Hanukkah 2021: Fighting Anti-Semitism – Here are Eight Lights of Hope

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Jews around the world celebrating Hanukkah light candles in the menorah every night for eight days. This tradition symbolizes the Maccabees supplying oil for eight days a day after the Second Temple of Jerusalem was redistributed.

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Light, reminds us that faith and hope cannot be erased.

Anti-Semitism in the United States is rising. The latest annual report on anti-Semitism by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) shows that in the last 12 months, 24% of American Jews have been personally targeted for anti-Semitism and of American adults. 41% revealed that they had witnessed an anti-Semitic incident.

Thanksgiving reminds us that Americans are still people of great faith

However, the data from the 2021 report should also be viewed as a beacon. It reveals the problem, so we can work towards a solution. In the Hanukkah spirit, dedication and hope are needed to counter anti-Semitism.

Here are eight lights of hope.

First, American Jews feel safer in the United States than they did a year ago. In 2020, 43% felt less secure, but now 31% do.

Second, there is a deeper understanding of anti-Semitism among the general American population. 34% of adults in the United States are not familiar with the term anti-Semitism, which is still annoying, but surpasses 46% in AJC’s 2020 report. All of us can still define and recognize anti-Semitism today, using the practical definitions of anti-Semitism and translational hatred of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. This is a comprehensive glossary created to improve media literacy on anti-Semitic prejudice.

Third, 36% of American adults do not know Jews, but 60% of American adults think anti-Semitism is a problem. That is, many Americans who do not know Jews still consider anti-Semitism a concern.

Fourth, more Americans acknowledge the statement that “Israel has no right to exist” as an anti-Semitic. In an AJC 2021 report, 85% of adults in the United States say the statement is anti-Semitic, compared to 74% last year.

Surprisingly, 60 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, including Miami, Grand Rapids, Syracuse and Anaheim, reported zero hate crimes in 2020.

Fifth, new resources enable better reporting of anti-Semitic hate crimes. The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which was enacted last May, linked hate crime reports to the Department of Justice training grants and other resources to help close the big gap in hate crime reporting across the United States. I am. These resources are currently hidden by underreporting and are intended to improve hate crime trends.

Surprisingly, according to the latest FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Report, 60 cities with more than 100,000 residents, including Miami, Grand Rapids, Syracuse and Anaheim, reported hate crime zero in 2020.

Sixth, many elected civil servants use their platform to explicitly condemn today’s anti-Semitism. That wasn’t the case 50 years ago. We continue this momentum, condemning all forms of anti-Semitism to local, state and federal-elected officials, listening to the needs of the Jewish community, and bipartisan fighting anti-Semitism. We need to call for support in our efforts. In Parliament, this includes encouraging more members to join the bipartisan task force of the House and Senate to combat anti-Semitism, and allocating federal resources to protect the Jewish community. It will be.

Seventh, private companies have begun to include training on anti-Semitism for their employees. While doing this, they should ensure that their Diversity, Equity and Comprehensive (DEI) framework recognizes Jewish diversity. There are black Jews from Ethiopia, brown Jews from India, Sephardim and Mizrahi Jews from the Middle East, and many others, as well as white, European Ashkenazi Jews.

Companies need to recognize that hatred of this diverse group is more than religious prejudice. Anti-Semitism also takes the form of conspiracy, where Jews are collectively attacked as “excellent” because of too much privilege and power. If DEI’s office understands this and that most Jews in the world are historically, religiously and culturally linked to Israel, they will not discriminate against Jewish employees at work. It can successfully promote diversity and inclusion.

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And eighth, bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act blames large technology platforms when algorithms prove to promote harmful content. This will be an important step in curbing online anti-Semitism.

In addition, if tech companies make technology more humane and user-centric, they will adopt the universal standard of what anti-Semitism is with consistent AI and human moderation, and perhaps ease of re-sharing. Rethink how content is shared on social media by limiting. – Anti-Semitic content is less likely to be algorithmically popular. To stop the spread of this sneaky prejudice, it is essential to focus on the digitization of anti-Semitism.

These eight hopeful signs should not be replaced by complacency. We must remain vigilant.

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In this Hanukkah, it is not a Jewish issue, so many will join the Jews in a national campaign to shed light on anti-Semitism in cities across the country. Anti-Semitism is social. By tolerating, minimizing, or denying it, hatred, scapegoating, and conspiracy thinking can erode our democracy.

To effectively counter anti-Semitism, all Americans need to speak.

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Hanukkah 2021: Fighting Anti-Semitism – Here are Eight Lights of Hope

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