Tennessee On Board to Counter Growing Antisemitism
Friday, July 28, 2023
The Volunteer State, like many others, isn't immune to the recent wave of antisemitic acts and rhetoric, and the state is fighting back through education.
In Tennessee, from early 2021 to mid-2022, 111 incidents of hate or violence were reported against Jewish people.
Julie Katz, associate director of the American Jewish Committee's Southeastern Office, said the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism is a step in the right direction, and safety in Jewish communities is a top priority in the national plan.
"There are 100 action items that federal agencies can take, and 100 more that institutions - like universities and local governments - can also take," she said. "And it's actually quite similar to American Jewish Committee's call to action that we've released in past years, based on lessons we've learned from combating antisemitism in Europe."
Research by the Anti-Defamation League showed more than 85% of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, as opposed to 61% in 2019. Katz added that an AJC study found that 31% of Americans are even unfamiliar with the term "antisemitism."
Katz emphasized that almost two-thirds of American Jews have experienced antisemitism online, and the number for those younger than age 30 is 85%. She said AJC released a call to action that asks governments, universities, corporations and social media companies to take steps to combat this trend.
"It's concrete steps, like making sure that social media companies are not using algorithms that promote hateful rhetoric or promote violence," she said. "It's steps to make sure that universities understand what antisemitism is, and are utilizing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism."
Katz acknowledged it will be important to assess the plan's potential impact and whether it can truly put an end to antisemitism in the United States - including in spots such as Nashville, where it has been on the rise.
"This plan that the Biden administration has for combating antisemitism is going to have an impact locally," she said, "because it'll trickle down into the sectors of Tennessee society and government that affect Jews and all of Tennesseans."
Katz added that it's important that anyone who experiences antisemitism report the incident to law enforcement.
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