There is a large Jewish community living in America today. These Jews are worried by a wave of sentiment against Jews that has spread as a result of Israeli invasion and bombing in Gaza. This has reached America too with hate graffiti scrawled on walls outside yeshivas and synagogues. This has resulted in Jewish leaders meeting with government officials to discuss the rise of anti semitism in the US.
Negative attitudes towards Jews have existed for centuries. Amongst American citizens the same negative stereotypes still exist but they are held by a small percentage of Americans. These stereotypes see Jews as being separate from a religious, social and economic perspective. It is also felt that their loyalty to the United States is affected by their loyalty to Israel.
In fact polls conducted have reflected a decline in this type of stereotypical thinking. This has not, however, lead to a decline in hate crimes. The recent flare-up of these crimes put fear into the hearts of Jews. The economic recession has also contributed to a slight increase in anti-Jewish feeling amongst those with suspicions about the financial power of Jews and their influence on Wall Street.
The polls may show that attitudes towards Jews are changing but the opposite seems to be happening with regard to hate crimes. Hateful graffiti, vandalism of property, arson and bombings are being seen globally. The United States has experienced this too to some degree causing great concern amongst Jews that it will escalate.
These groups include the neo-Nazis, the Aryan Nations, racist skinheads and various Klan factions. They tattoo themselves with swastikas and go about voicing their bigotry and committing hate crimes against Jews. Their propaganda has influenced a number of impressionable young people, the disaffected and those who are looking for someone to blame for their problems.
This year has seen anti-semitic acts committed in countries in Europe as well as in the Middle East, North America and Latin America. Death threats have once again been made against Jews and Jewish property like synagogues and yeshivas has been desecrated. More seriously, murders have taken place as well as bombings and gun violence. The Israeli-Palestinian situation has affected attitudes towards the Jews with anger against Israel being translated into anger against the Jews.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shed long shadows. This has had certain consequences for Jews living in America as well. These hate crimes may be committed by a very small percentage of the population but this does not take away from the ability to create fear and uncertainty amongst Jews. With their history of persecution, it is no wonder that such acts cause anxiety. It is often difficult to allay such fears and tell them that they do not have to worry.
The United States government totally condemns these anti-semitic attitudes and behavior and they have set in place strong laws to back this up. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not accepted as a reason to justify this intolerance. With the attitude of the government being unequivocal about this issue and determined to see it dealt with, the situation is perhaps less ominous than it may appear to the Jews.
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