Technology and social media emboldening extremists’ antisemitism, says expert

Dec 7, 2022, 7:00 AM

Kanye West performs at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah Saturday Dec. 17, 2005....

Kanye West performs at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah Saturday Dec. 17, 2005. (Photo credit: August Miller/ Deseret Morning News)

(Photo credit: August Miller/ Deseret Morning News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Hate in general and antisemitism in particular are rising in America. And celebrities on social media seem to be caught up in feeding the flame of hate, says an Anti-Defamation League official. Examples below:

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Antisemitism in U.S.

Hosts of KSL@Night Maura Carabello and Taylor Morgan discuss the recent increase in antisemitism. They are joined by Regional Director at the Anti-Defamation League Seth Brysk for Northern California, Utah and Hawaii.

The Holocaust: Between 1941 and 1945, 6 million (6,000,000) European Jews were systematically murdered by the German Nazis during World War II.

Mauro started the program by pointing out this fact:

“Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). This represents the highest number of incidents on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979, which is an average of more than seven incidents per day and a 34 percent increase year over year,” according to the ADL.

Why is antisemitism rising?

“Why do you think we’re seeing this rise across America?” she asked.

 While social media and the internet have been a boon to humanity, it is also, sadly, a tool to spread hate, Brysk said.

“That’s the first reason, and then the second reason is this notion of what we’re seeing around, the emboldening of extremists. Again, you mentioned celebrities — people who have great following on social media, who are expressing, espousing antisemitic attitudes and are using their considerable platforms to promote this kind of hate,” Brysk said. “And by the way, not just hate directed at the Jewish community; it manifests in hate against other communities as well.”

With extremists feeling emboldened with rising antisemitism, be watchful of extremists who disguise their hate under words like “patriot,” he said. 

“They’re trying to use legitimate policy issues for debate — like immigration — as an entry point for them to espouse their hate,” Brysk said. “They’re also using big names. The former president [Trump] invited the people that you mentioned [white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West] to dine with him and that gives them an air of credibility and exposure that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Teaching the history of genocide

Taylor mentioned the Legislature passed a resolution last year  stressing the importance of educating Utah schoolchildren about the Holocaust and genocide.

Utah rabbi says Holocaust education resolution is ‘justified and necessary’ as denial increases

“Are you seeing similar issues in other states in your region that there’s a growing sense of denying history and attributing it to conspiracies?” Taylor asked.

“Yeah, there are,” Brysk said. “We are seeing that trend happen in Utah as well in other states, and not just in my region but across the country. . .  We’ve had to undertake efforts to bolster Holocaust education or revisit the lessons that are being taught to find out why is it that this information is not transmitting to the next generation.”

The education and lessons of the Holocaust are increasingly important as the only eyewitnesses to “perhaps humanity’s greatest crime are dying out,” Brysk said.

 

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Technology and social media emboldening extremists’ antisemitism, says expert