Statement on Recent Antisemitic attacks, October 2022
This past week the country has been confronted with numerous antisemitic verbal attacks made in the mainstream press—as if such statements were acceptable.
Beginning with antisemitic statements made by Kanye West, a rising white supremacist group the Goyim Defense League then used that moment to make antisemitic claims and supporting Kanye West’s antisemitism. It worked, the little known GDL became front page news. Although antisemitism was nothing new from Kanye West, the rise of further antisemitic statements across the country in the week of October 23 was. And it all culminated in the anniversary of the attacks at the Tree of Life Synagogue four years ago.
What is striking about the last week is not that the statements occurred, but that they are becoming part of a routine and normalization against Jews. The number of overtly antisemitic public statements and attacks have risen precipitously in 2022. Numerous organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti Defamation League have documented a stunning increase in American xenophobic activity. The Washington Post observed “what has struck some experts is how blatant the comments about Jews are at a time when incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence against them have been at their highest levels since at least the 1970s. Recent data already showed that a majority of American Jews fear violence against them” (Boorstein and Arnsdorf). We must not become complacent and accustomed to these declarations of violence as a “new normal.” In fact, Nazi Germany showed us that few things could be more dangerous than the normalization of hate language and symbols. We cannot allow it to happen!
The Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies condemns the use of any kind of (neo)Nazi, White Supremacist, racist, and/or antissemitic language and imagery. We also urge every person in the High Country and beyond to take steps to:
(1) Identify publicly any hate speech and graffiti. Hate speech is merely the beginning of physical violence that can ultimately lead to death, like those who lost their lives at the Tree of Life shooting.
(2) When you see or hear hate speech used to humiliate and harm others, speak out. Seek help if you are uncomfortable addressing it yourself. Contact the Center.
Those people participating in hate rhetoric must be held accountable.
(3) Participate in and educate others on how racism, anti---Semitism, and othering work to normalize violent behavior. Learn about past and present hate groups. Attend programs that assist you in learning how to respond to xenophobic violence. The Center is carrying out a year of lessons on antisemitism and hate groups. Join us (see some of the events listed below)!
The Center provides a safe environment for students and community members to come and learn more about educating against hate. We welcome volunteers interested in helping us teach about antisemitism and hate. We are invested in making Appalachian State University and our community more welcoming to everyone, especially those students, faculty, staff and community members most affected by hate speech. Jewish women and men are targeted, as are other groups like women and men of color, immigrants, the disabled, religious minorities, and LGBTQIA+ people. Creating a caring and supportive environment is our job, but it is also yours!
On behalf of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies, yours in peace and unity,
Amy C. Hudnall
Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies
Appalachian State University
P.O. Box 32146
Edwin Duncan Hall, Room 118
Boone, NC 28608
Boorstein, Michelle, and Isaac Arndsdorf. 2022. “Overt U.S. Antisemitism Returns with Trump, Kanye West: ‘Something Is Different’.” The Washington Post. October 27.
Upcoming Events on Antisemitism: “A Year on Antisemitism: What It Is and Why We Care”
For a detailed list of upcoming events on antisemitism access our website https://holocaust.appstate.edu/
• November 9, 2022. Kristallnacht: 9 November 1938, The Night of Broken Glass: Visual Events and Roundtable Conversation led by Dr. Chris Patti and including Hillel and AEPi. Belk Library, rm 114, 7 pm.
• February 15, 2023. Anti-Defense Leagues’ Rachel Lang on “Antisemitism and its Manifestations”
• March 28, 2023. Survivor Tanya Gersh talks about her standing up to white supremacists
• March 2023. ADL presents the State of Hate to App State administrators
• April 2023. Workshop on antisemitism led by Dr. Chris Patti
• April 17 and 18, 2023. Yom HaShoah
Posted on Oct. 30th 2022.
Guest Speaker - Craig Higson-Smith
"No Justice With Healing? No Healing Without Justice?"
Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Room 114, Belk Library and Information Commons
International Human Rights expert Craig Higson-Smith is slated to speak at Appalachian State on the role of seeking justice in healing torture and genocide. Higson-Smith is a South African human rights activist and psychologist who has worked for years on the questions of healing and justice for survivors of organized violence and torture. He engaged deeply with survivors of war crimes in multiple locations including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and in East Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. Of particular relevance to this presentation and questions of transitional justice is his work with survivors of the Democratic Republic Trials in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Syria.
This event is free and open to the public. For a disability accomodation, visit odr.appstate.edu.
Posted on Oct. 4th 2022.
Center Blog Opening Message
Welcome to our first blog. We are looking for a great name, please feel free to email us if you have an idea. The blog will come out weekly, and we will cover any materials that are interesting and relevant as well as materials that the editor is excited about. Check us out every week!
As many of our followers and supporters may know, the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peaces Studies was envisioned over twenty years ago by faculty Zohara Boyd (English) and Rennie Brantz (History), to later be joined by Rosemary Horowitz (English. They were embraced by the Jewish community in the High Country who made Rennie, Zo, and Rosemary's vision a reality. The Center continues to grow and evolve according to the vision of this amazing community.
Unfortunately, Rennie has had a difficult year in regard to his health. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Rennie Brantz last week. He is doing better and is welcoming visitors. He is very interested in what is going on in the community and with old friends and I think he would greatly appreciate emails. I can only imagine how bored he must be, so if you would like to reach out to Rennie email the Center and we will pass along his contact information.
Yours in peace and unity, Amy Hudnall
Posted on Sept. 20th 2022.