Nut So Funny

MELANIE KRIEGER

In history class we are told that we learn history, so it doesn’t repeat itself. We American’s believe this is the truth for comfort; nobody wants to admit that the world has not progressed, or even taken steps backwards.Since the end of the largest genocide in our world’s history, the common consensus is that Anti-semitism has vanished. It is ignorance like this that paves the way for Anti-Semitic sentiments to rise. In denying the existence of this issue, it is easier for bigotry to exist unopposed.

Actions of hate are something that we as people, most of the time like to “sweep under the carpet” or turn the other cheek to, but when does it end? When can the Jewish population, or any religious minority for that matter, feel brave enough to embrace their culture without fear of ridicule or discrimination? According to the New York Post, a local cafe in London was selling a drink labeled the “Nutzy” “a nut-based smoothie in a swastika emblazoned bottle.” The bottle was idly passed by without either recognition nor report until a “horrified member of the Jewish community” reported. This type of public discrimination is what generates ignorance while making a big influence about what is deemed as okay or not.

While walking to school, Upper West Side resident Hannah Schor noticed new graffiti a block away from her house. Upon further examination, she saw that multiple swastikas were drawn in blue marker along the block, along with the word “Nazi.” Schor spent twelve years at a Jewish school and lives in an area heavily populated with liberal Jews, so this sight was a shock. Schor quickly called 311, and was then connected to 911 to report the swastikas drawn on phone booths, an urgent care center, a barber shop, a McDonald’s, and an ice cream store. One even stated that she has seen about six cases like that in the week and a half prior. Police went and blocked the drawings with a trash bag and eventually powerwashed the marker off of each storefront. “Growing up in New York, I believed I was safe from hateful, outwardly anti-Semitic actions. My neighborhood has a pretty concentrated population of Jews, so I really never would’ve expected that,” Schor says. Manhattan is thought of as the center of diversity and acceptance, but this clearly was not the reality. Tension against the New York Jewish community is growing rapidly and manifesting itself in a variety of ways, from swastika graffiti to microaggressions against Jewish students and increasing threats facing large congregations. While this hatred against Judaism is growing, concern for the Jewish community is not. Anti-semitism is still being dismissed as a thing of the past. The nonrecognition of modern day bigotry towards Jews allows for anti-Semites to continue their hateful behavior without repercussions.

Not only is the rise in anti-Semitism present outside of our homes, but it has found its way onto the internet, and particularly in social media. Of course, there are efforts to combat this. For example, various websites such as Instagram and Tumblr have banned the usage of several slurs that can be used to discriminate against individuals. Internet Anti-Semites have found a way around this: they have created code words to be used as slurs against minorities. This is a way that these accounts can get away with this, without technically breaking any rules and not breaking any laws. Because of this, countless Jewish bloggers are being harassed. One anonymous blogger with approximately 40,000 followers reports being attacked for acknowledging Holocaust remembrance day. She was sent messages depicting a second genocide of the Jewish people and anonymous users telling her that “Hitler missed one.”

After over 300 individuals reported these accounts, Tumblr suspended the users. Soon after, though, they created new accounts and the website’s owners looked the other way. It is much easier for the website’s owners to ignore the issue of anti-Semitism rather than actively opposed it. This attitude towards anti-Semitism online reflects that of the general public: anti-Semitism died along with the Holocaust and any other instances of bigotry towards Jewish people is insignificant.