Why Is Antisemitism Still Around?

​​Why is it that even post-Holocaust, Jews experience a large percentage of the world’s hate crimes, despite being less than 0.2% of the world’s population? That’s because the Holocaust wasn’t an antisemitic exception — it was the culmination of  years of religious, scientific, cultural and political anti-Jewish sentiment. This foundation still exists today. Many still subscribe to anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, resulting in disproportionately high statistics of anti-Jewish sentiment and large numbers of hate crimes. 

  1. True or false?: Antisemitism disappeared after the end of the Holocaust:
    • True
    • False
  2. Which of the following facts about the Holocaust are true?
    • It was a culmination of antisemitism
    • It didn’t happen in a vacuum
    • It happened after centuries of anti-Jewish ideas and assumptions
    • All of the above
  3. What percentage of the European population do Jews make up?
    • Around 10%
    • 8 %
    • Less than 0.2 %
    • 18%
  4. True or false?: Most Europeans have never met a Jew before.
    • True
    • False
  5. Antisemitism exists in which of the following places?
    • Mostly in Europe
    • In the USA
    • In the Arab world
    • All of the above
  1. Why do you think antisemitism still exists and what do you think is the best way to respond to it?
  2. What role do you think the following groups should have in combating antisemitism?
    • Yourself
    • Your school leaders
    • Your community leaders
    • Your elected officials
    • Social media companies
    • The State of Israel
  3. How is antisemitism similar to or different from other forms of group hatred?
  4. Historically, antisemites have blamed Jews for everything, from being disloyal citizens to controlling the media and politics, from being communists to being capitalists and even the blood libel of killing Christian children to use their blood in the baking of matzah. Why do you think Jews were and are still scapegoated for all of society’s problems? What do people gain from scapegoating another group?
  5. How are Jews today affected by antisemitism? Also, what kind of impact do you think antisemitism has on others within society?
  1. Interview: Sit down with an older relative and interview them about their experience with antisemitism. Ask them how antisemitism has affected their lives, how they view antisemitism today compared to when they were growing up and what they think can be done about it. Film the interview and show the key moments to your fellow students.
  2. Play “spectrum” with your students. Designate one side of the room as agree and the other side as disagree. Have them stand along the spectrum where they most identify based on the following statements:
    • I feel comfortable publicly identifying as Jewish
    • Antisemitism will not go away
    • I have the power to help end antisemitism
    • The situation for Jews today is improving
      After moving to where they most agree, students should discuss with the other students there why they chose that area and then open the conversation to the whole group to explain their stances. Students may change where they stand based on the conversation. This game can be played virtually as well by using the chat function and breakout rooms.
  3. Play our Kahoot about “Why Is Antisemitism Still Around?”
  1. Have you ever personally experienced antisemitism? Share your experience with the larger group.
  2. Journal your response to this statement “Just as slavery’s abolition in America didn’t end racism, the defeat of Nazi Germany didn’t end antisemitism.”
  3. Read the following statistics from a study performed by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights:
    • Nearly 40% of European Jews were afraid of publicly identifying as Jewish.
    • Nearly half were worried about being the victim of antisemitic harassment in the next 12 months.
    • And one-third feared being the victim of a physical assault.

How do you feel after seeing these statistics? Do you identify with any of the sentiments that exist amongst many European Jews wherever you live? ie: Do you or would you feel comfortable publicly identifying as Jewish?

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