Treat anti-Semitism with the legitimacy it deserves
ORIT GUGENHEIM KATZ
Thu Nov 01 2018
A couple of weeks ago, I sat in my adviser's office to discuss my options for study abroad next summer. When she mentioned Paris, one of Columbia's main international centers, I felt myself grow tense and quietly answered that I would not consider studying in France. My adviser was surprised at my sudden seriousness and inquired more. With my voice slightly breaking, I explained that, nowadays, France is not quite safe for Jews.
And that’s when I acknowledged a painful reality: that anti-Semitism, the age-old hatred that evolves and changes but never disappears, is still alive to the extent that it impacts my decisions and lifestyle....
...I was very touched to have been reached out to by some non-Jewish friends who told me they stand in solidarity with my pain and fear. However, while my close friends checked in with me, I was truly hurt by our general student body’s lack of significant support and solidarity....
...I have been distraught by the lack of student activists addressing anti-Semitism on the many occasions when such recognition should have been stated (for example, when advocating for minority groups that are at times discriminated against). I believe this obliviousness of anti-Semitism stems not out of intentional malice, but rather a genuine lack of awareness that anti-Semitism still exists, that it did not disappear with the liberation of the Holocaust death camps or the disbandment of the KKK. It is devastating that too many people need to hear of attacks like the one in Pittsburgh to acknowledge the relevance of anti-Semitism—let this tragedy be a reminder.
This senseless hatred targeted towards Jews has evolved throughout history, and whatever form it has taken on at the moment should be treated as legitimate and serious. So when you ponder about the insurmountable number of ways our world needs to change, don’t neglect anti-Semitism as a contemporary and significant fault in our society.