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Antisemitism in America

I would like to live in a world where I can walk outside and not have to worry if today is the day I will be attacked purely based on my religion. According to the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), in 2019, the American Jewish community has experienced an all-time high of antisemitism since their track of antisemitic incidents in 1979.

Jews have been subjected to violence for years, whether in the defamation of synagogues or verbal abuse from others.

Additionally, Jewish people are largely left out of the mix in social activism. With cancel culture becoming more apparent by calling out big-shot politicians and celebrities, and protests to fight for rights and social issues, we must include Jewish people as another minority group to fight for.

The rise in antisemitism may be in direct correlation to media influencers and government officials not being held accountable for antisemitic behavior, leading to people thinking their actions and words are factual, or that antisemitic behavior is acceptable as it is rarely called out.

Abdullah Almasmari is an example of a media influencer blatantly targeting the Orthodox Jewish community. In March of 2021, Mubarak posted a video of him on the popular app, TikTok, going into a kosher supermarket and harassing ultra (Hasidic) -orthodox shoppers. Almasmari was holding a piece of paper that read ‘Palestine’ and rallied the shoppers, instigating them by telling them to read the sign out loud.

Later, after receiving backlash from some of the community and being called an antisemite, he responded with a video of him mocking the people who called him a “Jew hater” and appeared to throw the nazi salute. Sadly, most of the comments received on the video were people praising him and calling him “brave” and “noble.” Antisemitic actions just like this are very common and receive praise or little action against them.

Another video posted on his Instagram page shows him driving in his car, honking and greeting strangers. In the video, he drives by two Hasidic men on different occasions walking the street and crossing the road. Instead of doing what he did with the other people, he drove by and decided to shout “Free Palestine” at them from his car. He only did this to the Jewish individuals. Those two men, who have absolutely no control over the situation thousands of miles away from them, we're only trying to walk down the street and go about their daily lives, but instead were subjected to this ignorant man's harassment because of their religion.

Since then, Almasmari continues to post regularly on Instagram and Youtube; however, nothing has been done about his previous wrongdoings to the Jewish community.

Social media is not the only place where Jews are targeted. People often ignore blatantly obvious antisemitic characters and traits in popular movies and television series. One such example of this is in the TV series Nurses. In episode 8, there is an Orthodox man and his father. The scene shows an Orthodox man who requires a bone graft from a departed donor, but the father and son object to this treatment. “A dead goyim leg?” the father questions, “from anyone? An Arab, a woman?” This is an inaccurate representation of Jewish beliefs as they inherently go against what the Torah says about receiving medical aid.

Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global Jewish human rights organization, released these statements on the matter. “In one scene, NBC has insulted and demonized religious Jews and Judaism." The statement continues with “Overreaction? Orthodox Jews are targeted for violent hate crimes — in the city of New York, Jews are the number one target of hate crimes in the U.S.; this is no slip of the tongue. It was a vile, cheap attack masquerading as a TV drama. What's NBC going to do about it?" NBC has decided not to air this episode as well as pull it from the network's digital platforms, but the damage has already been done.

How did nobody find this remotely wrong while filming this episode? How could this be allowed to air on national television? It is a clear antisemitic attack and disregard for the Jewish community.

Some individuals might say that antisemitism is not as pressing as other matters, such as racial discrimination, because one would not know who is Jewish just by looking at them, but this is not always the case for the Hasidic community. They look a certain way and are targeted purely based on such outward appearances. What if I am in my local kosher supermarket? I would be targeted because of where I shop. These are all outside appearances that are being used as a way to target the Jewish community.

Antisemitism doesn’t always start out like this. We often look over small remarks out of annoyance or a joke and see them as being one-time incidents or so small they will be worth addressing. However, small things add up over time, and time and time again, small remarks about Jews and stereotypes lead to people ushering in the idea that it is acceptable behavior, and if something so small is acceptable, then surely it is not as terrible a notion as it was made out to be.

All of the comments and jokes or second-hand remarks don't just disappear into thin air as if they were never spoken. They build up, getting stronger, more powerful, more direct, eventually, full-on targeting until they take aim and fire. Jewish people are being targeted and shot down in their homes, on the street, in stores, and places of worship. This is all happening under America's roof, not a foreign country thousands of miles away from where you can't do anything. You can do something. Start including Jewish people in your activism because small things add up. If one person sticks up for them, then others will soon follow. This is happening under your roof in America, this is your house, and Jews do not feel welcomed.

Image: WIX Media

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