On Sunday, what started as a normal Sabbath for the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh turned into a deadly massacre that resulted in the death of 11 people and the injury of nine others. This shooting was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States, according to a CNN article.
President Trump visited Pittsburgh Tuesday after the shooting, even after being explicitly asked not to by several Jewish figures and Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto. More than 70,000 people signed an open letter from several prominent Jewish leaders in the city saying he was “not welcome” in Pittsburgh until he “fully denounces white nationalism.”
While the overall trend of anti-semitic incidents has been on the decline, this last year saw the largest single-year increase in these events since the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) began tracking them — a 57 percent increase in anti-semitic incidents in 2017, according to the ADL’s 2017 audit of anti-Semitic events. The day before the shooting in Pittsburgh occured, the ADL even released a report that found a marked rise in those on the far-right using anti-Semitic attacks on social media.
As of this article being written, there are television ads being run by mainstream political candidates and parties attacking Jewish philanthropist George Soros. This year, there are a record number of right-wing extremists running for office, according to the ADL. Several political figures — including President Trump — describe “globalists” as ruining the country, which is often code-speak for Jewish people.
Earlier in 2018, Matt Gaetz (a congressman from Florida) invited a Holocaust denier to be his guest for the State of the Union address. D.C. Council member Trayon White claimed that the Rothschilds (a prominent Jewish banking family) controlled the climate. Neither were disciplined or reprimanded by their respective political parties.
These, along with multiple other instances, are symptoms of the rising notions of anti-Semitism in the country. While they may seem like miniscule incidents, but when you add them up, it leads to a dangerous social climate.
This must end.
More than 100 years ago, the lynching of Leo Frank shocked the nation and directly led to the formation of the ADL to fight anti-Semitism. It is vital that in the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre, we realize the hate brewing within our society, and that it must be fought as diligently as possible.