On Tuesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights organization, released a list of anti-Semitic acts that occurred last year in the Midwest.
The list was released at a press conference in Chicago by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s associate dean, only days after French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was attacked and 12 employees murdered.
“The bottom line is Americans are ready to deal with hate speech and try to marginalize the bigots and racists,” Cooper said.
“Dealing with racism, hatred and intolerance is a very difficult subject matter,” Cooper continued. “And as we know, it pops up in uncomfortable ways. But today’s list is a reminder that we need to be engaged–we cannot leave it just with police, and you can’t legislate hate away. It comes back to the home, back to the teachers, it comes back to the peers.”
The Center wanted to remind the nation that anti-Semitic acts are not just occurring in Europe and the Middle East, but also in the American heartland.
The Chicago Tribune noted that in Chicago “swastikas and anti-Semitic messages were spray-painted on the garages of residents in a heavily Jewish neighborhood in Rogers Park, and Chicago Public Schools leaders were criticized for their handling of an eighth-grader who was a victim of aggressive anti-Semitic bullying.”
The Center also detailed the crimes in Overland Park, Kansas, where on April 13 of last year, a white supremacist killed a teenage boy and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center, then killed a woman outside a Jewish retirement home.
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