“It’s gotten really scary:” Hate against Jews ramping up; Could it be because of what’s going on overseas?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The concerns are growing among members of southeastern Wisconsin's Jewish population. A recent uptick in anti-Semitic activity has many on alert -- and asking for your help in stopping what could be a slide down a slippery slope.

The expressions of hate, themselves aren't new -- but where they may be going is.

"There's sort of an ongoing, certain level of sentiment or rhetoric. It's years of escalation -- but it's gotten really scary," Elana Kahn-Oren with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation said.

As Jewish leaders say they are witnessing a disturbing increase in both the frequency and intensity of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and right here in Wisconsin.

"We've seen, for sure an increase in the type of rhetoric. I mean, there's a tenor and there is actually -- there's specific language that we haven't seen in awhile," Kahn-Oren said.

Kahn-Oren says Gaza's continuing conflict involving Israel and Hamas is prompting behaviors that are worrying some here in Wisconsin.

"Locally, we've seen people -- especially on Facebook, where there's a comment -- someone will post a comment about the war, and it'll devolve into like, really old, classic, anti-Semitic canards," Kahn-Oren said.

While the comments involve fabricated propaganda, their impact is very real.

"This is extremely hurtful," Dr. Shay Pilnik, the Executive Director of Milwaukee's Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center said.

Dr. Pilnik says while the recent rhetoric may not be on a big scale yet -- it should already have all members of the southeastern Wisconsin Jewish community concerned.

"This is exactly the point where we, as responsible, good-hearted citizens -- Jewish and non-Jewish, who have learned the lessons of the Holocaust would like not to wait, but rather to step up at this point and say, 'we can't accept this,'" Dr. Pilnik said.

So what can you do to help stop the spread of anti-Semitism?

Kahn-Oren, Dr. Pilnik and others suggest speaking up about any inhumane treatment of Jews you experience or witness.

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation keeps track of such incidents and makes a yearly report to national organizations and law enforcement officials.

10 comments

  • Tirone

    If these people get violent against Jews because of whats going on back in their homeland then they should be caught and sent back to their homeland. Let them know that we do not tolerate that *&^& here.

    • Michael Renard

      History is repeating itself, it behooves every American Jew and elsewhere to arm yourself. The IDF JEWISH SOLDIERS are warriors, armed to the teeth and ready to anticipate and respond to unsolicited violence, Diaspora Jews should embrace this philosophy . This millennia has never seen nor confronted Jews able and willing to defend themselves. This is a miracle.

  • lisa

    Racist Wisconsin, will be like Detroit soon, who will be the CNA too their parents when the lower class will no longer do it, let the chips fall where they may all other nations will soon rise against this racism and be tired of their comments as well!

  • heather

    You reap what you sow. Period. Why is it that they also bring up the Holocaust and it is ok but when other people bring up their history they are labeled as playing the race card????

    • David

      Why should anyone simply forget any portion of their history? No people who has been wronged deserves to have their history forgotten, and no perpetrators of injustice deserve to get away with it. This is about justice and equality, things which unfortunately sometimes need to be fought for.

  • John

    It works both ways! In Chicago, the Jews were marching and attacking the Palastinians. I say it’s not my problem. Deal with your own issues! If both sides can’t act civil, especially when they are living in another country, they should pack up and go back to their homeland. Good riddens! This country would be better off without both groups then!

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