With the dramatic rise in hate crime, now is the time to stand together
Last month, René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights, hosted Marlon Solomon’s powerful and thought provoking show, Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale. However, perhaps the most powerful message of the evening came after, during the Q&A. Solomon was asked by a member of the audience how we can move forward and bridge the gap between the Jewish community and other persecuted communities. Solomon responded, “we have to start to listen to each other more.” He is right.
Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale, offers a warning from history. It shows how harmful and dangerous narratives can trickle down into mainstream politics and reputable publications, and provide a powerful incentive for hate crime, and, ultimately, genocide. In recent years, the Jewish community has witnessed first-hand how harmful words can be. Most recently, the devastating attack on a Brooklyn Jewish Grocery Store, in which the gunman had posted on social media in support of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Whilst hate crime is the expression of hatred about a range of different groups, the impact remains the same. Hate crime has devastating consequences, on the individual victims and their communities at large. It can take physical and emotional tolls on the victims, such as fear and anxiety.
In the UK, hate crime has risen dramatically over the last few years. It does not discriminate, it affects all marginalised and persecuted groups. Whether the persecution be because of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability (to name a few), all seek to further the divisions that make our society less equal.
All victims of hate crime deserve our solidarity and support, and we must use our voices to uplift and empower each other. In a recent ‘thought for the day’, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis quoted Martin Luther King Jr. We, at René Cassin believe that quote deserves repetition, “we have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together.” As 2019 comes to an end, we urge the Jewish community to take these words to heart, and in the spirit of our shared Jewish values, to heal the divisions in our society through listening, compassion and mutual understanding.