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‘We feel alone,' worldwide spike in antisemitism felt against Jews

Texas The deadliest attack in Israeli history by Hamas on October 2023 has resulted in a spike in antisemitism against Jews worldwide.

“People are very scared right now and it’s a very difficult time to be a Jew both in Israel but especially internationally. We feel very alone. It’s not an easy time at all,” shared Jonny Daniels, chair of From the Depths, a foundation dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust in Poland.

 

Last year, the Anti-Defamation League reported 8,873 antisemitic cases of assault, harassment, and vandalism in the U.S., the highest on record since 1979. The statistic terrifies Daniels.

“The fear is very, very real," he said.

What is Hamas? 
  • Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (“Islamic Resistance Movement”). It was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric who was an activist in local branches of the Muslim Brotherhood after dedicating his early life to Islamic scholarship in Cairo.
  • Spun off from the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1980s, Hamas is an Islamist militant movement. It took over the Gaza Strip after defeating its rival political party, Fatah, in the 2006 elections. Hamas published its charter in 1988, calling for the murder of Jews, the destruction of Israel, and in Israel’s place, the establishment of an Islamic society in historic Palestine. In what observers called an attempt to moderate its image, Hamas presented a new document in 2017 that removed explicit references to killing Jews but still refused to recognize Israel. 
  • Dozens of countries, including the United States and European Union designated Hamas a terrorist organization due to its attacks against Israel.
  • Iran finances Hamas, counting it among a coalition of regional allies that includes Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis, and various pro-Tehran militias in Iraq and Syria, among other groups. 

Part of the U.S. Department of State’s working definition of antisemitism includes the calling for killing of Jews, and those who accuse Jews of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust. It's something, which has spread to all levels of education, according to Elan Carr, CEO of the Israeli-American Council.

"I would call it a metastatic cancer on America’s college campuses and now, that metastatic cancer has sadly spread to high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools," said Carr. 

Anti-Jewish trope beliefs continue to increase, and younger Americans are showing higher rates, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Their research found the more likely one is to hold a negative sentiment toward Israel, the more likely they are to believe anti-Jewish tropes. Social networks and social norms increasingly point toward a growing acceptance of antisemitism as well. 

The ADL's data recorded 7,523 incidents of antisemitism in the U.S. in 2023 compared with 3,697 incidents in 2022. Those acts included harassment, vandalism and assault, targeting Jewish-owned businesses, Jewish institutions and organizations and Jewish students.

The ADL also published a plan for "globally combating" antisemitism.

 

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