Anti-Semitism is rising, with 3,697 incidents occurring within the last year. The Anti-Defamation League also reports a 36% increase from the previous year, with varying verbal and physical attacks. From the dawn of the religion’s creation to the present day,
Jewish faith members are not strangers to attacks on their religion. The most notable instance of anti-Semitism, The Holocaust, did not leave members of society with feelings of mercy and acceptance after over six million Jewish Individuals perished.
Many attacks are led by hatred of the culture, but there are deeper roots that the United States Congress has deemed related to Israel. The U.S. has long had ties to Israel, a controversial connection that has led to polarization in and out of the political realms.
Supporting Israel is not a party-specific stance, nor is the distaste of state relations. 32nd District Congressman Brad Sherman, co-chair of the House’s Israel Allies Caucus, is no stranger to sharing his opinions on Israel and anti-Semitic attacks around the country. He states, “During my time in Congress, I have fought all forms of anti-Semitism and bias, counter extremism, bigotry and hatred in all its forms. I will continue the fight to raise awareness and stop the spread of this venomous ideology and work to ensure a just and inclusive society for all.” Members of Congress sharing their opinions and support publicly have had deadly effects on the Jewish population.
The conflict within Israel has been going on since its establishment in 1948, leading to gruesome wars and civilians living in active battle zones. The fight between Israel and Palestine over land ownership continues to tear the country apart, leading Israeli governmental entities and the militant organization Hamas to foster destruction. This tear has stretched to the United States, causing riffs large enough to hurt citizens daily.
From synagogue attacks, rude comments to strangers, or even microaggressions to friends, anti-Semitism driven by anti-Israel sentiments is increasing.
Tohar Zamir, a student at UC Berkeley, grew up with an uncomfortable cloud of anti-Semitism looming over his life. He recalls how having traits in relation to the country of Israel has impacted the way he takes the world day by day. “When I was in high school, I was walking on the north side of Sunset Boulevard, on the phone with my mom and speaking Hebrew unabashedly. Unexpectedly, I was followed and harassed by someone who, judging by their accent, was themselves an immigrant, who harangued me with jabs of ‘go back to where you came from. I was born in Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.”
Surprising sentiments like those Zamir encountered leave Jewish people in the United States in constant fear. The fear of speaking a language more commonly connected to Israel, the fear of wearing a Star of David in public, and worst of all, the fear of being targeted for just living one’s life.
United States officials constantly share their support with the Jewish people of the United States but lack the legislative cohesion to acquire enough votes for action. Bill H.R 3515, Preventing Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Act, was introduced in 2021 but did not acquire enough votes to land on the President’s desk. The bill acknowledges that many hate crimes are related to the Israel-Palestine conflict—leading Jewish residents to scratch their heads at the support of the country not assisting safety.
Support continues to be requested with a lack of response, as many protective bills lose fire after the introduction.
A lack of understanding, deep-rooted hatred, and the inability to disconnect the U.S. Jewish population from Israel leaves residents fearing the future. 2.4% of the population takes the load of over 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes, something that has yet to cause action with severity and swiftness.
“The state of being Jewish in the U.S. is unsettling. The ill sentiment toward Jewish people and Israel stems from ignorance.” said a Los Angeles Jewish resident who prefers to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.
“It’s hard to tell what the future of Jewish Americans will be going forward.”