Since October 7, the world has seen a resurgence of antisemitism, open and raw. In America, this has come especially from institutions of higher education though also from secondary schools and at city council meetings in Oakland. In New York, high schoolers brandished signs that read “keep the world clean” with an image of a Star of David in a trash can.
If anything, the past few weeks should put an end to our decades-old illusion that history won’t repeat itself. Looking back on the horrors of the Holocaust and the historic sickness of antisemitism, we asked questions like, “How could anyone, let alone an entire culture, be overtaken by Jew-hatred?” Many assumed that kind of evil could never happen again. We now know that assumption to be wrong.
According to University of Massachusetts professor of criminology Arlie Perliger, “The U.S. is currently experiencing one of the most significant waves of antisemitism that it has ever seen.” This wave predates the October 7 massacre that initiated the war between Israel and Hamas. In 2022, “[i]ncidents of harassment rose 29% compared to 2021; acts of vandalism surged 51%; and physical assaults jumped 26%” to an average of 10 reported incidents a day. The week after Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli civilians, antisemitic incidents tripled compared to the same week in 2022.