Anti-Semitic hate crimes must be universally denounced
New York City has seen a surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes, according to New York Police Department officials. In early September, the N.Y.P.D. said that so far this year there have been 152 reports of anti-Semitic hate crimes, ranging from vandalism to violent assaults, a 63 percent increase over the same period in 2018. In one particularly disturbing incident in August, a 63-year-old Jewish man reported that he was viciously attacked with a brick while running in a Brooklyn park by a man yelling anti-Semitic slurs. The police did not offer an explanation for the recent spike, and there is no clear pattern to the various physical attacks, except that as members of the Hasidic community, many of the victims are visibly Jewish.
Almost one year ago, a white nationalist killed 11 people worshipping at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Nationwide, anti-Semitic hate crimes make up 13 percent of all hate crimes reported to the F.B.I., which also noted an uptick in hate crime rates in 2017, the latest year for which data is available. Anti-Semitic crimes have historically been and remain the most common religiously motivated crimes.
Every citizen, whether aligned with the political right or the left, must denounce these crimes against our Jewish brothers and sisters.
The stoking of nationalist sentiment by far right groups has created a hostile environment for the country’s Jews and other minorities. But nationalist fervor does not explain most of the crimes, and it is imperative that these crimes too be forcefully denounced, even if they do not fit into the reigning narrative.
No political ends can justify the toleration of anti-Semitism. Every citizen, whether aligned with the political right or the left, must denounce these crimes against our Jewish brothers and sisters. And Catholics especially must take to heart the words of Pope Francis: “A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots. It would be a contradiction of faith and life. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community.”