Antisemitism, for those who are unaware, is prejudice against Jews. Judaism is the least liked religious group in the world, with only 38% favorability, according to @soyouwanttotalkabout on Instagram. Additionally, Jewish people only make up 3% of the United States’ population, and 74% of people worldwide have never met a Jewish person.
The Anti-Defamation League has reported a 12% increase of acts of assault, vandalism, and harassment against Jewish people over the previous year. This is also the highest level of antisemitic incidents since the organization began reporting in 1979. In August of 2017 there was a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where participants were throwing Nazi salutes, waving flags with swastikas, as well as shouting “Seig Heil” and “Jews will not replace us.”
More examples of antisemitism include a Jewish center in Delaware being lit on fire, two Jewish men being violently run over in Brooklyn, and many attacks on Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia, and California. A study by the American Jewish Committee reported 35% of American Jews said they’ve experienced antisemitism in the past five years, with one-third concealing outward indication of their Judaism. I could go on and list more instances of antisemitism, but I don’t need to. As demonstrated by research, it is indisputable antisemitism is at an all-time high.
According to The Atlantic, “Some critics attribute the recent spate of antisemitic violence, at least indirectly, to the rise of Donald Trump, a charge that reflects the deep political and cultural divide in American society. They say that his rhetoric and tweets, his targeting of minorities, his bullying and name-calling have created an atmosphere conducive to such attacks.”
I have a hard time disagreeing with the quote from The Atlantic for many reasons, but some of which comes from last night’s Presidential Debate in which President Trump refused to denounce white supremacy. He won’t denounce white supremacy just like he won’t denounce antisemitism because he has supporters who fall into these two categories. He creates an environment that makes these groups feel protected and supported, which is permissive and extremely dangerous for the victims of these groups.
In conclusion, the United States’ antisemitism is an issue that cannot be blamed entirely on a political leader. Historically, antisemitism thrives when there is social unrest– the epitome of this year (and presidential campaign.) The concept of antisemitism is not new and Jews have been targeted and blamed since the beginning of time, and I hope the world can fight for this marginalized community like they do for others.