The rise in anti-semitic hate crimes causes concern for Jews

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MARQUETTE — Yesterday, the Department of Justice held a summit to raise awareness of anti-semitic attacks and discrimination. Crimes against the Jewish community within the United States are on the rise. Synagogues are attacked, Jews are shot and killed and Jewish cemeteries are vandalized.

Attorney General William Barr said at the summit yesterday, “I’m deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes and political violence that we have seen over the past decade. This trend has included a marked increase in reported instances of anti-semitic hate crimes.”

Many lesser publicized crimes happen daily. Swastikas are painted on houses and discriminatory remarks are made in passing.

“Using nazi symbolism like that can only mean one thing…’We want you to be scared'” says Aaron Scholnik, Board Member at Temple Beth Shalom in Marquette. “Even with over 60 years since the Holocaust, the memory of that is still there. But there are enough people trying, if not to kill Jews, then to exclude them from normal society.”

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, also spoke at the summit. DeVos highlighted the growing anti-semitism on college and university campuses.

“We stand firmly against the alarming rise of anti-Semitism,” says DeVos. “One of the most pernicious and prevalent examples of anti-Semitism on campus is the campaign known as BDS. These campus bullies claim they stand for human rights, but we all know BDS stands for anti-Semitism.”

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel.

While no anti-semitic discrimination has been reported in the Upper Peninsula, there are still concerns and extra precautions are being taken.

“When people are shooting at Jews to the east of us and to the west of us, you have to worry about, could somebody say ‘well, this is a pretty isolated place. I could get away with it.’ So yes, we are seriously discussing enhanced security for the synagogue,” says Scholnik.

To watch the entire Department of Justice Anti-Semitism Summit, click here.

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