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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Opinion: Antisemitism in America

Opinion+writer+Jordan+Nixon+analyzes+acts+of+antisemitism+in+Austin+beginning+in+October+and+addresses+the+need+for+reform+across+America.%26%23160%3B
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Opinion writer Jordan Nixon analyzes acts of antisemitism in Austin beginning in October and addresses the need for reform across America. 

These last few weeks in America have been nothing short of regressive, and I’m not here for it. 

The first domino fell on Oct. 22, when anti-Black, homophobic and antisemitic slurs appeared on the walls of an Austin high school. On Oct. 23, Goyim Defense League — a “loose network of individuals connected by virulent antisemitism,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL — graced the MoPac Expressway with a “Vax the Jews” view. On Oct. 31, a Texas State student charred the front of Congregation Beth Israel, a local synagogue. Several days later, Jewish members of the Hays County community — a township 23 miles away from Austin — received letters accusing them of inciting the pandemic. The hate crime-abhorring ADL in Austin reported 17 incidents over 10 days across the state

The FBI defines a hate crime as, “a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.” Unfortunately, hanging banners, building bonfires and bombarding mailboxes with little bags of aspersions don’t automatically meet the criteria. 

‘Tis the season of giving, and the Goyim Defense League, a self-proclaimed antisemitic propaganda pedaling group, is in the spirit. Only, they’re doling out terror door to door. 

We shouldn’t name-drop because we’d fan the flames and garner more attention for their cause. But I did, so who’s grabbing the extinguisher? The already-undermined governing documents of our country or officials tasked with the job of enforcing them? According to the ADL, crimes committed against Jewish people in the name of race are on the rise and have peaked in the last 40 years. The most common forms of said crimes include harassment, vandalism and hateful rhetoric. But acts of that magnitude are the more trivial of concerns. In 2018, an armed shooter waltzed into the Tree of Life Synagogue, claimed 11 lives  — because “all Jews must die”  —  harmed several others and traumatized the rest. Three years later, a trial date has not been set. Admittedly, former President Donald Trump did insist that he pay “the ultimate price” for his crimes following his condemnation of the both the shooter and the weeds of antisemitic sentiments in American soil. But again, has anyone seen justice? She should be around here somewhere. Perhaps in our layered legal system? If you look hard enough, you’ll probably find others like the aforementioned anti-semitics operating within the clouds of the law finding patches of promised freedoms — like expression and speech — where there is opportunity to be seized. 

This is the land of opportunity, isn’t it? I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less. 

In 2019, the number of white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant hate groups” grew 55%. A year before, both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security recognized the threat of violence posed by supremacist groups; their concerns were Trumped. Last November, Newsweek reported the number of annual hate crimes surged 20% from 2016 to 2019. The ​​Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University reported the highest number of “hate-motivated murders” in the last 28 years. Coincidence? I think not. If America’s then-President Trump didn’t affront every minority group, spew erroneous ideas and rouse violence in the face of anything deviating from the context of his greatness, then maybe. Antisemitism may not be Trump’s preferred flavor of hate, but it’s the principle. 

As long as we don’t punish people for triggering allusions to a world in which the mere smell of “dissension” rooted in race, class or sexual orientation, we can carry on believing America is becoming great again. 

Jordan Nixon is a psychology senior and opinion writer for The Battalion.
 

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