Fighting Antisemitism

By Nadia N. Aziz

At The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we work in coalition with our many partner organizations to fight hate — working across communities to build solidarity and demonstrate that anti-Black racism, antisemitism, anti-Latino including anti-Mexican hate, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, and all forms of hate are part of an interconnected struggle for equality.

The Leadership Conference founders — a cross section of African American, Jewish, and labor leaders — came together in 1950 because they knew the fight for civil rights and justice would only be won in coalition. This is especially true in the fight against hate and bias.

Since 2015, advocates, communities, and researchers alike have been working to draw attention to the increase in hate crimes and the impact of hate on communities. Sadly, the need to continue to bring attention to this disturbing trend remains.

Since 2015, data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have shown some disturbing trends: In 2014, the number of reported hate crime incidents was 5,599. In 2020, it was 8,263. Furthermore, this data from the FBI is notoriously underreported — both because many people are not comfortable reporting an incident to law enforcement, and because law enforcement agencies are not required to report hate crime data to the FBI. And that is just one source of data. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) shows an average of 246,900 hate crime victimizations per year in the United States. That is about 28 hate crime victimizations an hour. This is why we have been fighting for mandatory reporting of all hate crimes.

We must also focus on the root causes of the rise in hate. Oftentimes we see increases in hate incidents when there is a parallel increase in hateful rhetoric in public dialogue. Indeed, in recent months, when powerful individuals used their considerable platforms to espouse antisemitic hate, one individual’s words quickly inspired more collective action — hate groups held signs over highways, projected hateful messages on buildings, and yes, even threatened synagogues. And these are just examples of hate that is visible. Hate groups are actively working to mainstream hate, to give it permission, and to drive divisions between groups.

We also don’t always focus enough on different forms of hate and bias. It is not just hate groups holding antisemitic signs over highways in California, or neo-Nazis chanting “the Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hate — and bias in particular — can also be more discreet. For antisemitism, for example, it can mean age-old antisemitic tropes seeping into everyday conversations — allegations of dual loyalty, “jokes” about power or greed, or conspiracy theories circulating online. Even biased assumptions of an affinity with the state of Israel or double standards being applied to Jewish individuals or organizations are harmful and create division.

While the FBI’s 2022 hate crime data won’t be released for another year, partner organizations have highlighted the dangerous increase in antisemitism through surveys and internal tracking.

Our coalition, including the Hate Crimes Task Force, has come together for more than 70 years to promote and protect civil and human rights. Today, we are working to fight hate by increasing awareness about the impact of white supremacy, antisemitism, and all forms of hate, by increasing the number of people who actively work to reject and dismantle white supremacy around the country, and by strengthening community resilience.

Today, more than 70 years after The Leadership Conference’s founding, our coalition is diverse and together we prove that solidarity is stronger than hate.

Nadia N. Aziz is the senior director of the fighting hate & bias program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.