What can we do at this time?
November 10, 2023
The rise in hate crimes in the U.S. related to the Israel-Hamas war is deplorable.
Jews in this country are asking themselves difficult questions—should they wear a star of David or take down their mezuzah? Still others are asking if it is safe to identify themselves in public. A 6-year-old Muslim boy was killed in Chicago, and a prominent Jewish lay leader in Detroit was stabbed to death outside her home. In our own state, synagogue congregants were faced with shouts of “kill the Jews.” This is unacceptable and we must not tolerate these acts of hate.
As the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors, I never thought I would be asking myself these questions or watching our community struggle. As a Holocaust scholar, I’ve been asking myself some hard questions. Wasn’t learning about the Holocaust meant to educate people about where propaganda can lead? To educate people to be moral citizens? I tell myself that each gesture we take toward illuminating our common humanity does matter, even if it doesn’t entirely fix what’s broken.
We must find a way to work together during these trying times. Local communities have to safeguard themselves against internal divisions because we are stronger together. Many are asking what they can do… here are a few ideas:
• Talk to everyone you know about the consequences of antisemitism, extremism, and hate. There are opportunities to build coalitions across lines of difference to learn from our past horrific events. Next week, our Kristallnacht program is an opportunity to join a conversation that looks back in time and offers resources to help us understand how we can counter hate speech.
• Stop the spread of misinformation by only sharing facts.
• Learn how you can help stop the spread of hate online by reporting it directly to social media platforms.
• Report Incidents of antisemitism to the ADL, and/or local law enforcement.
The only way to stop the cycle of ignorance and hate is through education. Please join the Holocaust Center in this fight.