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Confronting Haman: 10 Ways You Can Combat Anti-Semitism

March 04, 2024

The Jewish holiday of Purim is coming up, and it has us at Jewish Voice thinking about the rash of anti-Semitism that has grown more virulent and bold since Hamas’ brutal attack on Israelis last October 7. Purim commemorates the Jewish people’s salvation from a plot to kill them when they lived in the ancient Persian Empire under King Xerxes, also known as King Ahasuerus. Haman, a high-ranking leader under the king, contrived the plan and set it in irrevocable law. However, God used Esther, a Jewish maiden-become-queen, to facilitate her people’s deliverance.

Esther was a queen, but what can ordinary people like us do to “confront Haman” and turn the tide of anti-Semitism? When you read the Purim story, found in the book of Esther, you’ll see that God used ordinary people to set the Jewish people’s rescue in motion. And God can use regular people like us to make a difference in a world aflame with anti-Semitism today. Here are 10 ways.

  1. Pray. Let’s state the most prominent and powerful weapon against anti-Semitism first. Become committed to pray that the Lord would protect Jewish people throughout the world from all forms of anti-Semitism, whether it takes the form of physical or verbal attacks, acts of vandalism, discrimination, organizational bias or silence.

  2. Educate Yourself. Anti-Semitism is often based on ignorance. Arming yourself with accurate information and using it to confront misguided beliefs is one of the best ways to stop runaway misinformation. Your fact-based knowledge about the Jewish faith, history of Israel, persecution against Jewish people, and the Middle East conflict will help you address anti-Semitic comments that are based on fallacies – and, hopefully, help change someone’s perspective (refer to #1 also).  

  3. Educate Others. As you share your knowledge and understanding of anti-Semitism with friends, family, and colleagues through open, non-threatening conversations, you’ll have the opportunity to foster a new advocate for combatting anti-Semitism. Along with teaching children about respect and empathy for others, teach them to recognize anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice and the importance of standing up against discrimination.

  4. Support Holocaust Education. It’s been nearly 80 years since Allied forces stopped Hitler’s genocidal rampage to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. The youngest Holocaust survivor alive today is elderly. Holocaust denial is on track to take an even stronger foothold as the generation of firsthand witnesses and survivors passes away. Advocate for Holocaust education in schools and communities to help combat this trend and ensure that the world can recognize and stop true genocidal agendas when it sees them.

  5. Speak Up and Challenge Anti-Semitism You Encounter. If you witness or hear anti-Semitic remarks or behavior, don't stay silent. Every effort to counter false narratives and irrational prejudice is important. Speak up and calmly confront it, remembering to represent God well as you do. Also, be attuned to “microaggressions” and more subtle forms of anti-Semitism, some of which can even be found in the Church today. Politely challenging these thought patterns can redirect the speakers toward awareness of their harmful effects.

  6. Combat Stereotypes.  Challenge comments that stereotype Jewish people and also encourage people to question their assumptions. Stereotypes against Jewish people often find their origins in age-old superstitions and false information. For instance, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was published in 1903 in Russia and claimed to be reports from a series of 1897 meetings of Jewish leaders discussing how to, essentially, take over the world. The document was proven false in 1921, but the evidence did little to stop the traction it had gained. More than 100 years later, many of today’s anti-Semitic stereotypes stem from the lies presented in this one document.

  7. Support Jewish-Owned and Israeli Businesses. Business-based anti-Semitism exists everywhere, from the worldwide BDS Movement (boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israeli companies) to local businesses in your own town to remote African communities where Jewish Voice Ministries serves. In our work in Africa, we’ve seen outcast Jewish communities living in poverty because the non-Jewish population will not hire them, buy their products or conduct any business with them. We’ve listened to firsthand accounts of Jewish craftsmen assaulted while traveling to market to sell their wares. Their attackers destroyed their handmade products, leaving the crafters wounded and with nothing to sell. As you support Jewish and Israeli businesses, you do more than make a purchase. You show the Jewish community that you are not swayed by anti-Semitism. You offer them encouragement, strength and the assurance that they do not stand alone.

  8. Report anti-Semitic Incidents. If you experience or witness anti-Semitic harassment or discrimination, report it to appropriate authorities or organizations. Whether on social media, in a business or institution or on the street, taking action sends the message that such behaviors are unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Several organizations keep track of anti-Semitic incidents and advocate with local and federal officials to enforce laws and take action against anti-Semitism.
  9. Challenge Biases. Privately held biases can infiltrate how businesses, institutions and agencies conduct themselves. We’ve seen it in the failure of prestigious universities to publicly condemn campus protests supporting the Hamas agenda, which is authentically genocidal toward Jewish people, as stated in its charter. We see it in the United Nations that, by official resolutions, for decades regularly scrutinizes Israel’s behavior toward Palestinian terrorist organizations while turning a blind eye to those same organizations’ corruption harming their own people and violent terrorism targeting Israelis. We see it in the way news media presents headlines and stories. Locally, you can challenge any biases you encounter in businesses, schools, media sources and public arenas. On a larger scale, you can write to your government representatives, expressing your disapproval of the biases you see and urging them to make every effort to confront them.
  10. Vote Responsibly. Don’t neglect your voting privilege. It is your say in building a governmental “rudder” that will steer your country and, thus, affect your life. Read up on the platforms of those running for office and the impact of propositions on the ballot. Support political candidates and policies that prioritize combating anti-Semitism and supporting Israel.

As the Purim story reminds us that anti-Semitism has been around for thousands of years, let’s close this list where we started: going back to prayer. Ask the Lord to intervene, to protect His Chosen People, and disarm the Enemy’s efforts to harm Jewish people. See 12 Ways to Pray Against Anti-Semitism for more specific ways to pray.

Don’t miss our special Purim devotional series. Learn inspiring insights from the lives of Esther and Mordecai that will strengthen your own faith to let God use you in big and small ways so that you, too, can be called a faithful hero.

Anti-Semitism is known as “the oldest hatred.” We see acts of hatred and violence against Jewish people in the news more and more. Why has anti-Semitism hung over humanity’s head for so many thousands of years? Find out in this powerful booklet, where Rabbi Jonathan Bernis answers this question.

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Anti-Semitism is known as “the oldest hatred.” We see acts of hatred and violence against Jewish people in the news more and more. Why has anti-Semitism hung over humanity’s head for so many thousands of years? Find out in this powerful booklet, where Rabbi Jonathan Bernis answers this question.

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