UJF-Utah fears people are being ‘desensitized’ to anti-Semitism
SALT LAKE CITY – Saturday’s tense hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas, where 4 people were taken hostage at a local synagogue during church services, has raised concerns about rising religious hate crimes in the states States in recent years.
In a statement late Saturday, the United Jewish Federation of Utah praised the FBI and local agencies for their handling of the situation, which saw the 4 hostages safely released. However, the statement points to a worrying trend.
“It must be acknowledged that we have become desensitized to the need of Jewish synagogues and other Jewish organizations for increased policing or security in their places of worship and gathering,” the statement said. “Events in Texas today must be seen in the context of an alarming multi-year increase in religious hate crimes against Jews across the United States.”
According to the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on hate crimes in the United States, 8,263 hate crimes were reported in 2020. 15% of these crimes were motivated by bias towards a specific religion. Of those, about 55% were aimed at the Jewish community, which makes up nearly 2% of the entire US population according to the Pew Research Center.
Between this hostage situation and the spread of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories online, as evidenced by the recent fallout and the resignation of former Entrata CEO David Bateman, the Federation highlights the need for greater education about the dangers and evils of anti-Semitism in the country.
“We call on our fellow Utahans not to remain silent in the face of the anti-Semitism and ignorance that smolders in our society. Jews or minorities in our society,” the statement continued. “The United Jewish Federation has worked for years to provide resources to our schools to teach about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate so that our young people have the tools to better recognize and combat hate in all its forms. .”