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Jewish leaders: Anti-Semitism plays out in acts, words

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Anti-Semitism takes many forms.

Several Indiana-based Jewish organizations are shining a light on the issue, standing in solidarity with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in providing a clear definition of anti-Semitism.

Tuesday will mark of one of the most recent and deadly attacks on Jewish people: Nearly a dozen people were killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue. The Jewish Community Relations Council said anti-Semitism is on the rise. While Nazi imagery is easy to spot, some phrases and words might not be so obvious but are just as offensive.

The swastika is a symbol of hate. It’s often seen in acts of anti-Semitism.

“That’s anti-Semitic; that’s connected to the Holocaust and the killing of 6 million Jews,” said Lindsey Mintz with the Jewish Community Relations Council.

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Since 2016, the Anti-Defamation League shows anti-Semitic incidents have gone up 61%. But, Jewish leaders said, that’s not just a result of more people reporting but a growing fear in the Jewish community.

“And we’re saying that an anti-Semitic rhetoric as well as incidents and acts of hate and violence,” Mintz said.

Forty-five Indiana organizations have joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in defining anti-Semitism. In a statement, it said: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” 

But it’s going to take more than just knowing the definition. Officials said there needs to be work to avoid it.

“It’s hard to sometimes to see it when it’s not that blatant. And that’s one of the most pernicious parts of anti-Semitism and why it’s called the longest hatred.”)

While Nazi Imagery is easy to point out there’s other phrases that’s become the common place in society and officials said it has anti-Semitic roots. Things like: holocaust denial, Jewish features, and blood libel.

“Recognizing how anti-Semitism starts with words is really important,” Mintz said.

The Jewish Community Relations Council’s 22nd Holocaust Remembrance day is set for Nov. 10.

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