The following column from AJC Westchester/Fairfield Director Myra Clark-Siegel appeared in the Buffalo News.

After American Jewish Committee recently released its State of Antisemitism in America 2023 Report, my thoughts turned toward Buffalo.

As we near the two-year anniversary of the Tops supermarket shooting, that horrific event also served as a reminder that antisemitism does not begin or end with the Jewish community.

The Tops shooter had created a manifesto where he not only conveyed his hatred for the Black people — his target when he came to the East Side — but also an abiding hatred of Jews. He called Jews the “biggest problem” who could be “dealt with in time,” and subscribed to the Great Replacement theory, which says Jews are plotting to replace white people with non-whites.

The manifesto was so extreme and vile, it was easy to view it as an outlier even by the low bar set by antisemites. But the AJC report made clear we have work to do to ensure it stays that way.

Out of more than 1,500 American Jews surveyed, 63% say they believe the status of Jews in the U.S. is less secure than it was a year ago. Just two years ago that number was 31%.

Antisemitism was already on the upswing before Hamas terrorists attacked on Oct. 7. The latest FBI hate crime figures show Jews are the victims of 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes.

Another chilling statistic from the AJC report: 46% of American Jews—up from 38% last year — have altered their behavior out of fear of antisemitism. That includes wearing or displaying items that may identify them as Jewish or posting content online.

A glimmer of good news from the report emerged from the more than 1,200 members of the general public surveyed, 74% of whom said antisemitism is a problem in the U.S. More than nine in 10 believe antisemitism affects society as a whole and we are all responsible for combating it.

Indeed, allyship is sorely needed in troubled times. Right after the Tops massacre, the Buffalo Jewish community offered expressions of support and spoke at prayer vigils and interfaith services and stood in solidarity amid a time of horror.

Just as life forever changed on Jefferson Avenue in 2022, so, too, did the lives of many American Jews after the Hamas attack. They have since been on the receiving end of vicious anti-Israel vitriol—including calls to eliminate the only Jewish state and outright denial of Hamas’ atrocities.

Jews need allies more to help send the message that hate has no place in Buffalo. In the City of Good Neighbors there has never been a better time to lend a helping hand.


Written by

Back to Top