ROANOKE, Va. – In the wake of recent antisemitic comments by high-profile celebrities and politicians, the focus has shifted nationwide to address antisemitism.
Virginia’s Commission to Combat Antisemitism released a report on Monday acknowledging and addressing the rise in the issue.
The report said Virginia alone “has seen has seen nearly 350 reports of antisemitic acts.”
One of the goals of the commission is to help combat this issue. One way they plan to do so is through education.
Thomas McCracken serves on the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. In the past, the board was mostly about business relationships between the state and Israel. Recently, that focus has shifted to education as well.
“The next four years the committee has tasked me to spearhead all of the educational initiatives. I think that is exactly what this report is showing, one of the greatest things from this report is how do we address antisemitism and that is education,” McCracken said.
McCracken doesn’t believe many adults in this world can change but he said the youth can change a lot.
“I think the educational component is the key. I think we really need to look at that, address that, develop curriculum based on that with that as a goal. I think our students are where the hope is,” McCracken said.
On Wednesday, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff hosted a roundtable discussion with Jewish leaders from around the country.
“I’m proud to live openly as a Jew and I’m not afraid. We cannot live in fear. We refuse to be afraid,” Emhoff said.
During his remarks, Emhoff said there is an “Epidemic of Hate” facing the United States.
“Antisemitism is dangerous. We cannot normalize this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts. We must all -- all of us cannot stay silent,” Emhoff said.
The Commission to Combat Antisemitism is tasked with analyzing trends in antisemitism nationally, and in the commonwealth, according to the governor’s office.
They believe in increasing the amount of hate crime reporting as well as bolstering K-12 education on Judaism.