Dear Museum Community,
At Illinois Holocaust Museum, we are appalled at the recent rise in worldwide anti-Semitic incidences. We cannot stand by while Jews and synagogues are violently attacked, including in Skokie, New York, Los Angeles, London, and elsewhere in the US and throughout the world. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in the weeks following the start of the Middle East violence, 193 potential antisemitic acts occurred, a 50% increase from the week before. These hateful acts, perpetrated by those looking to harm Jews, diminish and endanger us all.
Social media and its reach has been a corrosive force, allowing prejudices and untruths to spread, with repulsive ideologies finding a receptive audience among those with a predisposition to hate. Between May 7 and May 14, ADL notes 17,000 tweets appeared on Twitter communicating in some form that "Hitler was right". The ability to too easily spread this appalling and horrific rhetoric is scary not only to Holocaust Survivors who lost their families in this genocide, but to all people who recognize the horror of Nazism and recall the murder of 6,000,000 Jews and millions of others. Unchecked, the power of social media can have a devastating impact.
At this time, with antisemitic incidents happening with disappointing frequency, it seems important to remind people of the role we can play. Those looking to make a difference can attend a vigil like the one held in Skokie recently, visit our Museum and learn more about the dangers of silence and unchecked hatred, or explore our online resources, including our Fifth Third Confronting Hate Toolkit. We also invite our elected officials and community and religious leaders to use their voices to condemn antisemitism and all forms of hatred and bigotry.
As the late John Lewis so wisely said, "Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society." And as Illinois Holocaust Museum founders articulated in the Museum's mission statement, "Remember the Past, Transform the Future."
Illinois Holocaust Museum