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Potential Rewrites: 1. Jewish Community in Florida, US Fears Escalation of Antisemitism following Israel’s Recent Strike 2. Concerns Grow among Florida’s Jewish Population as Israel’s Recent Attack May Fuel Antisemitism 3. Antisemitism Surge in Florida, US Expected to Intensify following Israel’s Recent Offensive 4. Florida’s Jewish Community Apprehensive of Worsening Antisemitism in the Wake of Israel’s Strike

BOCA RATON — At a somber gathering to point out solidarity with Israelis facing a savage onslaught from Hamas, Judi and Joseph Hines took note of the various city law enforcement officials and personal guards, together with the metal detectors they’d to go through to enter the event at Congregation B’nai Israel. The show of security force, Joseph Hines said, reminded him of a similarly jarring scene they witnessed years ago in France as they approached a Parisian synagogue for Sabbath services.

“Outside was a police automobile and armed guards,” he said. “And I said to Judi, ‘Gosh, we never see that in America.'”

That, the Boca Raton couple said, isn’t any longer the case — and not only within the southern Palm Beach County city but apparently across Florida and throughout america as well.

Israel attacks happen against backdrop of antisemitism surge

A survey released this 12 months by the advocacy organization American Jewish Committee, based on 2022 statistics, showed that 41% of Jewish people asked said they felt “less secure than a 12 months ago,” a ten percentage-point increase from the prior 12 months. And 50% of those surveyed, just like the Hineses, had taken note that security on the synagogues and other Jewish institutions they attend or frequent has increased because the start of the last decade.

Surging antisemitism, some fear, might be further fueled by anti-Israel rhetoric within the wake of the attacks on Israelis and other civilians by the militant group Hamas within the Gaza Strip and beyond. Each the U.S. and European Union have declared Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

“Absolutely, there’s real concern about how that is going to affect the Jewish community in america. We have seen increases in antisemitism already all over the world,” said Ted Deutch, CEO of American Jewish Committee. “This moment forces us to rally together. … It takes it to the following level since it’s so clear what’s at stake here.”

Florida, long a house and haven for Jewish residents, is just not an exception to the national trend.

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The state has been the scene of chronic antisemitic incidents, from insidious leaflet distributions in communities to brazen displays of hate messages projected on buildings from the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville to a company office in West Palm Beach.

The episodes were so disturbing that they prompted state lawmakers to pass laws to obviously classify such projections as third-degree felonies and hate crimes.

“All Floridians, including those of the Jewish faith, should have the option to have quiet enjoyment of their communities and practice their faith without fear of harm,” the laws’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Mike Caruso of Delray Beach, said this 12 months. “After we say ‘Never again,’ we mean never again.”

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel said she thinks the wave of anti-Israeli sentiment and anti-Jewish bigotry will proceed to swell because the war drags on in Israel.

“I hate to say it, but it will get much worse,” said Frankel, a West Palm Beach Democrat. “I hope I’m mistaken, but I believe that is what is going on to occur. The people who find themselves antisemitic now will not be going to back down.”

For Jewish people in South Florida and beyond, antisemitism conversations ‘commonplace’

Despite the state law and universal condemnation of violent attacks equivalent to the 2018 massacre on the Pittsburgh synagogue “Tree of Life,” there’s palpable concern that antisemitism, in statements and acts, is manifesting within the political and social arenas.

“Once I grew up … you didn’t have people saying antisemitic things in public or on Twitter or on social media or within the press and just get away with it, right?” said Matt Levin, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, which hosted the event in Boca Raton. “Today, antisemitism has develop into so commonplace.”

Levin pointed to hateful statements by high-profile people, equivalent to the rapper and music producer Ye, formerly often called Kanye West, and open and unfettered white nationalist demonstrations and roadside rallies.

“How do I raise my three kids and explain to them that the world is a dangerous place and hate exists?” he said. “So my children are growing up in an America that’s different. It’s still the best nation on Earth. It’s still the democracy we would like it to be. Nevertheless it’s a distinct place where the norm now is an indication of hate that other parts of the Jewish diaspora has felt for a few years.”

