Growing up in a reform Jewish household, we’ve always been well informed about the discrimination and violence Jews have faced for centuries; however, being surrounded by the protective liberal DC bubble we have never had to feel that persecution, until now.
Since beginning of January of 2017 there have been 67 anti-Semitic attacks, and that number continues to rise. Schools have received bomb threats, vandals have toppled Jewish headstones in cemeteries, and the swastika symbol has unfortunately become a more regular sight. According to CNN there have been 70 bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in 26 states this year alone. Communities that should be sacred and safe places for us have become zones of terror.
The rise of anti-Semitic acts and Trump’s presidency is no coincidence. Steve Bannon, former Executive Chair of Breitbart News, is currently serving as White House chief strategist and assistant to the President. Self described by Bannon as “ the platform for the alt-right,” Breitbart is an organization that supports the Neo-Nazi movement and by association supports anti-Semitism.
During a recent presidential press conference Trump attempted to address the issue. After being asked “I wonder what you say to those among the Jewish community in the States…who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones” by a White House reporter. Trump danced around the subject by talking about how he had Jewish family members and how we are “going to see a lot of love.”
This country was founded on the premise of religious freedom and our commander in chief should be protecting this idea, not dismissing it. Jews, like Muslims, should not have to hide in fear of being attacked based on their religion. The Jewish community and their allies should band together in these troubling times, call out those who are wrong, and educate the ill informed.