Anti-Semitism in America

Antisemitism seems to be alive and well in America. On October 27, 2018, Robert Bowers shot and killed 11 members of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This terrorist attack was obviously motivated by antisemitism, as Bowers exclaimed to the police that “he wanted all Jews to die.” After his arrest, investigations into the gunman’s social media revealed that he was outwardly expressive of his hate for Jewish people as well as immigrants.

The 11 victims’ ages ranged from 54 to 97 years old: Joyce Fienberg (75), Richard Gottfried (65), Rose Mallinger (97), Jerry Rabinowitz (66), Cecil Rosenthal (59), David Rosenthal (54), Bernice Simon (84), Sylvan Simon (86), Daniel Stein (71), Melvin Wax (88), and Irving Younger (69). Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal were siblings, and Bernice Simon and Sylvan Simon were husband and wife.

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Approximately 73 years ago, 6 million European Jewish people were murdered; this was about two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population. With the end of the Holocaust came the misconception that antisemitism no longer existed; yet just a few days ago, in 2018, an act of anti-Semitic sentiment killed 11 innocent victims and terrorized others for their Jewish beliefs. Despite the terrorist act appearing to be premeditated by Bowers as indicated on social media, nothing was done about it by those in authority.

The internet harvests these hateful sentiments and makes them more accessible. Many people are exposed to this hatred, and some even express their own hateful opinions. Bowers specifically expressed such sentiments on a website called Gab, which is dedicated to allowing the alt-right to express their opinions without censorship, including what seems to be hate speech. One of the many posts the terrorist made on the website stated that “Jews are the children of satan.” Even though many people seem surprised at what appears to be an isolated event, hate speech as practiced by Bowers is no stranger to the internet. Many people now feel empowered to express their hateful sentiments via social media, especially in the current political climate.

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It’s safe to say that anti-Semitism still exists in America and around the world. The Holocaust occurred only a mere 73 years ago, and acts of hate such as the one committed in Pittsburgh are bound to occur now that hate speech is given new platforms online (and in the government). The delusion that marginalized groups of people in society were not or are no longer hated by the world will only allow such hate to expand and become even more violent.