Denouncing Surge in Antisemitism
Joint Statement by JCRC and The Federation
Denouncing Surge in Antisemitism
June 4, 2021
San Francisco, CA – The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (the Federation) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) today joined voices to condemn the surge of antisemitism that includes grievous incidents and incitement here in the Bay Area and across the country. We seek to call attention to the vulnerability of our community in this moment, and to promote our urgent needs.
There are many factors contributing to the surge of antisemitism – including the divisive political climate, loss of memory about the Holocaust and virulent animosity toward Israel’s right to exist. Many of these trends today begin online through social media platforms. Because online communities and platforms have been unable to contain and address this hatred, the impact on our community is extending far beyond the bubble of social media.
In various cities across the Bay, swastikas have been scrawled on synagogues, yard signs and people’s homes. Anti-Jewish hate related to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has manifested in ways similar to the hate facing our Asian American Pacific Islander neighbors: the scapegoating of marginalized Americans because of events overseas. These trends are evident in our universities and schools – most recently in a condemnatory resolution passed by the United Educators of San Francisco, a union that presents itself as the collective voice of San Francisco Unified School District teachers and paraprofessionals.
We hear disheartening stories from our Jewish youth, who face derogatory memes (including “Hitler was right”) and litmus-test questioning over their connection, real or imagined, to Israel. On the one hand, our community is marginalized and condemned for its cultural and religious difference, and on the other is ostracized due to international events and politics beyond our control. Even the President of the United States just last week called out the “toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories” that is driving the attacks.
JCRC is mobilizing the community to take action now by advancing a legislative package combating hate, and is engaging in leadership meetings with our elected officials, including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and Northern California state legislators. We have also increased our coordination with other communities experiencing similar increases in intolerance and xenophobia, in particular the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Just this week, JCRC joined the San Francisco Chapter of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA-SF) to issue a joint statement denouncing “all hate speeches and crimes intended to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.”
At the same time, the Federation’s Community Security Program provides support to organizations throughout the Bay Area around preventing and responding to incidents. The Federation conducts over 40 security consultations and assessments annually, coordinates with local and national security partners to monitor changes in the threat environment and advocate for proactive responses, and builds networks and relationships between community organizations to enhance their preparedness.
Most recently, the Federation joined San Francisco’s Police Department (SFPD) and Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) to advise Armenian community leaders in the wake of the arson attack on the office of Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church, and also advised the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative on its upcoming Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention training for high schools and faith-based organizations.
History has taught us not to ignore outbursts of antisemitism, which all too easily are harnessed into violence against Jews, as we’ve seen in New York and Los Angeles. We call for the community to stand in solidarity and to take action in the following ways:
- Report any incidents of antisemitic, bias, or discriminatory using ADL’s reporting system
- Contact the United Educators of San Francisco and the San Francisco Board of Education and ask them to keep San Francisco students safe from antisemitism
- Support our community’s efforts to combat hate by passing new, statewide hate-crime prevention and tracking legislation, and otherwise Support a Just Recovery in California post-COVID
Please also consider signing up for JCRC’s and Federation’s newsletters to stay informed on these issues. There is much work to be done to ensure our Bay Area environment stays both safe and welcoming, and a great deal that each of us can do to help.
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