As a Jewish woman, I have faced anti-Semitism in varying degrees. I have been told I do not look like a Jew, asked if my parents wanted me to be a lawyer, told that all the Jews are in control of Hollywood and told that “my people” would burn in eternal damnation. But time and time again, I have been told that anti-Semitism is no longer an issue.
When someone thinks of Jewish people, they tend to think of stereotypical professions – lawyers, doctors, bankers – people who are successful in America. Jewish people are viewed as successful, and anti-Semitism is often only taught in reference to the Holocaust, so many think that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past.
But in a Snapchat video that went viral across campus, a student made an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statement with a Rosh Hashanah filter over the video, leading to swift condemnation from student organizations and officials. The incident is indicative of the rarely seen but still prevalent anti-Semitism that Jewish students face.
With an undergraduate Jewish population of about 25 percent, the video impacted many people on campus and is by no means an isolated incident. Students can still feel the pain of a gunman walking into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last year and killing 11 Jewish people during services, and they are reminded again that Jews never feel truly welcome here.
Jewish students carry the baggage of centuries of oppression and genocide. Many Jewish students like me have family members who arrived in America because they were fleeing the Holocaust or fleeing pogroms in Russia, and many have family who were torn apart by anti-Semitic hate. Jews have been persecuted from before Christ, and all Jewish children are taught the history of our people. But most people are only taught about anti-Semitism in the context of the Holocaust, and if you see the Holocaust as the example of anti-Semitism and then look at “Jewish success,” it would look like anti-Semitism does not exist anymore.
Anti-Semitism existed before the Holocaust, and it continued to exist after the Holocaust.
It is still very real in this country, and it comes in many forms. It is seen in actions as drastic as the Tree of Life shooting and anti-Semitic chants in Charlottesville, Va. It is seen in simple student flyers and graffiti on campuses across America. All of these incidents are anti-Semitic, and they impact Jewish students no matter the severity.
But it is important to note the anti-Semitism is not the biggest issue on this campus. With GW’s racist history, recent racist posts from students in sororities like Alpha Phi and Phi Sigma Sigma and a recent push to get students to not rush Greek life, there are pressing race relations issues on this campus. Just because anti-Semitism is not the biggest issue on this campus does not mean that this is not indicative of a bigger problem.
In the aftermath of this recent campus event, students must work to realize that anti-Semitism is not just one isolated event – it is a wider issue that still impacts Jewish students today.
Hannah Thacker, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.