The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — condemns the alarming spike in anti-Semitic attacks. This surge of anti-Semitism is a frightening reality that is shockingly found in the United States of America and throughout the world. This spike of anti-Semitic attacks comes as a result of the current tensions in the Middle East, in the wake of the barrage of missiles launched by Hamas from Gaza into Israel.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has recorded a litany of both verbal and physical attacks against Jews in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa and North America since the fighting between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas ruler escalated earlier this month. According to the ADL, the organization received nearly 200 reports of possible anti-Semitic incidents, up from 131 the week before the conflict began. The organization highlighted an attack on a Los Angeles diner where people chanted “Death to Jews.” This incident is being investigated by police as a hate crime. Additionally, “expressions of clear antisemitism” were chanted at some pro-Palestine rallies across the United States are being investigated as well.
There are also reported incidents of vandalism to a synagogue in Skokie, Illinois which resulted in a shattered window and a “Free Palestine” sign left behind; a demonstration in Austin, Texas, where a protester carried a sign with a swastika superimposed over the Star of David on the Israeli flag; and midtown Manhattan, where a Jewish passer-by was attacked and bloodied as he walked by pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside the Consulate of Israel. Social media reports and videos of attacks continue to grow, in New York City and elsewhere. This spike in anti-Semitic incidents comes after 2020 marked the third-highest year for incidents against Jews in America in the more than 40 years since the ADL began to track anti-Semitism in the United States.
The uptick appears to be particularly pronounced in Europe, where the ADL has highlighted dozens of incidents since May 10 of this year including the vandalism of synagogues in Germany, Spain and the U.K. Jews in the U.K. suffered a slew of attacks, including the assault of a rabbi in North London and a convoy of cars driving through the city with passengers yelling epithets at the Jews. This prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to pledge support for the Jewish community amid what he described as an “unprecedented” rise in anti-Semitism. Community Security Trust, a charity that records anti-Semitic threats in Britain, told Forbes that it has received nearly 140 reports of Jews being threatened since the escalation of conflict between Israel and Gaza, a roughly 400% increase, with “almost of all of them” involving “language, imagery or behavior” related to the fighting.
Meanwhile, Germany’s leading Jewish organization, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has also flagged an alarming rise in hate speech and attacks against Jews both online and at rallies in multiple German cities, including a at protest in front of a synagogue in Gelsenkirchen at which some protesters were recorded chanting derogatory language towards Jews.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, Executive Vice-President of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “the only way to combat the evil of anti-Semitism and hate is when all good people band together and declare that there is no room for ant-Semitism and hate in our society. As rabbis, we implore our civic leaders, religious leaders and elected representatives to speak out against hate and to condemn it. Where a hate crime occurs, we encourage the authorities to take all lawful steps to apprehend the perpetrators and to bring them to justice and hold them accountable for their actions. Words are important but insufficient. There must be action to ensure that law-abiding citizens can go about their lives without fear of unprovoked attack. A society where Jews are scared to walk in the streets is a failed society.
“The message — in words and in action — must be plain, clear and precise that society will not tolerate anti-Semitic crimes regardless of how one feels about the conflict in the Middle East or any other matter. There is no excuse for attacks on innocent people or vandalism of property. As Americans residing in a culturally diverse society, we must reject all unprovoked violence against anyone peacefully going about their lives. Our nation’s leaders must emphasize the urgent need to coexist in respect and peace. This is the only way we will win the war on anti-Semitism and hate.”
Our Prayer is that He who makes peace in Heaven makes peace on this earth. That all those who harbor hate in their hearts realize the error of their ways and channel their negative energy into a positive force to help make this world a better place for all its inhabitants.