Antisemitism Cannot Be Ignored Any Longer

by Ziv Golan ’26

On October 7 the terrorist group Hamas launched a brutal attack on Israel that resulted in the death of over 1,200 Israelis along with the kidnapping of hundreds of Israeli civilians, including children. Sadly, whenever something happens in Israel, criticism often is not just aimed at the Israeli government but at the Jewish people as a whole. For example, people have called for all the Jews living in Israel to “go back to where they came from” and return to the countries from which Jewish people were expelled. This is calling for the mass expulsion of the nearly 7 million Jews from their true homeland of Israel and goes far beyond criticism of the Israeli government.

This hate has also on many occasions resulted in violence against the Jewish community. Since October 7 the Anti Defamation League (ADL), which is an organization that focuses on monitoring and combating antisemitism, has reported a dramatic increase in antisemitic hate crimes. Preliminary data from the ADL shows that in October reported instances of harassment, vandalism and assault have increased by 388 percent in the United States compared with the same period last year. These incidents have been particularly horrific online and especially on college campuses. This rise in antisemitism has been nothing short of atrocious and has had profound effects on the Jewish community. Many now feel scared to just walk down the street with anything that may identify them as a Jew. Countless Jewish people are even trying to hide their Jewish identity for fear of being attacked or worse.

This issue has been prevalent in Montgomery County where many incidents have occurred. This includes a mezuzah, which is a common object placed on doors at Jewish households, being ripped off a doorway in Rockville. Also, on the first night of Hanukkah the menorah in front of a local synagogue in Olney was vandalized in an apparent hate crime. There have also been calls to boycott Israeli-owned restaurants around the country including a Mediterranean restaurant in Washington D.C. Many of these restaurants and other Jewish-owned businesses are being boycotted simply because they are owned by Israelis and Jews. These local and national incidents go back to the point that whenever something happens in Israel the Jewish community feels targeted. Even before the war began, any post by a Jewish creator, even ones that had nothing to do with Israel at all, had comments about the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. Such misplaced vitriol continues to happen all the time.

Even before October 7 antisemitism made up 60 percent of the religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States. However, since October 7 this has worsened and has led the Jewish community to feel increasingly isolated. Jews saw people they once thought were their friends posting things online glorifying the terrorists who attacked innocent Isrealis, among other posts. This has made countless Jews around the world feel as if they were isolated and in a separate reality. This is absolutely abhorrent and should not be happening in this day and age.