“Antiquated methods” cannot be used to dismantle antisemitism, a modern-day crisis, said New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the New York Symposium Against Antisemitism on May 23.
“If our methods are to merely sit in a sterilized environment of a room like this, with those of us who are all part of the same choir, that is not how you’re going to end antisemitism,” the mayor added. “The problem is not in this room. The problem is out there.”
The event, sponsored by the Combat Antisemitism Movement, also featured the movement’s advisory board chair, activist and former politician Natan Sharansky; and Elan Carr, former U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.
Adams told conference attendees that young people are fed hatred daily on social media. “If you aspire to be like someone, even when they do positive things, you’ll aspire to be like them when they start to do negative things,” he said. “Don’t underestimate the power of Kanye West and what he did, and the millions and millions of young people who know nothing about the history of what antisemitism represents.”
He added that when individuals are in pain, sometimes they “reach out and displace anger at whatever fits the conversation that’s available. I see young people drawing swastikas without knowing what it is.”
The mayor called on attorneys to collectively “sue the social-media companies that are destroying our communities and our cities, and feeding our children the hate and despair they’re witnessing.”
Sharansky, too, offered advice: “People on the left have to fight antisemitism on the left, and people on the right have to fight antisemitism on the right.”