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A Turning Point in the Fight Against Antisemitism: The Price Tag on Hatred

In the wake of Hamas’ murderous October 7 terror attack and the subsequent surge in antisemitic incidents worldwide, a paradigm shift is occurring. The tragedy has spurred the pro-Israel movement to attach a tangible cost to supporting antisemitism. The unprecedented momentum against perpetrators of hatred is evident in governmental actions, business decisions, and a groundswell of public sentiment. But, if we want this moment to be a real opportunity to curb the rise of antisemitism, it must demand both our attention and our action.

The brutal assault by Hamas has had far-reaching consequences, especially on the Jewish community. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Austria and the United States have witnessed a 300% increase in antisemitic incidents, while Europe experienced a staggering 400% surge. Incidents of antisemitism in London skyrocketed by 1,353%, and Germany reported a 240% increase. The European Commission has warned that we are witnessing levels of antisemitism reminiscent of some of the darkest periods in history. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed deep concern over the dimensions of this alarming trend.

Jews are being physically attacked on the streets, and campuses are becoming hotbeds for antisemitic activities. The incidents range from a severe beating at a Los Angeles protest to shootings near a Montreal school. Social media platforms are flooded with antisemitic content, denying the horrors of the Hamas attack or justifying them and, in some cases, encouraging harm to Jews.

However, within this challenging period, the pro-Israel movement is seizing the opportunity to make significant strides. For the first time, a price tag is being attached to supporters of antisemitism, marking a pivotal moment in the fight against hatred. In recent weeks, governments, civil society groups and businesses alike have taken concrete steps, demonstrating an unprecedented commitment to countering antisemitism.

Governmental responses have been particularly robust. Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made resolute statements condemning support for Hamas and antisemitism. Austria took the bold step of banning pro-Palestinian demonstrations, citing the expression “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as a “clear call for violence.” In France, legislative amendments are underway to treat supporters of Hamas publishing content similarly to those promoting Nazi content, marking a significant move toward legislative action against antisemitism.

Simultaneously, the pro-Israel movement is making meaningful strides on university campuses, an historically challenging terrain for advocacy. The war has prompted tangible changes, with leading institutions like Harvard, Columbia, George Washington, and Brandeis taking action against the pro-Palestinian organization SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine). SJP, responsible for terrorizing Jewish and Israeli students through events like “Israeli Apartheid Week,” has faced unprecedented suspensions. These actions are not only symbolic but have a direct impact on the feeling of safety for Jewish students on campuses.

Moreover, businesses are playing a pivotal role in this turning point. Several top law firms have announced they will not employ their graduates if they participated in antisemitic activities. Financial giants like JPMorgan and Bank of America have declared they will not hire students involved in anti-Israel protests. A statement signed by 260 top executives has pledged support for Jewish communities facing harassment and antisemitic violence. The suspension of SJP, donor withdrawals from Harvard due to anti-Israel incitement, and legal action by prominent businesses signify what appears to be a genuinely new appetite for combating antisemitism on campus.

In the world of entertainment, particularly Hollywood, we are also seeing a shift. While some actors like David Schwimmer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Jenner, Brooke Shields, and others have defended Israel, actors such as Susan Sarandon and Melissa Barrera have faced consequences for their anti-Israel statements. The industry is witnessing a real and tangible price being attached to any hint of antisemitism.

These developments have not occurred in isolation; they are a direct response to Hamas’ terror attack and the subsequent wave of virulent antisemitism. The call “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” which has been the anthem of anti-Israel organizations for decades, is no longer acceptable. Supporting a Palestinian state is of course a legitimate stance, but not at the expense of the State of Israel.

This turning point is a historic opportunity for the pro-Israel movement. The momentum against antisemitism is building, and it is crucial to capitalize on it now. The fight against hatred must extend beyond statements and awareness campaigns; concrete legislative and business actions are essential.

As we witness these tangible results and the increasing price tag on antisemitism, it is imperative to sustain and expand these efforts. The public sentiment is shifting, and the time is now to create meaningful change that will resonate beyond the current crisis. By exerting substantial pressure on donors, businesses, and institutions, we can ensure that antisemitism finds no fertile ground on campuses, in businesses, or in the public sphere as a whole.

We must seize this opportunity to bring about lasting change, ensuring that the world stands united against antisemitism and in support of a secure and thriving Jewish community.

About the Author
Revital Yakin Krakovsky is Deputy CEO of the International March of the Living, senior advisor to the Combat Antisemitism Movement, and a former senior department head in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
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