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Community Briefing: Antisemitism and Security

An alarming statistic was shared recently by the Secure Community Network, the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America: Over the past month, in the wake of Israel’s 11-day conflict with Hamas, antisemitic acts in the U.S. soared by 80%.

This includes incidents of vandalism and intimidation, calls for boycotts and a relentless barrage of extreme criticism against Israel in social media. Anti-Zionism has become a form of open and pervasive antisemitism, as the effort the delegitimize Israel’s right to defend itself—and even to exist—has become interwoven with other strains of hatred for the Jewish people.

Understandably, there is a heightened concern across Jewish Detroit about the surge in antisemitism. Locally, we have witnessed disparaging and inflammatory rhetoric in the media, in public institutions and on our college campuses. This toxic commentary perpetuates hate and is wholly unacceptable. No other religious or ethnic group would or should tolerate the level of animus that has been directed toward Israel and, in many cases, the Jewish people.

Jewish organizations are often first to defend and speak up for other groups targeted by hate. Here in Detroit, we have enjoyed a century of peaceful relations with other religious and ethnic groups, and we remain committed to cooperation and respect between communities. We must continue to demonstrate allyship and solidarity with our neighbors and remain advocates and exemplars for justice and equality for all.

But we must also confront antisemitism directly. This means calling it out when it appears and working to halt its normalization in our society. We applaud those who gathered recently to rally against antisemitism, and we encourage everyone to lend their voices as we speak out as a unified community. Below, you will find a listing of resources to report any incidents or concerns, as well as to engage in the effort to combat antisemitism, hatred and divisiveness of all kinds.

We want to stress that the safety our community remains a core priority of the Jewish Federation. We have long recognized the critical importance of sustained and vigilant security, and in recent years we have grown the size and reach of our Community Security program. Our highly trained and experienced officers are stationed at Jewish Day Schools, agencies, camps and campuses throughout the community. This team works in close collaboration with their peers in local and national law enforcement to keep our community members safe. We also support Jewish congregations and other institutions across the community by providing consultation, education and advocacy to instill a culture of vigilance and safety.

We conclude with a message from the rabbi of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue to American Jews: “The answer is not to do less and to hide. It’s to be proud of who you are, and to do more of what you are that makes you Jewish; to help your fellow human beings in any way that you can; to follow the precepts of our Jewish law, and to be the best possible version of yourself you could be. So, when they do more evil, I do more Jewish.”


TO REPORT SECURITY CONCERNS

If you see something, say something. Immediately report suspicious behavior to local law enforcement. Be aware of activities on social media and report concerns with guns, threats or other alarming activities.

Contact JFMD Security
For immediate concerns related to Jewish communal schools, congregations and agencies, contact the Jewish Federation Community-Wide Security Team at 248-833-2521 or email security@jfmd.org.
*Anyone in immediate danger should contact 911 (or their local law enforcement entity).


TO REPORT INCIDENTS OF ANTISEMITISM

Contact ADL
To report incidents of antisemitism, bias and discrimination through the ADL, visit https://www.adl.org/reportincident or call 248-353-7553.


TO LEARN MORE AND GET INVOLVED

Resources from ADL:
ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. 

  • Sign up for ADL’s monthly newsletter to keep up-to-date with the local work ADL is doing including updates from the Regional Director and education team: www.adl.org/sign-up-to-receive-adl-email-newsletters  
  • Ending bias, hate, and antisemitism starts with education. Reach out to ADL’s education team by clicking here to learn more about bringing programs to your schools or religious institutions.
  • Visit www.adl.org for background documents on hate groups and symbols, resources for parents and teachers, research reports, and advocacy efforts.

Resources from JCRC/AJC:
JCRC/AJC’s mission is to represent the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community, Israel and Jews throughout the world to the general community, and to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic and religious groups.

  • Click here to join JCRC/AJC’s email list (scroll to the bottom) or email alekman@jfmd.org
  • For our high school community, Hannah Goodman, AJC Young Leadership Associate, heads up AJC’s LFT program in Detroit to educate high school students about advocacy against antisemitism. goodman@ajc.org
  • For our partnership with the Black community, Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity (with Council of Baptist Pastors, Urban League and ADL): Ashira Solomon is our Community Associate. solomon@jfmd.org.   
  • For our partnerships with the Muslim, Hindu and Chaldean community, our Muslim Jewish Advisory Council (with the Michigan Muslim Community Council): Michael Kuper: kuper@jfmd.org.  
  • Follow JCRC/AJC and the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity on Facebook.
  • Translate Hate – A digital resource aimed at enabling people of all backgrounds to expose antisemitic tropes and take action against hate speech.

Resources from the Jewish Federation System:
The Secure Community Network (SCN) is part of the American Jewish community’s response to heightened security concerns in the United States. Sign up for updates here.

Matthew B. Lester
President, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
Dennis S. Bernard
President, United Jewish Foundation
Steven Ingber
Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

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