(March 14, 2023, JNS Wire) The Center for Combating Antisemitism (CCA), a division of StandWithUs (SWU), along with multiple partner organizations, launched a billboard campaign calling attention to the rise of antisemitism across the United States and around the world. The effort urges others of conscience to join the “Together Against Antisemitism” campaign.
The first billboards will be up from March 8 through April 9. One is located on Atlantic Avenue in Del Ray, Fla., one mile west of Military Trail. The other is located on Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami near 114th Street. The billboard states “Together Against Antisemitism” and directs people to learn more online (www.standuptohatred.com).
“The aim of the campaign is to bring together organizations and individuals who recognize the evils of antisemitism and are willing to publicly stand with the Jewish community, condemn anti-Jewish bigotry and take steps to combat antisemitism in its many forms,” said Carly Gammill, director of the CCA.
Sara Gold Rafel, executive director of StandWithUs Southeast, stated: “The initial campaign is in South Florida because in the last few months, antisemitic incidents on campuses and communities there have risen to unacceptable levels. The billboards are one of many ways we are responding to this onslaught of hate and supporting the right of Jews to proudly express all aspects of their ethnic and religious identity. Members of the Jewish community deserve to be free of discrimination or harassment whether they are celebrating holidays, openly wearing Jewish symbols, expressing their connection to Israel, attending religious services or simply going about their daily lives.”
Florida is not the only state plagued by an uptick in anti-Jewish bigotry. White supremacist groups have been spreading hateful messages targeting the Jewish community throughout the country. They have peppered Jewish and other neighborhoods with leaflets promoting ancient anti-Jewish stereotypes, including in Beverly Hills and Pasadena in California, and Palm Beach and Boca Raton in Florida. They have hung large banners with antisemitic messages from the overpasses of major highways in several states and cities from Southern California to Jacksonville, Fla. Jews have been viciously attacked in major cities from Los Angeles to New York and from Chicago to Austin, Texas.
During January and February alone, the StandWithUs Southeast campus team reported at least 20 antisemitic incidents occurring on the campuses of 12 universities, including “Ye is Right” tables (referring to musician/rapper Kanye West and his hateful speech against Jews), sweatshirts emblazoned with “Anti-Zionist Social Club” and Nazi imagery such as swastikas.
On Feb. 22, a group of anti-Jewish bigots affiliated with the “Goyim Defense League” and their leader Jon Minadeo Jr. stood outside a Jewish synagogue in Orlando, Fla., and shouted at congregants as they were leaving. Their antisemitic messages were vitriolic and abusive, clearly attempting to intimidate the Jewish community. Another neo-Nazi group declared a “Day of Hate” on Feb. 25, once again hoping to isolate and bully American Jews.
“Rather than succeeding in instilling fear, however, these incidents have only strengthened the resolve of Jewish communities and our allies,” said Rafel. “Antisemitism is a societal disease that speaks not to any truth about Jewish identity but rather to the warped, conspiracy-based thinking of bigoted individuals who use age-old tropes and tactics, like scapegoating, to target the Jewish people.”
She added that “students in SWU’s campus and high school leadership programs are not tolerating these kinds of actions. We are so proud of how they are standing tall against hate and antisemitism with proactive and creative solutions.”
Gammill noted that “despite their blatantly false nature, when such messages are repeated often enough, they open up the possibility that they could gain a foothold within the mainstream culture.”
“This is not a time for us to be bystanders,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs. “Hate is destructive, divisive and potentially dangerous. We are obligated to point a finger at bigotry and draw clear red lines within civil society about what we will simply never tolerate. We are grateful to our allies who stand with us against such outrageous antisemitic rhetoric and actions.”
To learn more about the “Together Against Antisemitism” campaign, including an opportunity to add your name or organization to the list of those in support of the Jewish community, as well as access to resources about antisemitism and tools to combat it, visit: www.standuptohatred.com.