Several troubling, high-profile antisemitic incidents have occurred recently across the U.S.
Last week, in Los Angeles, California, a group stood on an overpass above the 405 Freeway performing Nazi salutes and unfurling a banner reading, “Kanye was right about the Jews.”
The sign refers to several antisemitic comments rapper Kanye West made to right-wing media and podcasts. West struggles with mental health issues, but his antisemitism spans over several years.
He made disparaging remarks about the Holocaust, unfounded suggestions that Jews control the media and strange comments about some people having better DNA than others.
In addition to West and the overpass group, other Los Angeles citizens woke to flyers throughout their neighborhoods with the same messaging as the sign over the freeway.
Ivan Wolkind of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles told CBS News, “What worries me is one of the consequences of this speech both at a national level and on a local level. Who is listening? Who’s sitting there watching this online and getting inspired to take this to the next step potentially?”
Doug Mastriano, the GOP candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, is an unashamed Christian nationalist.
The New York Times reported: “Mr. Mastriano, who promotes Christian power and disdains the separation of church and state, has repeatedly lashed Mr. Shapiro (his Democratic, Jewish opponent) for attending and sending his children to what Mr. Mastriano calls a ‘privileged, exclusive, elite’ school, suggesting to one audience that it evinced Mr. Shapiro’s ‘disdain for people like us.’”
These most recent incidents support the data indicating a rise of antisemitic attacks on the Jewish community. The Anti-Defamation League told PBS that they recorded 2,717 incidents in 2021. That’s a 34% rise from 2020 and averages out to more than seven antisemitic incidents per day.
The United States needs to counter this growing antisemitic movement that frequently finds its roots in white Christian nationalism.
For a country having a hard time accepting the reality that American prosperity was built upon stolen lands from Indigenous people and the slave labor of Africans, we must finally accept the truth: white supremacy is ingrained into the soul of this country.
We must work hard to do and be better. This requires that we first acknowledge the cracking foundation on which the nation was built so that a more solid foundation can be constructed based on inclusion, diversity and justice.
We then need to have a serious conversation about reparations, understanding that certain people in this country were never given equal opportunity to generate wealth. In some cases, they were outright denied a chance to prosper, and when they did it was destroyed.
We can have a more perfect union, but it’s going to take a lot of work on everyone’s part.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free – but we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (12:9). He was not suggesting individuals deny their culture, but he was reminding people that we share a common humanity – we are all created beings of God.
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once remarked, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
As people of good faith, we can no longer afford to stand by or stay quiet. We must be ready and willing to stand up, speak out and step forward to end antisemitism, racism and all forms of xenophobia.
We can demonstrate a better way forward with all of God’s beautifully made children by walking in solidarity, celebrating a diversity of cultures and cherishing our human bonds.
CEO of Good Faith Media.