Why people hate me, and why you should care.
In recent months, we have seen an alarming rise in celebrities using their platforms to attack the Jewish people, some more brazen than others. We expect slight increases in antisemitic acts during election cycles and the holidays, but recent numbers have been unprecedented.
At Ceisler Media, I help monitor national issues like these and guide our clients through analyzing and, when necessary, responding to them. I’ve accepted the fact there will always be people who do not like Jews and whose minds cannot be changed. What is truly upsetting is the number of people who have chosen to defend these celebrities, and those who have chosen to say nothing at all.
To those who say nothing as celebrities and white nationalists use their platforms to praise Hitler and slander Jews: Your silence is deafening. The stark and too often ignored reality is that as a Jew in America, I am at a higher risk of religious-based hate crime than any other religious group.
In 2020, there were 683 reported incidents of antisemitic hate crimes, more than all other religious-based hate crimes combined (561). By comparison, anti-Islamic hate crime was the second most predominant religious-based hate crime with 110 reported incidents, followed by anti-Sikh with 89.
Oh, and the best (worst) part is that Jews make up only 2.4% of the American population but are the targets of 55% of religious-based hate crimes and 8.3% of ALL hate crimes.
The math here should alarm you.
At a time when citizens of all backgrounds have rallied together to fight for civil rights, why aren’t more people willing to protect me and my community? Why don’t people stand up for us, especially when we are so quick to stand up for others? (See Jewish hero, Rabbi Heschel, or my personal Jewish activist icon, Josh Gad.)
These questions have plagued my community for generations. The hope is simply that the more we speak up and ask why, the more attention we can draw to the sinister ideologies that have reemerged with a vengeance to threaten Jews once again.
And while I don’t know why antisemitic hate garners less attention, sympathy, and support than other forms of hate, I do know why you and others should care: What starts with Jews rarely ends with them.
The deplorable, vile characters targeting Jews will also target other marginalized and minority communities. It is vital that these communities remain united in the fight against hatred and bigotry, and call attention to it whenever and wherever it arises.
It is one thing for me and the other Jews in the room to stand up and speak out against antisemitism. But until the non-Jewish community joins us in opposing this form of hate (the same way that our communities unite to oppose other hate), we can’t stop it.
Only through allyship, education and perseverance can hate and ignorance be defeated.