University seminar discusses rise in antisemitism


Thomas Turner and Mia Seligman

Amid the growing amount of hateful discourse across America in recent years, App State hosted a seminar Wednesday regarding antisemitism and how it appears today.

The seminar, titled “Antisemitism and Its Manifestations,” was hosted by Amy Hudnall of App State’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, alongside guest speaker Rachel Lang, who is the associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. 

The hour-long seminar took place in lecture room 114 of the Belk Library, with approximately 30 people attending through Zoom and in person.

Lang discussed the ways in which antisemitism continues to appear in modern society, the ADL’s part in helping to end antisemitism and the many ways for individuals to combat its appearance.

“Our mission has always been the same,” Lang said. “To stop the defamation of Jewish people, and secure justice and fair treatment for all.” 

Lang went into detail about where antisemitism comes from and how it is still prevalent today. 

“Antisemitism is mainly seen through the majority white lens,” Lang said. “Applying an intersectional lens while addressing all forms of bias, including antisemitism, ensures that we address the needs of the group.”

Lang further said 2021 saw the largest number of antisemitic incidents in the 43 years the ADL has tracked them, at an all-time high of 2,717 incidents. She said one of the many reasons for modern antisemitism comes from the confusion between the Jewish people and the state of Israel in regard to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“There’s essentially a double standard for Jewish people compared to other communities,” Lang said. “We wouldn’t hold Italian Americans accountable for the actions of the Italian government, and yet there is a double standard as to how it relates to American Jews and the state of Israel.”

Lang highlighted rampant antisemitism rising in the country, stating “the country has seen a 35% rise in antisemitism since last year.” She discussed the correlation between Kanye West’s antisemitic actions and statements with the rising hate speech and actions. 

Lang concluded with the sentiment the only proper solution is to combat antisemitism at its source. She spent the last portion of her presentation explaining the ways students could help stop the spread of antisemitism when it appears.

These included calling the hate speech out, giving Jewish people a proper voice, providing proper Holocaust education and reporting to the ADL themselves so they could take action.

“Antisemitism is an issue for everyone,” Hudnall said. “It really shows just how much we hate each other.”