Letter to the Editor: Statement on recent antisemitic attacks, October 2022


Amy C. Hudnall, Interim Director for the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies

Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies

Oct. 30, 2022

Statement on recent antisemitic attacks, October 2022


This past week, the country has been confronted with numerous antisemitic verbal attacks made in the mainstream press — as if such statements were acceptable.

Beginning with antisemitic statements made by Kanye West, a rising white supremacist group, the Goyim Defense League, then used that moment to make antisemitic claims, supporting Kanye West’s antisemitism. It worked, the little-known GDL became front-page news. Although antisemitism was nothing new from Kanye West, the rise of further antisemitic statements across the country in the week of Oct. 23 was. And it all culminated in the anniversary of the attacks at the Tree of Life Synagogue four years ago.

What is striking about the last week is not that the statements occurred, but that they are becoming part of a routine and normalization against Jews. The number of overtly antisemitic public statements and attacks have risen precipitously in 2022.

Numerous organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have documented a stunning increase in American xenophobic activity. The Washington Post observed, “what has struck some experts is how blatant the comments about Jews are at a time when incidents of harassment, vandalism, and violence against them have been at their highest levels since at least the 1970s. Recent data already showed that a majority of American Jews fear violence against them. We must not become complacent and accustomed to these declarations of violence as a “new normal.” In fact, Nazi Germany showed us that few things could be more dangerous than the normalization of hate language and symbols. We cannot allow it to happen.

The Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies condemns the use of any kind of neo-Nazi, white supremacist, racist and/or antisemitic language and imagery. We also urge every person in the High Country and beyond to take steps to:

  • Identify publicly any hate speech and graffiti. Hate speech is merely the beginning of physical violence that can ultimately lead to death, like those who lost their lives at the Tree of Life shooting.
  • Speak out when you see or hear hate speech used to humiliate and harm others. Seek help if you are uncomfortable addressing it yourself. Contact the Center. Those people participating in hate rhetoric must be held accountable.
  •  Participate in and educate others on how racism, antisemitism and othering work to normalize violent behavior. Learn about past and present hate groups. Attend programs that assist you in learning how to respond to xenophobic violence. The Center is carrying out a year of lessons on antisemitism and hate groups. Join us, see some of the events listed below!

The Center provides a safe environment for students and community members to come and learn more about educating against hate. We welcome volunteers interested in helping us teach about antisemitism and hate. We are invested in making Appalachian State University and our community more welcoming to everyone, especially those students, faculty, staff and community members most affected by hate speech. Jewish women and men are targeted, as are other groups like women and men of color, immigrants, the disabled, religious minorities and LGBTQIA+ people. Creating a caring and supportive environment is our job, but it is also yours.


On behalf of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, yours in peace and unity,

Amy C. Hudnall

Interim Director

Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies

Appalachian State University

P.O. Box 32146

Edwin Duncan Hall, Room 118 Boone, NC 28608


Upcoming Events on Antisemitism: 

  • “A Year on Antisemitism: What It Is and Why We Care”
  • For a detailed list of upcoming events on antisemitism access our website https://holocaust.appstate.edu/
  • Nov. 9, 2022. Kristallnacht: 9 November 1938, The Night of Broken Glass: Visual Events and Roundtable Conversation led by Dr. Chris Patti and including Hillel and AEPi. Belk Library, rm 114, 7 pm.
  • Feb. 15, 2023. Anti-Defense Leagues’ Rachel Lang on “Antisemitism and its Manifestations”
  • March 28, 2023. Survivor Tanya Gersh talks about her standing up to white supremacists
  • March 2023. ADL presents the State of Hate to App State administrators
  • April 2023. Workshop on antisemitism led by Dr. Chris Patti
  • April 17 and 18, 2023. “Yom HaShoah”