Top of Mind Thursday – October 27, 2022: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

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Four years ago today, the country was shocked by the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, when eleven people were killed in the worst antisemitic attack on US soil.

Since then, attacks against synagogues and community centers reached an all-time high, rising 60% from 2020 to 2021 alone. Antisemitic incidents in general rose 34% year over year.

This week, a number of businesses pushed back against Kanye West’s recent anti-semitic rantings and ravings. The list includes Gap, Foot Locker, JP Morgan Chase, Instagram, Twitter, Peloton, TJ Maxx, and Adidas.

While these organizations are to be commended for not ignoring this dangerous behavior, no one should be fooled into thinking this solves the problem. “Cancelling” one bad actor doesn’t make the problem go away.

Two weeks ago, former president Donald Trump posted a diatribe that warned American Jews to get their act together “before it’s too late.” Given that remarks from Trump caused more than 2000 people to storm the US Capitol on January 6th, what could this type of veiled threat unleash?

In August, a school district in Texas removed the Diary of Anne Frank from its curriculum because they found the content disturbing. Huh? What happened during the Holocaust should disturb us, as should the Tree of Life shooting, Kanye’s behavior, and all the rest.

The fact that this is still happening in America in 2022 is what’s most disturbing. To quote Joseph Heller, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

Some things never change.

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