This summer witnessed unprecedented amounts of anti-Semitism unseen for decades. While the phenomena has been most pronounced in Europe, hateful acts have occurred worldwide and the US has certainly not been spared. With 12% of Americans holding deeply anti-Semitic views, this comes as no surprise. While the list of US anti-Semitic incidents is long, including the murder of a rabbi in Miami in August, I want to focus on several events that occurred in North-West New Jersey in recent weeks.
In this quiet New York suburban area, swastikas have been painted targeting Jewish students, with the intent to strike fear in the victims and in the Jewish community as a whole. In early October, at Kean University, a swastika was painted on the dormitory door of the president of the college’s local Hillel chapter, a national Jewish student life organization. This was not isolated, and in the following week, a swastika was painted in the locker room of the nearby Hanover Park High School, along with profanities targeting a specific Jewish student. The victim in question had already experienced several anti-Semitic acts over the previous 6 months, including an alleged physical attack. In a metropolitan area home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the US, such acts are unacceptable!
(Photo via DJF)
My question is simple – what are Jewish leaders doing about the situation? Jewish organizations, starting with the local Hillels, the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and up to the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Congress, must publicize these incidents and let the public and policymakers know that this cannot go on. It is their duty to advocate for American Jews and ensure that their safety as a community is protected. Our Jewish organizations must work together to end this kind of hate.