We must confront dangerous antisemitism when we see it, regardless of its source. Silence is dangerous. Antisemitic incidents must be exposed in order to help build public awareness, pressure, and accountability. Here are some things you can do to guard against antisemitism and to respond when you encounter it:
Educate yourself, your family, and your friends about antisemitism so you can identify and confront it when it occurs. Understand the sources of this hatred (the far right, far left, and radical Islamists) and the different forms it takes (from overt hatred against Jews to antisemitism cloaked in anti-Israel or “anti-Zionist” rhetoric and campaigns).
Know your rights regarding free speech, hate speech, and discrimination. Remember: you have your own free speech rights, so speak up and speak out when appropriate to combat lies and hate about the Jewish people. See the StandWithUs booklets entitled “Know Your Rights” and “Best Practices.” Download at www.standuptohatred.com/booklets
Tell your story. Be Proud! Talk to others about what it means to you to be Jewish. Share about your identity, family history, traditions, and life in your community. If you have a story about Israel and what it means to you and the Jewish people, share that as well.
If you see or hear something antisemitic, take action. If it comes from someone you know, engage them and figure out if it is coming from ignorance or genuine hate. Try educating them calmly about why their words are offensive. When this isn’t an option, engage the appropriate authorities. See our booklet entitled “Antisemetic Beliefs.” Report antisemitic posts on social media, and get your friends to do the same. Refer to our booklet entitled “Hate Speech and Reporting Tools for Social Media.” If you think you need legal assistance, reach out to the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and The StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism for free help. You can fill out our incident report here: standwithus.com/report-an-incident
Build relationships and bridges with people who are not Jewish. Invite non-Jewish guests to your Jewish cultural or religious events like your Passover seder. Welcome the stranger. Attend cultural events of other groups. Earnestly seek to learn about other people and what matters to them as you also seek to educate them about what matters to you. This is an important way to fight antisemitism.
Fight other forms of hate. Stand up to racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination. Build relationships with other groups that are dedicated to fighting hate and work together with them. There are many ways to find common ground—for example white supremacists target not only Jews but also Latino, Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, and other communities.
Work closely with security personnel to ensure safety at pro-Israel or Jewish community events, and get self-defense training through the StandWithUs partner StandStrong, which offers self-defense training seminars, or other martial arts programs. If you are appropriately trained, consider volunteering in a neighborhood coalition to help keep your community safe. Also consult our “Best Practices” booklet for strategies on how to handle security-related issues at such events.
Reach out to spiritual & religious leaders to see what they are doing to educate and keep their members, visitors, and staff safe. Find out what types of education about antisemitism and hatred they offer to their community. Offer them materials, speakers, and programs to share with their membership. Find out if they have security/self-defense strategies and programs to keep their facility and members safe, including proper lighting and visible security cameras. Make sure they know there are numerous government and private organization grants available to increase security for synagogues, schools, and community centers.
Reach out to local schools, school boards, and universities and ask them what they are doing to educate about and combat antisemitism. Encourage school boards and campus administrators to require education and training about antisemitism and the Jewish community. Share your own personal experiences, and encourage them to use their own free speech rights to speak out against antisemitism and other forms of hate.
Reach out to elected officials and your local police department to ask what they are doing to fight antisemitism and prevent violence. Engage with local, state, and/or federal elected officials to share your story, especially any personal experiences you have had with antisemitism. Urge them to take action to ensure protection of Jews within their respective jurisdictions. Work with law enforcement to ensure your synagogue, schools, and community centers are safe and receive increased patrols as necessary. Ensure that police are working with any community-based neighborhood coalitions in your area, which can serve as additional eyes and ears. Their presence can be a great way to deter threats and prevent problems before they happen.