They say it cannot happen here. They say it will not happen to you, or to your friends or your family. They say it isn’t a big deal or that it’s just some harmless doodles; hateful ideology doesn’t exist today, right?
But what happens when it is your community? What happens when it happens in your neighborhood? Do we wake up or do we just ignore it?
I go to Clark University, and fortunately, anti-Semitism is not a reality that I have to deal with on a daily basis, but my friends do. At Northeastern, following a hateful BDS vote to boycott and divest from the State of Israel, a swastika was found on a white board in the middle of the night and was subsequently investigated as a possible hate crime. At Claremont colleges, and Universities of California my friends have had swastikas drawn on their AEPi house, mezzuzot have been ripped down and the Jewish community is under attack. These acts of blatant hatred, acts that sprung the worst tragedy to ever happen to the Jewish community and one of the worst global tragedies, are happening again. And they are right in my backyard.
At Framingham University, this past week, a student’s car was vandalized with a swastika. This student not only was non-Jewish but also had no affiliation to the Jewish community. But he goes to school less than an hour away from me. It could have happened to me. It could have happened to anyone: anti-Semitism isn’t just targeting Jews; it is a vicious hatred that permeates and attacks all cultures.
Thirty-five minutes from my house, just streets over from one of my closest friends, another friend was the victim of a brutal and heinous act of anti-Semitism. The Nelson and Lecoin families in Brockton had their homes defaced with a Swastika, attacking my friend Matt and his family based upon his Jewish identity. This is unacceptable.
We can claim that it won’t happen here, we can claim it is only happening in France, or Copenhagen, or Germany, or Russia, or Ukraine or a grocery store, or wherever; but it is happening here. It is happening to my friends, my community, and my family.
The buck stops here. If we cannot stand together to condemn anti-Semitism, if we cannot stand together to condemn hatred, if we cannot stand together against bigotry we have lost. Today, we have an opportunity to create change; we must seize this opportunity and educate others to understand, before it is too late. First they came for the Jews, but it never stops at the Jews.