As The Loveland Roar’s resident Jewish writer, I had planned on writing a comical article ranking the top 10 gifts I have received throughout my eighteen years of Hanukkah for this holiday issue. We normally use an article each winter to highlight how all faiths celebrate the holiday season, but with the deeply concerning rise of Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism both at home and abroad, I wanted to use my platform to discuss the importance and meaning of Hanukkah, as well as the ways to combat all forms of hate.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. profoundly expressed in the 1960s, hate, and oppression against any group of individuals threatens the peace and cooperation of all to progress their nation and the world forward. So while many of you reading this article may be in the protected majority of gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, etc., it is important to recognize and appreciate the differences that define who we are as a people.
Antisemitism is not a new movement. The discrimination and persecution of the Jewish people has occurred for thousands of years, and while the treatment of many oppressed groups has improved over time, the torment of Jews has worsened as history has advanced.
Everyone knows of the tragic events of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were brutally murdered by the Nazis, but also of the uplifting liberation of Europe by the Allied powers and the eventual creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East. Yet, today, in contemporary society, long after the history lesson of our past, anti-Jewish hate crime is up 388%, with the vast majority of those crimes taking place in the streets of those former Allied powers, some of the freest and most democratic nations on the planet.
In the United States alone, in just the last thirty days, there have been over 300 incidents of Anti-Semitic hate crimes. Neo-Nazis marched in Madison, Wisconsin, waving swastikas and spewing the racist vitriol of 1940s Germany calling for the removal of all “non-pure” citizens. As Middle Eastern tensions continue to simmer, some Americans have openly supported Hamas, the terrorist group based in Palestine whose aim is to end the Jewish state of Israel and exterminate the world of the Jewish race. We’ve even witnessed presidents of some of our most prestigious universities decline to denounce calls for the genocide of Jews. All of this hate, 52% of all hate crimes in fact, against a part of the population that is merely 2%.
So in the face of all this destruction, Jews all over the world come together this month to celebrate Hanukkah, a holiday memorializing and celebrating the hope, perseverance, and triumph of good over evil. Although not nearly the most important celebration for Jews, this year Hanukkah symbolizes just a bit more as evil forces around them try to destroy their common good.
So, if you know a Jew, a Muslim, an African-American, or any marginalized individual for that matter, be sure to appreciate the differences that embody who we are as Americans, and use the spirit of the Hanukkah season for hope and unity.
For more information on how you can join the movement to end antisemitism forever, visit standuptojewishhate.org