Program on Anti-Semitism, February 26, 2015


Remarks from Dina Weinbach, Executive Director of Jewish Federation of Madison

With the recent incidents of anti-Semitism in Madison, Copenhagen, Paris, and other cities around the world it is important for our community to gather together to address anti-Semitism and acts of hatred. Anti-Semitism can be expressed in many different ways, ranging from expressions of hatred like the graffiti that we saw in Madison; vandalism; discrimination, harassment and threats against individuals; or organized violent attacks like what happened in Copenhagen and Paris.


On February 14th, when residents of Madison awakened to 39 different incidents of graffiti and vandalism, it was shocking. A few were anti-Semitic. However, whether there was one or three or five – it doesn’t matter. One is too many.


The motives of the perpetrators does not matter either. The use of a swastika or any vulgar references to Jews is always anti-Semitic and always will be.


I invite you to be our partner to help educate others -- including teenagers -- to identify and appropriately respond to anti-Semitic expression. Many acts of anti-Semitism go unreported. If you witness anything, please report it to me at the Jewish Federation. The Federation is a strong central Jewish organization which is critical in times like these. Law enforcement, officials, media, community members, and more turn to the Federation when hateful acts and hate appear in Madison.


Any prejudice, hatred or discrimination against Jews, their community or any individual or community needs to be confronted and strongly condemned. These hateful acts are intolerable and when it affects one group then it affects all of us. We all need to stand together to denounce acts of hatred.