The current civil rights movement in the United States seeks reforms to the cruelty, inequality, and racism seen in today’s society. However, it is time for us as a community to reflect on what other injustices are present in society– one of which is antisemitism.
Eagle’s player DeSean Jackson shared an antisemitic quote from Hitler on Instagram that exhibits the current presence of antisemitism in today’s society.
Jackson’s highlighted portion of the quote describes Hitler’s beliefs that the Jewish people will blackmail America in an attempt for world domination by not giving the blacks their land, what Hitler believed to be Israel. Furthermore, Jackson previously showed his support to Louis Farrakhan, a minister known for his antisemitic comments.
In return, the internet blew up, condemning Jackson for his support of the hatred and discrimination against the Jewish community. The Eagles team also spoke out against Jackson’s actions.
Jackson later responded to the criticisms on July 7, posting on Instagram, “Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way. I have no hatred in my heart towards no one!”
Furthermore, on July 9, posts flooded social media over a $2.50 gold swastika necklace available for purchase on Shein, a popular online clothing store. Many of its Jewish customers were outraged and hurt.
These events only stirred up concerns that antisemitism is still so prevalent in society.
How common is antisemitism?
Antisemitism has been present for centuries. In many scriptures and Jewish history, the Jewish people endured events full of hatred. Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jews from their enslavement in Egypt in 1250 BCE. The worst, however, was the genocide of six million Jewish people by the Nazi regime in World War II.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was created to stop antisemitism vandalism, assault, and harassment; they started to track hate crimes 40 years ago. According to the American Jewish Population Project, as of 2018, the American Jewish population reached 7.4 million, around 2.26% of the U.S. population at the time. Even with the lowest demographic, the Jewish community continues to receive the most religious-related hate crimes.
In the American Jewish Committee’s 2019 survey, 88% of the participants found antisemitism a problem in the United States, and 84% believe it increased in the five years prior to the survey. Additionally, 23% reported having been a target of an anti-semitic remark in person, by mail, or phone. 21% received a remark on online or through social media. 75% of the participants did not report their incident of receiving a verbal or physical attack.
The ADL reported 2,100 antisemitic incidents in 2019 alone. But what about the crimes that were not reported?
What does this mean for society?
As a Jewish person, there is almost an eternal fear in what may happen in the future. But, to me, my religion has overcome such hardships. What I learned is that when your faith is tested, how you overcome your obstacles and learn from them is what defines you as a person.
Religion is our way of maintaining hope and faith in the midst of terror, to experience the worst times, and believe there is something to learn and overcome.
But even my own beliefs cannot be enough to stop the hatred and antisemitism around the world. I never knew the fear of being Jewish until hate crimes appeared right in front of my face. Society has proven to be a scary place for the Jewish people. The question is—when will it stop?
Now is time for that fear to dissipate. Our fight for peace is far from over. We all have a role to ensure that everyone receives support and equality, no matter what race, gender, or religion he or she comes from. And we can do it.