The drama and tragedy of New Jersey is upsetting on so many levels. I don’t even know where to begin. The original chaos created a false scenario that this was an outside act of crime that randomly ended in a kosher supermarket. Now we know that, in fact, the kosher supermarket was targeted for Anti-Semitic terror.
Even more upsetting were the videos of neighborhood bystanders who laughed and cheered on the violence, especially when they found out that death came to Jews.
We do not want to accept that your average non-Jew has hate for Jews. Unfortunately, New Jersey and other terror throughout the world targeting Jews prove otherwise.
According to the ADL (Anti Defamation League), in a global study, 35 percent of people in the countries polled had never heard of the Holocaust. 41 percent believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country, and 74 percent of people in the Middle East and North Africa hold anti-Semitic attitudes—the highest regional percentage in the world. Of the 26 percent of people who hold anti-Semitic views, 70 percent have never actually met a Jewish person. Follow-up surveys in selected countries were conducted in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
Data from Jewish communities around the globe indicate an increase in annual anti-Semitic incidents. And some Jews are feeling more isolated and vulnerable as a result, according to recent surveys. A December 2018 EU survey found that 80 percent of European Jews feel that anti-Semitism in their country has increased over the past five years, and 40 percent live in daily fear of being physically attacked.
All of the above are from 2018. It seems clear that 2019 is even worse.
What is the answer? I wish I knew. Unfortunately, it is a negative tool that increases awareness amongst all Jews of their “Jewishness” and actually brings us together.
I wish we could be raising our awareness as Jews and coming together over positive things, and not wait for the next New Jersey.
But for today, we are all from New Jersey.