With the Jewish High Holy Days and Yom Kippur behind us, we in the Jewish community look forward to all that is to come in the new year, 5783 on the Hebrew calendar.
The Jewish people look to Israel and all the wonderful events, like the Abraham Accords, widening Israel’s circle of peace and the innumerable contributions Israel has made to the world. We also acknowledge the contributions of American Jewry to our wonderful country and the place we have in the tapestry of America’s multicultural landscape.
However, we cannot ignore the problem of antisemitism and all forms of hate in America. Hate crimes have skyrocketed for many of America’s diverse communities. Barely a week goes by when there isn’t a violent attack on an identifiably Jewish resident in Brooklyn. The Asian-American community has experienced a similar disturbing phenomenon.
On Long Island, for the most part, we have been spared a large uptick in hate, but there have been a number of disturbing incidents. Nazi swastikas and other symbols of hate continue to appear in public spaces from time to time. While these actions cannot be minimized and cause real harm to the Jewish community and all those of good will, it is often the work of adolescents who want to do something mischievous, but have no clue about the hate these symbols represent. Thankfully, these children can be educated, and are not inculcated to hate.
We have seen the Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist group that spews hatred and advocates violence toward many minority communities, brazenly march in several towns. We saw antisemitic flyer drops by the so-called Goyim Defense League this summer in several Nassau County communities. One person, under the cover of night, drove around the South Shore, leaving antisemitic leaflets espousing the notoriously antisemitic libel of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and suggesting antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and control.
Eric Post is Long Island director of the American Jewish Committee.