Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.
After a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people, many Americans fear that antisemitism is on the rise in this country.
The facts seem to indicate that those fears are not unfounded.
The Anti-Defamation League reported an unprecedented 57 percent increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2017.
The FBI estimates that 54 percent of hate crimes committed in the US in 2016 were the result of antisemitic motivations.
Join us this week on Noon Edition as we talk to a panel of experts about how to deal with antisemitism in today’s America.
Rabbi Brian Besser, Congregation Beth Shalom
Günther Jikeli, Visiting Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Institute for the
Study of Contemporary Antisemitism
Alvin Rosenfeld, Jewish Studies Professor at Indiana University, Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism
Lonnie Nasatir, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League for the Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest area.
Rabbi Brian Besser says he’s looking at ways to better ensure the safety of his congregation, but that it is crucial to not drastically alter things because of this attack.
“We don’t want to overreact, because we feel very strongly that to change how we practice Judaism and how we practice our faith, radically in the face of this attack by giving into irrational fears would be handing the terrorist a second victory,” Besser says.
Günther Jikeli describes the role of social media in the spread of antisemitism and says more needs to be done.
“Often it’s in forums that no other people really go into, they can reinforce their ideas and if it becomes fairly unchallenged and the norm for these people, well then the step to take action is very close,” Jikeli says.
Lonnie Nasatir says that he and his colleagues are not altogether surprised by last weekend’s events as they have seen a significant uptick in antisemitic incidents and social media posts in recent years.
“There are a lot of disaffected people in this country that are feeling as though they’re losing what they thought was America and as a result they’re looking for people who may be the reason, in their minds, for why we’re losing America,” Nasatir says.
Alvin Rosenfeld says that notable Americans need to use their followings to preach the right values in times of great turmoil and change.
“More and more it feels like we’ve entered a new moment, very unsettled, destabilizing moment,” Rosenfeld says. “What’s needed at such a time is for people in leadership positions in politics, in culture, in religion, and the entertainment field who stand for good values, to let those values be heard.”
Our panelists urge Hoosiers to use the following resources to fight back against antisemitism: