Robert Wistrich famously called it “the longest hatred,” and it does not disappear.  Antisemitism has seen a resurgence in America and around the world.  In this country, people have been killed for being Jewish. Buildings and cemeteries have been vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.  People are being assaulted, a disproportionate number of them being Orthodox.  A friend who generally wears a kippah outside of his home recently texted me, telling me that he will not wear a kippah outside any longer.  Here at CBS, we’ve taken some extra precautions.
I find myself uncharacteristically at a loss for words on this topic. For much of my rabbinic career, I’d believed antisemitism was on the wane, perhaps largely due to the fact that I’d encountered very little antisemitism in my life.  But when that vile march in Charlotte occurred, and then the murders in Pittsburgh, along with all of the other well-known incidents over these last couple of years, I have come to realize that my experience did not reflect the whole of this country’s attitudes toward the Jews.  And it’s just getting worse.
A recent article in Tablet Magazine by Eve Dov Ber points out just how toxic the atmosphere has become for Jews.  Jews are being assaulted outside of restaurants, on the streets, in their neighborhoods.  The Twitter and Instagram worlds are filled with antisemitic vitriol.  In England, recently, there has been a 600% increase in antisemitic incidents. It’s a very different world from the one I grew up in back there in suburban New Jersey.
I suppose it goes without saying, but I’ll say it nonetheless, that antisemitism is but one form of hatred. But it joins hands with all the other forms of it that infest our social order.  We as Jews must address hatred wherever it comes from, as we have in fact done historically in this country.  We now must continue that fight, but join in the fight that demands justice for Jews. It’s time for our allies in this country to speak out against antisemitism as loudly as we’ve spoken out against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of hatred that fill and pollute the air around us.