Marginalized communities are under attack. Here in Colorado, we know that all too well. The mass shooting at Club Q which killed 5 people and injured 25 is yet another violent attack on the LGBTQ community. There is hate all around us.
Our Jewish friends and neighbors are feeling particularly vulnerable. If you haven’t noticed the frightening mainstreaming of antisemitism, you’re not paying attention. It’s coming from everywhere.
It’s in our politics. The former president dines with white supremacists and holocaust deniers.
It’s in our streets. Jews are physically attacked, verbally assaulted, and in New Jersey the FBI warned them that they may not be safe going to worship in their synagogues.
And perhaps most alarmingly, we are in serious danger of allowing antisemitism to become mainstreamed in our culture.
Take conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ recent interview with cultural icon Kanye West and white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
The interview was a sensation. More than 3 million people viewed the video on Mr. Jones’ alternative platforms. Though every major news organization and social media platform refused to allow the content to be seen, they couldn’t keep up with the virality of the moment. Millions of more Americans saw the content on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube in waves before it was taken down.
Millions of Americans heard loud and clear what haters have been saying more and more recently. They heard that Hitler did great things, that the Holocaust never happened, and that Jews control the media and the government.
This is not normal. In a previous era, a hateful person on the street with a megaphone was just that. One person can be ignored. Now, the reach of that same person’s voice isn’t limited to the people in the immediate vicinity. All the world can hear it.
History is not ambiguous about what happens when antisemitism is mainstreamed into society.
What’s particularly unique and dangerous about antisemitism is that it comes from left, right, and center. It comes from the religious and it comes from the secular. It comes from the rich and it comes from the poor. It comes from white people, and it comes from people of color. Where there’s a demographic in America, there’s antisemitism.
The reasons for Jew-hatred are as varied as the people who espouse it.
Whether it’s right-wing tropes about a Jewish worldwide conspiracy or some Christians branding Jews as Christ-killers, antisemitism is alive and well.
On the Left, where many American Jews find their political home, too many are being asked to speak for Israel and its actions — a state thousands of miles away for which they have no obligation to condemn.
Sadly, some Jews also feel forced to choose between their Jewishness and their LGBTQ identity. It has to stop.
It’s time to stop calling the rise in antisemitism anything other than an emergency.
In my years as an advocate for LGBTQ rights, I’ve been privileged to have a courtside seat to a sea-change in public opinion on these issues.
In 1998 just one in four Americans supported same-sex marriage. Now, the inverse is true. And President Biden just signed into law bi-partisan legislation that protects our right to marry whom we love.
This kind of change doesn’t just happen. It didn’t happen because we called out the haters and tried to shut them up.
It happened because we were brave, and we were proud. We had the courage to show our true selves to our families, our colleagues, and our friends. We ran for office, and we won. The American people saw our humanity and our love, and they embraced us.
We will be victorious, because we will live our lives as our true authentic selves.
Hug your Jewish and LGBTQ friends and neighbors and tell them you love them and that you support them. Stand with them.
Hate can’t be defeated with silence from us, and it can’t be defeated by silencing them.
Remember that hate can be defeated when we take away its power and shine a light instead.
Brianna Titone, of Arvada, represents District 27 in the Colorado House of Representatives.
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