90 Holocaust organizations, 70 educators bemoan rise in hate speech
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90 Holocaust organizations, 70 educators bemoan rise in hate speech

Surge in anti-Semitism, intolerance in wake of US presidential elections 'alarms' scholars

A Jewish protester at Texas A&M University faces riot police guarding the Memorial Student Center where leader of the so-called alt-right movement, Richard Spencer, gave a speech on December 6, 2016. (Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel)
A Jewish protester at Texas A&M University faces riot police guarding the Memorial Student Center where leader of the so-called alt-right movement, Richard Spencer, gave a speech on December 6, 2016. (Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel)

Ninety US Holocaust remembrance institutions, and more than 70 individual scholars and educators, have decried a rise in intolerance and hate speech.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the signatories also called on US lawmakers to condemn white nationalist groups and asked citizens to be vigilant.

“Recent months have seen a surge in unabashed racism and hate speech – including blatant anti-Semitism and attacks on Hispanics, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, as well as other targeted groups. Journalists have been threatened. Places of worship, schools and playgrounds have been defaced with Nazi symbols intended to intimidate and arouse fear. White supremacist groups have become self-congratulatory and emboldened,” reads the statement.

“As Holocaust scholars, educators and institutions, we are alarmed by these trends. History teaches us that intolerance, unchecked, leads to persecution and violence. We denounce racism and the politics of fear that fuels it. We stand in solidarity with all vulnerable groups. We take Elie Wiesel’s words to heart: ‘I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation,’” the statement continues.

The statement was co-authored by members of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, a network dedicated to the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

Its publication follows a spike in anti-Semitic incidents following the US presidential election, including acts of vandalism featuring swastikas, some with references to President-elect Donald Trump, in public areas as well as on the homes of Jewish individuals.

Last week, the watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center said it had received reports of 100 anti-Semitic incidents occurring in the 10 days following the presidential election, representing about 12 percent of hate incidents reported to the group in the United States.

“Therefore, we call upon all elected officials as well as all civic and religious leaders to forcefully and explicitly condemn the rise in hate speech and any attacks on our democratic principles. We call upon all media and social media platforms to refuse to provide a stage for hate groups and thus normalize their agenda. And we call upon all
people of good conscience to be vigilant, to not be afraid, and to speak out,” the statement concludes.

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