Rabbi: Internet, Social Media Plays Role in Rising Anti-Semitism
ST. CLOUD -- An Oscar and Emmy-winning Rabbi, writer and filmmaker stopped by St. Cloud State University to discuss anti-semitism Tuesday.
Michael Berenbaum stopped by to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the genocide of Jews, Slavs, Poles and many others by Nazi Germany. The day is observed on January 27.
Berenbaum says people who hate others for things like religion, skin color, sexuality, and other aspects have been emboldened.
"The internet has given them a megaphone, and social networks have given them a community. We used to have a sense that if you're racist, you kept your mouth shut about it, if you were sexist, you didn't speak like that and if you are anti-semitic you kept quiet. We now have a segment of the population that feels empowered to hate."
He says to fight hatred, you need to remember people as individuals and the principles our country was founded on.
"When you see people in their individuality, and you recall the essence of the American creed, that everyone's created equally and endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights, that means we have to have a certain sense of inclusiveness and speaking without bigotry and rancor."
According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were almost 2,000 reported anti-semitic attacks in 2017, 2018 numbers aren't out yet. Last year, Robert Bowers allegedly opened fire on a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 and wounding seven others.
Bowers is accused of anti-semitic postings on social media leading up to the attack.
The Pittsburgh attack was just one incident Barenbaum focuses on in his talks on anti-semitism. He has written and edited 20 books, is a professor of Jewish Studies and director of the Sigi Ziering Institute at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.
Barenbaum also helped oversee the creation of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.