Antisemitism, the world’s oldest hate, is alive and well around the globe, so much so that it often slips past most people’s radar who aren’t affected by it. Antisemitism is so old, widespread, and often times accepted in societies, that when seemingly normal individuals talk about Jewish people for longer than ten minutes, you can almost bet that something antisemitic will slip from their lips. We often hear politicians make remarks about Israel and Jews that are not flattering or that are outright propaganda (even if they didn’t know) and while many will purport to support minorities, they overlook a very small minority in the Jewish people.
Oddly enough, much of the propaganda people believe today, is the same that National Socialists believe and espouse, the same ideology, nearly verbatim, and we saw how that worked out. We hear the same Jews have too much power, Jews control everything, Jews believe this or that, Jews Jews Jews, all of which is patently false propaganda, and the funny thing is, you hear it from Nazi’s and anti-Nazi’s alike. Nothing brings diametric opposites together quite as their antisemitism does!
Jews makeup only 2% of the population in the United States but are the victim of 55% of all hate crimes. Jews worry about wearing a Kippah in public and being identified, taking their kids to a Jewish school, going to Synagogue, basically living life and returning home safely. People claim to care about minorities, yet Jews are one of the smallest minorities globally, they claim they want to protect minorities, yet this doesn’t seem to extend to Jewish people.
There are roughly 15.2 million Jews worldwide, that’s 0.19% of the 7.89 billion worldwide population, there are 5.7 million Jews in the United States, to put this into perspective, there are around 40 million African Americans in the US alone. Yet Jews are the victims of 55% of all hate crimes in America…
Every month we hear of Jews being beaten in our streets, of Jewish cemeteries being defiled, of synagogues having their sacred spaces graffitied, windows broken and such. Violent attacks on our places of worship and Jewish centers have been a constant, check here for just a partial list. On college campuses across America, antisemitism is almost the cool thing to do, I see stories constantly of people finding fliers of anti-Jewish propaganda, people having slurs hurled at them, and antisemitic stereotypes are a dime a dozen.
The funny/sad thing is that when Jewish youth then decide to go to Jewish universities they hear, “Oh well it’s because Jews like to stick together!”
Since leaving the world of hate groups and leaving my hateful baggage in my past, I have instead walked into a world where many espouse the same exact Neo-Nazi rhetoric, only they are of all races, religions, and creeds. The ignorance is palpable, the hate is tangible, and the silence has been deafening!
Just days ago in Texas, a terrorist walked into a synagogue on Shabbat, while it was live streaming for its congregants, and held four people including its rabbi hostage. I prayed and I cried, I felt fear for those trapped inside of their own holy space, and when the smoke cleared the terrorist was killed and the people were free and safe. Then to hear elected officials and the media say it wasn’t an antisemitic attack was laughable. The terrorist ranted about 9/11, wanted a known terrorist who is serving an 80-year sentence freed, chose a synagogue, during Shabbat to hold hostage… but it isn’t antisemitic…
I’m reminded of a lyric from Sunday bloody Sunday by U2… how long, how long must we sing this song?
My eyes are heavy with tears, my heart is heavy, my mind is heavy in thought, and I am tired. I am tired of hearing of another Jew beaten in broad daylight, I am tired of hearing about Jewish sacred spaces being defiled, I am tired of hearing of another synagogue shooting… I am tired.
Jews face this blanket hatred day in and day out, they face antisemitism at work, in schools, at supermarkets, at the gym, online, and in everyday life. It is an almost constant barrage that Jews are inundated with, and yet they are a people of peace, yet they try to fight the hatred and ignorance with education and information…
Out of all of this, jews have found interfaith cooperation, political leaders, and Gentile supporters who stand arm in arm with our communities to combat the rising tides of antisemitism and hate, out of all of this darkness, glimmers of light have burst through in those supporters. The love and support shown by non-Jews have been like flowers growing through the concrete of the world, beauty where only hardness and darkness had been previous.
My hope is to see the world’s oldest hate eradicated, if not in my time, in my children’s days, I am tired, but the love we have for humanity, and for our Jewish brothers and sisters of all stripes, is stronger than their hate.