While tensions rise worldwide as Israel mounts its response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks, American Jews have become the targets of increased antisemitic hate.
Carolyn Normandin, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Michigan, told Fox News Digital about the situation on the ground in her state. “We typically get [reports of] two to three incidents a week. In three weeks between Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, we got 61 [reports],” Normandin said. She was hesitant to label this a more than 600% increase in reporting, noting there have been duplicate reports of identical incidents. Nationwide the ADL reported that antisemitic incidents rose to 388% over the same period last year.
After being “yelled at, heckled, jeered, locked in conference rooms [and] physically threatened,” Zema said many are “scared to say what they believe in.” Since Oct. 7, Zema and JLIC have focused on supporting students’ emotional well-being and providing security for Jewish events JLIC organizes. Additionally, JLIC is working to educate campuses so that protesters can enjoy freedom of expression without hindering Jewish students’ freedoms of religion and expression.
Outside of campuses, Jewish Americans face security concerns associated with their religious identities. Richard Priem, chief operations officer and deputy national director of Community Security Services (CSS), a nonprofit organization that has trained 3,500 community members to provide security at over 350 synagogues in CSS’s countrywide network.
Priem told Fox News Digital that CSS had seen “an uptick in requests for its services in the last five years… but what we’ve seen since Oct. 7 is unlike anything we’ve seen before.” CSS is now inundated with requests for training because Jewish Americans of all ages want to “secure our synagogues, our events so that we can continue being proud Jews in the United States.”
Security concerns have changed since Hamas’ attacks. Priem recalled how some CSS volunteer security personnel were recently confronted by demonstrators outside a synagogue. “Targeting Jews because [protesters] have an issue with Israel is antisemitism,” Priem said. “That’s one thing that we’ve seen now that we haven’t seen before.”
In addition to new threats related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, Priem said CSS continues to respond to bomb threats and harassment campaigns from right-wing groups that “didn’t go into lunch break because they thought that the anti-Israel extremists had it covered,” he explained.
In addition to increasing its training efforts, CSS hopes to grow its Interfaith Security Service, an effort that allowed New York-based institutions to share best practices with other minority community members targeted with harassment and violence.
Priem said these efforts “are little steps that all of us can take to be there for each other when the other is in need, [and] speak up and bring to light the immorality of what’s going on… and the impact that it has on regular people.”
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