For over two millennium, Jews have confronted discrimination, persecution, and slaughter. It started with the conspiracy theory that Jews killed Christ, which spread unchecked with church encouragement for two thousand years, and with that scores of other memes and tropes that served to demonize Jews.
In addition to the Jew as Christ killer, the word spread that Jews were money obsessed, hence their role in the banking world. The Jew was also a social inferior, someone perceived as being pushy and vulgar, therefore best excluded from personal contact.
Many people believed and still believe that the Jew is a member of an inferior race and worse, they were regarded as subversive. Their goal, as explained in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Henry Ford’s The International Jew, is to undermine the moral and structural fiber of civilization.
Jewish hatred peaked during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian pogroms, and the Holocaust.
Fleeing to escape Eastern European anti-Semitism, a large wave of Jews came to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But America proved to be no paradise. Jews faced same physical violence as in Europe, including the 1915 lynching of an innocent man, Leo Frank, outside Atlanta, and numerous attacks on Jews by American Nazis and other street thugs during the 1930s and 1940s.
Jews are driven by Tikkun Olam, a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness to perfect or repair the world, which is synonymous with the pursuit of social justice. In the 1950s and 60s, that meant heavy support of the civil rights movement which resulted in the bombings of synagogues and other hate crimes directed at Jews. The hate crimes have never stopped, and escalated during the Trump presidency.
Now there’s a new wave of overt anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews. It happened, most dramatically in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, where white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Jew haters chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans, wore uniforms with swastikas, and killed a counter-protester. Trump, in his first show of overt racism and anti-Semitism, told us there were fine people on both sides.
In October 2018, a man stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed eleven Jews at worship. Six months later, a man fired shots inside the Chabad synagogue in Poway, near San Diego, killing one woman and injuring three others, including the synagogue’s rabbi. In December 2019, attackers killed three people at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The biggest threat to Jews today are not wealthy WASPs, working-class Catholics, or low-income African Americans, but white supremacist groups—whose members are distinct from but sometimes overlap with white evangelical Christians—that have grown in number and audacity in the last few years.
Anti-Semitic comments on social media skyrocketed during Trump's presidency. An ADL report uncovered more than 2.6 million tweets with anti-Semitic comments and images from August 2015 to July 2016—a huge upsurge from the previous year. Many of the commenters identified themselves as Trump supporters or Clinton haters, and many of the tweets (including death threats) were directed at Jewish journalists who had been critical of Trump.
The Tree of Life massacre in particular, was most upsetting for me because I saw the faces of my family in those of the victims, some of whom were already Holocaust survivors. That became the catalyst for this film.
Anti-Semitic videos are all over Facebook and YouTube.