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Anti-Semitism in America

Hannah Meyers, Staff Writer

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In the past several months, stories of aggression towards the Jewish population in America have become increasingly frequent in the news and on social media.

There has also been an increase in controversial and anti-Semitic comments made by elected officials and other individuals in positions of authority.

One major example of this would be the controversial comments that have been made on many separate occasions by our new President, Donald Trump.

An article by Andrew Silow-Carroll, written for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, analyzed President Trump’s side-step response to a direct question about his response to Jewish families concerned about an anti-Semitic administration on Feb. 15, 2017.

In the article, Silow-Carroll found grounds to be concerned that the President did not immediately condemn anti-Semitic actions and do his best to assure the Jewish citizens of America that his administration would be fair and non-biased.

These comments have understandably caused some uneasy feelings among the Jewish population of America, given that there has been a sharp upswing in anti-Semitic acts of vandalism across the country.

The most noteworthy of these incidents was the vandalism and desecration of over 460 headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia that was discovered on Feb. 26, 2017.

Besides this solitary act, there have been an increased number of bomb threats made to Jewish institutions, 61 to Jewish community centers and 89 to Jewish schools, across America, according to an article by World Religion News. These anti-Semitic acts should make us stop and question why it is suddenly okay to defame and publicly shame a group of people for what they represent.

America was founded on the belief of individual rights, with a constitution to protect and preserve those rights. So why does is seem that America has decided that this doesn’t apply to certain faiths?

A recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League offers some interesting information as to the mindset of the American population on the Jewish faith.

The most surprising element of that survey however, showed a record-breaking 84 percent of Americans believe that the government should more actively combat anti-Semitic actions.

Another surprising number from the survey was that approximately 30 percent of Americans expressed anti-Semitic views while taking the survey.

These numbers show that most Americans are actually against anti-Semitism and that the recent aggression towards the Jewish community are the actions of a minority.

Due to the recent anti-Semitic comments that have received a lot of coverage, but few repercussions, the anti-Semitic minority has become emboldened and will continue to grow unless active measures are taken to enforce religious liberty.

It is a comfort to know that the majority of Americans support religious liberty and the right to choose your religion.
Hopefully, within the next few months we will, as a nation, make that stance better understood: religious oppression, of any kind, has no place in the United States.

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IV Leader is the student newspaper of Illinois Valley Community College
Anti-Semitism in America