Anti-Semitism on the Rise

Anti-Semitism on the Rise

Leah Anderson, Staff Writer

Within the last couple months there has been a significant rise in the amount of hate crimes directed towards the Jewish community in New York City and the surrounding areas. The incidents have ranged from Jews being plagued with anti-Semitic hostility and slurs, to extreme violent attacks, ending in the death of Jewish Americans. According to The New York Times article by Christina Goldbaum and Matthew Sedacca, Solidarity March Against Anti-Semitism: Thousands Rally After Attacks”, there has been a significant rise of anti-Semitic crimes in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, the three largest cities in the United States. The New York Times also stated that these hate crimes have reached numbers equivalent to those commited against African Americans and gay men oppressed in these cities, reaching the highest numbers since 2001. 

Although there have been many instances of these attacks, some of the worst are rattling the New York Jewish community through the death of their people. In early December, a Kosher market was chosen as a target for one of these crimes. A couple attacked the market, which resulted in many injuries and the killing of four individuals, one being a police officer. According to another New York Times article titled “Suspect in Jersey City Linked to Black Hebrew Israelite Group,” the couple responsible for the attack was a part of a hate group called The Black Hebrew Israelites, who they created anti-Semtic posts online for. Just weeks later, while the community was still recovering, there was another attack in New York during Hanukkah. A man identified as Grafton Thomas broke into a rabbi’s home during Hanukkah services, proceeding to attack the group and stab five people. The area of this attack, Monsey, New York, is known for having a large population of Orthodox Jews. In addition to these two major attacks, there have been many other incidents of slurs or assaults noted in the surrounding weeks.

There has been much commentary from sites such as NPR and The Washington Post regarding the recent attacks, not only concerning those crimes committed toward Jewish people, but also hate crimes in general. These sources have cited this violence as coming from a rise in hate itself brought on by the Trump administration. NBC News and The New York Times account these cases of anti-Semitism to the fact that the Jewish population in New York is one the largest, therefore, making it an easy target with such distinct Jewish neighborhoods and known areas. For the Othrodox community, the cases are even worse. It’s difficult because they can be identified by more than just their synagogues. Their religious clothing is distinct, allowing for them to become visible targets. Orthodox Jews can be easily identified with their brimmed hats, long black suits, and distinct long curls at the sides of their faces. As explained in The New York Times article “Anti-Semitic Attacks Put New York on Edge,” New York City itself has promised to help with the escalating problem as police commissioner, Dermot Shea, states, “There is no tolerance for hate crimes in NYC” and mayor De Blasio directs schools to provide more education around anit-Semtism and prevention. NYPD also stated that they will be adding more security measures such as patrols and security cameras in ultra-Othodox neighborhoods, such as Crown Heights in Brooklyn. 

The Jewish community has been shaken up, but similar to many past hardships in life, they are coming together and rising above. On January 5th, about a week after the Monsey attack, the Jewish community came together as one and marched against anti-Semitism, starting in lower Manhattan and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge. This was organized by the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relation Council of New York accompanied by many other Jewish community groups according to The New York Times. Many political members were present, such as the governor and the mayor. They pledged to take action and not respond through just thoughts and prayers. They promised to work for the safety of the Jewish community and diminish the hate. The New York Community will not let people live in fear as demonstrated in the popular chant for the march, “No hate! No fear!”