national origins in multiple US cities as well as cities across the world, has illustrated the power of hate and bias, based on one’s religious practices. There has been a 63% increase in antisemitic incidents since the conflict began two weeks ago.
A torrent of antisemitic rhetoric and slander is newly unleashed - from the chambers of Congress to Silicon Valley; from high schools to universities; from Hollywood to labor unions, and to global media platforms. (Social media is particularly polluted with antisemitic and white supremacist hate speech).
23,000 people joined a virtual rally- A DAY OF ACTION AGAINST ANTISEMITISM - with Anti-Defamation League and eight other Jewish organizations nationwide. On May 28, ADL led the event with a call to action demanding changes from Congress, with petitions, website educational materials (How To Talk To Your Kids About Antisemitism), and an opportunity to download a social media kit to speak out and show solidarity.
The Jewish community was inspired by the support and messages of a collective of bipartisan national political leaders, Jewish community and civil rights leaders and executive directors, and several celebrities.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, Senate minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy were some of the numerous prominent government leaders who joined the rally and individually addressed the attendees through video conferencing.
Faith leaders of all denominations and races spoke, including His Eminence Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
According to David Harris, American Jewish Committee CEO, “Antisemitism is not just a ‘Jewish Problem’. When Jews are targeted as ‘Jews’ on the streets, in shops, restaurants or at synagogues, the threat is most immediately directed at Jews, however these (bias-motivated acts of violence) also need to be seen as assaults on the fabric and fiber of an American democratic pluralist society. When any minority is threatened, our country as a whole is threatened.”
At the virtual rally, Sheik Musa Drammeh, religious leader and community activist in Parkchester, NY, commented, “(Fighting antisemitism) is not the responsibility of the Jewish people alone to fight. It is the human responsibility. We are asking every Muslim leader to embrace Israel. We are never letting anyone use antisemitism in our name - never, never! We are together.”
Using Israel’s actions against the Palestinians is a century-old excuse for antisemitism. Ray Allen, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, stated, “Antisemitism doesn’t need conflict in the Middle East to fan hate against Jews. We must build a nation of multicultural respect.”
For Attorney General Merrick Garland, combating hate crime is a priority. He announced that on May 27 he had directed the Justice Department to boost funding and other resources to states and localities to combat and investigate hate crimes. More than 60% of all hate crimes in the U.S. are against Jews, according to the FBI.
Our government has committed to analyze and assess antisemitism and make recommendations. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) co chair the House Combating Antisemitism Task Force. Several weeks ago, 132 bipartisan house members composed a letter to President Biden urging him to respond to this rise in antisemitism. President Biden has vowed his commitment to fighting antisemitism.
The Opening Remarks of the rally were passionately delivered by faith leader Pastor Chris Harris, Bright Star Church, Chicago, IL. Pastor Harris is a community activist, a singer of Gospel and jazz, and dedicated to the youth and family anti-violence program he created. He has served as national council member of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
“You are in our prayers.
We walk with you.
You were with us. Now we are with you.
We are steadfast in fighting anti-Jewish hate.
Antisemitism is unacceptable. FULL STOP!”