It has now become common knowledge that antisemitism is on the rise like never before. Just this past week, the ADL released the numbers for antisemitic incidents in 2022, and it is not good at all. In fact, these numbers are the highest they’ve been in the past 45 years since records started being kept in the USA. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The ADL counted 3,697 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault targeting Jews last year — a 36% increase from the 2,717 recorded in 2021 and by far the highest total since the organization began tallying the data in 1979. The incidents include one fatality — the killing of a professor at the University of Arizona who was shot allegedly by a student, in part because the student believed Meixner was Jewish. The tally also includes the hostage situation at a Texas synagogue early in 2022.
It is important to note that these incidents are not just verbal or printed abuse. Since 2012, at the time of the France “Toulouse Massacre”, Jewish lives have been lost again. Jews are being killed again, just for being Jewish. Looking back at the year 2000 when I started to compile data about worldwide antisemitism, things have gotten worse. A lot worse. I used to get looks from people when I said that if things keep getting worse, the Jewish communities of the world will experience the 1930s and 1940s again soon. I fear that we are now on the cusp of a renewed 1930s and 1940s era for Jews.
Additionally, many antisemitic incidents worldwide are under-reported or not reported as a result of the lack of consequences for the culprit over the years. In other words, when in the best-case scenario, a person or group is found guilty of antisemitism, very little if anything is being done to punish them. There seems to be no accountability at all, which emboldens perpetrators to do more harm. I document this and much more in my latest book The Normalization of Antisemitism: When the Oldest Hatred Becomes the New Normal.
As I write this, we are approaching April 18, 2023, the day of the very solemn commemoration of Yom HaShoah (the Day of the Catastrophe) in Israel when all Israelis stop everything wherever they are in Eretz Yisrael and observe a two-minute moment of silence remembering the Holocaust victims. This time of year, the topic of antisemitism is always a little more tender than usual.
As we live in the age of Internet communication with a plethora of social network platforms, people can get very creative in expressing support for a particular cause. We often see people’s profiles dressed up with a hashtag or a flag in support of a country in turmoil. It is no different for those who desire to express their support for Israel and the Jewish people worldwide. A few years ago, we saw a deluge of #WeRemember on all the networks, posted by people who were declaring their support for the Jewish people and remembering the horrors of the Holocaust. While I agree that any show of solidarity is positive, I still think that many people posted the hashtag on their platforms and then felt that their conscience was cleared of any guilt. In reality, soon after Yom Ha Shoah, the hashtag dwindled down and eventually disappeared. It was back to business as usual, and people are not really paying attention to antisemitism anymore.
It seems that we are again bringing attention to the Jewish people and their plea with a new image in 2023. Again, I applaud the attempt at exposing the hatred against the Jews, but will it change anything? The new hashtag #StandUpToJewishHate was created along with a blue square. The blue square campaign was launched by the Jewish owner of the New England Patriots football team. He invested $25 million in this honorable endeavor. Many people are starting to display the little royal blue square in their photos online. The website connected to the square has several links offered to viewers for reporting antisemitic acts. This attempt at documenting and reporting acts of antisemitism is exemplary, but will it change anything? I have my doubts.
Over the years, I have seen many attempts at ending antisemitism, and while they were all commendable, they never have gone far enough to move into legal actions and prosecutions. A lot happens on paper and in committee meetings, but very little gets implemented. I have become convinced that antisemitism has now become the bully in the Jewish community’s courtyard. Even when we know that the bully will return multiple times, it is our duty to fight that bully the best we can every single time all the while knowing that we will not win the battle, or not yet at least.
So, can we fight against antisemitism and oppose it? Absolutely yes! Can we completely eradicate it? I don’t think so! The reason why I don’t think we can fully eradicate it is spiritual. Fighting antisemitism is a spiritual battle. Any attempt at fighting antisemitism without understanding that it is a creation of Satan who hates the Jews because God loves them is bound to fail. I believe that the Bible clearly explains why Satan hates the Jews, namely because they will one day say Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai and usher in the return of Yeshua the Jewish Messiah which will also put an end to Satan’s career of hate.
While people of goodwill and Bible-believing followers of Yeshua should continue to denounce, expose and oppose antisemitism, now is the time to start thinking about what we can do for our Jewish co-workers, family members, schoolmates and neighbors. A blue square might identify us as friends of Israel and the Jewish people–in our day and age, that is enough of a target on our backs–but the real test comes when we must move into action to physically help Jewish people. The time has come to prepare to help the Jewish people around you.
Go ahead and publish the hashtag and wear the blue square pin…Good for you, but please, also make yourself ready to become Genesis 12:3 in action and actually come to the rescue of Jewish people. Who knows? It might be as easy as telling your next-door neighbor that you’ve got his back!