We must stand together against hatred
These days I am scared. I am scared by the division I see in our nation and I am scared by the rising anti-Semitism plaguing us. I am scared to see Americans turning on one another because of a difference of opinion — whether political or religious.
Rather than foster the hatred — or worse, ignore it — we must stand together against it. We must unite with one voice to proclaim that we will not allow this hatred to continue to fester in our communities.
To do this, we must speak up when we see and hear others denigrating our Jewish brothers and sisters. We must tell them to their faces that anti-Semitism has no place here. And we must tell the bystanders the same thing and remind them of their American duty to stand against hatred.
Our nation was founded on the principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But these principles are in jeopardy. It is nearly impossible for Jews to pursue happiness when they fear they will be attacked while walking down the street, as has happened to Jews recently. They do not have the liberty to practice their religion or to “appear” Jewish, as they will be singled out and harassed. And, as events this year have shown, their right to life is not guaranteed.
In the past year, two unaffiliated gunmen on opposite coasts entered synagogues and murdered Jews praying inside. They did this because of hate.
Of course, murder is the most extreme example of anti-Semitism I can point to — but there are other examples in our nation today. One need only visit a U.S. college campus and one will see the proliferation of anti-Semitism there. These educational hubs have become bastions for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment, which is often just anti-Semitism disguised as political activism.
Jewish students on college campuses have been besieged by hatred, expressed as swastikas scrawled in public places, slurs written on dorm-room doors, and demeaning comments made in classrooms and college papers. College should be a time of growth and self-expression, but not at the expense of one’s innocent cohorts.
And these anti-Semitic behaviors are starting younger and younger. A quick online search yields hundreds of results of swastikas being found in middle and high schools across the nation. Our children are learning hate. We know where such hate leads, yet we are not doing enough to curb it.
Our children and college students believe that such hatred is alright because they see well-known figures espousing these disgusting views with little to no repercussions. Perhaps most vocal these days are two members of our own Congress: Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Omar and Tlaib have openly lambasted Israel and its people, calling on anti-Semitic stereotypes to foment distrust and animosity. They have openly partnered with groups like Miftah, which has spread centuries-old blood libel against the Jewish people — blood libel that has for generations led to extreme violence.
We cannot continue to allow our nation’s leaders to besmirch the good name of the Jewish people or attack Israel, which is one of our strongest allies. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East — the only country that shares our American values. We need bipartisan support of Israel to protect our values and our strongest ally in that region.
There needs to be more unity in our nation moving forward. We cannot better our nation and preserve our traditions if we do not work together. And part of that work is standing up against anti-Semitism. So join me on Sept. 24 in a global fight against anti-Semitism. On that day, Acheinu, the outreach arm of the educational organization Dirshu, will host its annual prayer event with the theme of stamping out the plague of anti-Semitism on the rise in our country and our world. Regardless of your religious affiliation, I ask that you join us to pray for peace and acceptance.
We can make sure America remains a safe haven for people of all religions as long we stand together for it. We can make a difference.
Noelle Nikpour is a GOP strategist and fundraiser, television commentator, and author of Branding America.
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