AJC’s Call to Action for America: No Hate in Our States
By Myra Clark-Siegel, Director, AJC Westchester/Fairfield
At a time when antisemitism is on the rise, it is time to take action.
As AJC’s groundbreaking 2021 State of Antisemitism Report demonstrates, antisemitism is surging in the United States, with Jews the target of 55% of all religiously motivated hate crimes reported. The latest FBI figures on hate crimes corroborated this surge, even though Jews are just 2% of the U.S. population.
Often called the world’s oldest hatred, antisemitism takes on many forms. It can originate from far-right groups such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists, by far-left factions that seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, and by religious extremists.
That’s why AJC (American Jewish Committee) issued a nationwide Call to Action for government, law enforcement, and other institutions to respond to and prevent antisemitism.
AJC released A Call to Action for America: A Society-Wide Nonpartisan Guide to Address Antisemitism, designed to help key sectors of society better understand antisemitism, so they are properly equipped to respond to and prevent anti-Jewish hate in their communities.
The latest AJC State of Antisemitism in America report found that 90% of respondents believe antisemitism is a problem in the U.S. and that four in 10 American Jews changed their behavior, such as not wearing a Star of David or yarmulke in public, at least once in the past 12 months out of fear of antisemitism.
The trend of resurgent anti-Jewish hate in America follows the reanimation of antisemitism in Europe two decades ago. In response to a resurgence of European antisemitism, AJC launched a similar initiative in Europe in 2015 and hosted a groundbreaking summit after violent attacks that specifically targeted Jews.
The Call to Action aims to mobilize American leadership to at once understand, respond to, and prevent antisemitism. It outlines the challenges each sector faces in responding to antisemitism and offers best practices and steps that should be taken, such as the removal of antisemitic content on social media platforms or the need for law enforcement to accurately record and report hate crimes, and is aimed at these sectors:
– The Public Sector (Federal, state, and local government and law enforcement)
– Private Sector and Civil Society (Corporations and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) personnel and coalition partners)
– Educational Institutions (Secondary schools, universities, and colleges)
We must raise awareness about the threat of antisemitism here in the United States with decision makers and opinion leaders. Antisemitism is not an issue for the Jewish community to solve alone. Levels of antisemitism reflect the health of civil society, and like all forms of racism, must be addressed by society overall, and leaders in particular.
Any act of racism or hatred against any community should be taken seriously and we expect that leaders would respond quickly, clearly, and as strongly as needed. That should be the case with government officials, corporations, and higher education. We call upon these leaders to stand with the Jewish community, just as they do with other minorities. When we say, “No Hate in Our States,” we must work with our partners and leaders to ensure that becomes a reality. We hope you will join AJC’s Call to Action.
Myra Clark-Siegel is AJC Westchester/Fairfield regional director. To join our efforts: firstname.lastname@example.org.