Anti-Semitism has been a torment that Jews have been forced to reckon with for centuries. However, its manifestations both in the United States and abroad are alarming for a new reason: the degree to which the mainstream of civil society — politicians, media, academics, public intellectuals — has seemingly tolerated, without loud and sustained outcry, the most blatant acts of intolerance.
Not a day goes by without the report of anti-Semitic incidents in communities throughout America:
- Swastikas have been painted on, and in, school buildings and playgrounds;
- In multiple Brooklyn neighborhoods, acts of anti-Semitic violence against Orthodox Jews have become commonplace — synagogue windows are smashed, and pedestrians are violently assaulted;
- Hate-filled messages are spewed across multiple social media channels.
Jews — like the members of every religious group — are entitled to practice their religion without fear. We should feel safe walking to synagogue, sending our children to school or shopping at the local kosher supermarket without fear of being attacked. Civil society has, by its actions or its failures to act, enabled anti-Semitic conduct to slowly work its way beyond the fringes of our society, both left and right, and infiltrate the mainstream of our social fabric.
Read the full Op-Ed in USA Today
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.