Rabbi Michael Resnick of Temple Emanu-El of Palm Beach said the toxic political landscape, from global politics to domestic immigration, plus easily accessible social media and online platforms to disseminate the poisonous talk, fuel the hate against Jewish people and others.

“There’s antisemitic rhetoric that you recognize, ‘This is an element of the Jews plan to exchange white Americans, with immigrants from South America,’ ” he said, noting the phrase “Jews shall not replace us” was chanted at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, six years ago.

As ugly because the discourse could also be in America, Resnick said he’s less concerned about “what everybody thinks of us” and much more deeply fearful in regards to the victims of the Hamas atrocities, including “the individuals who were taken hostage and what their fate goes to be.”

“We don’t need this violence, and hatred is exhausting after some time,” he said, adding that Jewish people have at all times known to be watchful no matter where they’re. “I believe Jewish people typically at all times have their ear to the bottom of listening for antisemitic issues. You understand, we’re at all times a little bit bit on guard on a regular basis under the most effective of circumstances.”

Attack on Israel: Residents from heavily Jewish populated Boca Raton pack house for solidarity event

As militant groups and neo-Nazis take to streets, some now ask, ‘Where’s the outrage?’

Even so, the caustic discourse is alarming, political and faith leaders said, as is what appears to be a society that increasingly tolerates it and a body politic that offers extremist organizations a seat on the table.

When neo-Nazis gathered outside an entrance to Walt Disney World in January 2022, for instance, the then-press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a dismissive tweet somewhat than fully condemning their appearance. “Will we even know in the event that they are Nazis?” the deleted missive read, and further suggested the event may need been orchestrated by Democrats somewhat than an alarming exhibition.

Worse, militant extremists just like the Proud Boys have been embraced by mainstream Republican organizations. And former President Donald Trump, who sparked an uproar when he dined with a white nationalist last November, recently parroted a Nazi phrase by saying immigrants crossing the border were “poisoning the blood of country.”

Within the wake of the Hamas assault on Israel, the political left has also uttered its share of incendiary statements.

A Democratic member of Congress called the Israeli state “an apartheid government.” A professional-Palestinian rally in Recent York City last weekend witnessed people stomping on Israeli flags and one other protester bearing a banner with a swastika. And there is serious concern about anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda on college campuses.

This week, the White House called out Democratic lawmakers for a few of their statements with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying the language was “mistaken” and “disgraceful.”

Too often, nevertheless, some say the country’s political leadership fails to weigh in decisively, if not actually serves to bolster the ugliness.

“They incite it,” Judi Hines said of some political leaders. “It’s allowed to fester, and it’s encouraged actually.”

Israel solidarity: ‘Unprovoked and cowardly’: County officials back Israel in aftermath of attack from Hamas

Jewish people shouldn’t be ‘cowed’ but somewhat guarded and, above all, maintain unity, some say

Others say that somewhat than cause for discouragement, the present “moment” generally is a watershed if Jewish people and pro-Israel entities harness the broad and widespread goodwill and support that has been demonstrated because the outbreak of war in Gaza.

Deutch on the AJC noted the cacophony of backing Israel and global Jews received from a myriad of political, social, cultural, and business leaders, and the general public as well. The common denominator, Deutch said, is repulsion on the display of “straight-up hatred of Jews” and the attack on a democratic country that shows Hamas’ goals have “nothing to do with human rights” but the target of killing Jews.

“We have seen shows of support like we have not seen before,” said Deutch, a former Democratic congressman from Boca Raton. “It’s for this reason moment. It is a horrific attack by a terrorist organization. Persons are standing together because there aren’t two sides here.”

Levin on the Jewish Federation said Jews must proceed to be outspoken within the face of hate.

“We’ve got to now live with that and never be cowed by it,” he said defiantly “Most significantly, we are going to never stop speaking out.”

Rony Keller, senior rabbi at Congregation B’Nai Israel, agreed.

“Fearful is a word I probably wouldn’t use,” he said. “I’d say aware … a little bit more cautious of our surroundings.”

He said a part of the mission is to coach and cultivate a public square that is knowing and tolerant of various cultures and religions.


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