January 13, 2020


Join AF-Detroit to Learn to Counter Antisemitism in Honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

By: AF Editors

International Holocaust Remembrance Day falls annually on January 27 to mark the date when the largest German death camp, Auschwitz, was liberated. It is our yearly reminder to consider the implications of the Nazi genocide, which caused the deaths of 6 million Jewish, and several million non-Jewish, victims. 

January 27, 2020, will mark the 75th year since Auschwitz’s liberation. Those 75 years have seen Nazi criminals brought to justice, reparations paid to some forced laborers and survivors, and scores of Holocaust memorials, museums, and libraries created to mark a difficult past and house the memories of witnesses and survivors of genocide. 

Unfortunately, more recent years have also seen the resurrection and evolution of the antisemitic hatred which led to the decimation of two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish community.

In the United States and in countries including the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, and France, antisemitism is on the rise. 

In the past 15 months, there have been three deadly attacks, or attempted attacks, on Jewish synagogues. The first attacker claimed 11 lives in October 2018 at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The second attacker killed one victim in April 2019 during Passover at Chabad of Poway in California. The final attack took place in October on Yom Kippur in Halle, Germany, where a shooter attempted and failed to gain entry to the local synagogue, but killed two people in the vicinity. Also of concern are recent violent anti-Israel protests on college campuses in the U.S. and Canada, which demonstrate the unsafe antisemitic atmosphere long experienced by Jewish and Zionist students at many institutions of higher learning.

In 2019, several varieties of antisemitism plagued Michigan. 

In June, Neo-Nazis marched at the Detroit Motor City Pride Festival. Swastikas were painted in a cemetery in Jackson in June and on a Jewish synagogue in the Upper Peninsula in September.

In this multifaceted climate of increasing antisemitism, 31 percent of American Jews, according to an October survey from the American Jewish Committee, avoid wearing items that might indicate their religion. 25 percent avoid going to certain locations out of fear for their safety.

And yet, due to increased political division, Americans have failed to band together against escalating antisemitism and those who espouse it. Instead, we have chosen to cudgel our political opponents with inaccurate Holocaust-era terminology and bad Holocaust history, while insisting the more dangerous embodiment of the world’s oldest hatred is a problem within our political opponents’ party.

As New York Times writer and editor Bari Weiss explains in How to Fight Anti-Semitism, antisemitism is thriving on the far left, the far right, and in radical Islam. By deluding ourselves about its nature and forms and minimizing the spread of antisemitism, we allow that insidious hatred to grow.

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Detroit chapter of America’s Future Foundation is hosting a discussion of modern day embodiments of antisemitism, and how we can individually counteract them, on Wednesday, January 15 at 6:00 pm on the second floor of the Detroit Beer Co. Remarks commence at 6:30 pm as freelance writer and AF-Detroit program coordinator Beth Bailey provides insight gleaned from years of studying, researching, and writing about the Holocaust and, more recently, the effects of current sources of antisemitism.

In particular, Beth will demonstrate how the disparate groups that deny the Holocaust, demonize Israel, and promote racist theories about the Jewish people share an allegiance to new mutations of an age-old irrational hatred divorced from reason or fact.

The program will also demonstrate how those of us who are not in thrall to the ideologies of hate can drop our political baggage to unite around the Jewish community, disavow antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and support our ally Israel when it receives unwarranted defamation. Though the spread of antisemitism may seem unstoppable, Beth will delineate a host of ways that we can stand up against it together.

We hope you join us for an important conversation, and encourage all participants to come with ideas and questions of their own.