According to the New York City Police Department, there has been a surge of anti-Semitic hate crimes this year. In early September, a report states that to date there had been 152 reports of anti-Semitic activity, ranging from vandalism to violent assaults. This is a 63 per cent increase over the same period in 2018. The police did not offer an explanation for the recent spike, and there is no clear pattern to the various physical attacks, except that as members of the Hasidic community, many of the victims are visibly Jewish. Nationwide, anti-Semitic hate crimes make up 13 percent of all hate crimes reported to the FBI which also noted an uptick in hate crimes in the country. Anti-Semitic crimes have historically been and remain the most common religiously motivated crimes. The stoking of nationalist sentiment by far right groups has created a hostile environment for the country’s Jews and other minorities. But nationalist fervor does not explain most of the crimes and it is imperative that these crimes be forcefully denounced. No political ends can justify the toleration of anti-Semitism. Every citizen, whether aligned with the political right or left, must denounce these crimes against our Jewish brothers and sisters. And Catholics especially must take to heart the words of Pope Francis. “A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite. We share the same roots. It would be a contradiction of faith and life. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community.” Would Jesus, the Apostles, and Mary, who were all Jewish, want anything less of us?
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