Local groups join new national antisemitism campaign

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Jewish Community Relations Council have joined the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism as an official partner of #StandUpToJewishHate, a new national campaign to mobilize all Americans – especially non-Jews – to combat antisemitism by using the blue square emoji as a unifying symbol of support.

Jews make up 2.4% of the American population yet are victims of 55% of religious-based hate crimes.

Ari Ballaban

That discrepancy is the cornerstone of this new campaign, created through a $25 million investment by billionaire businessman Robert K. Kraft and his family. Kraft is best known as the owner of the National Football League’s New England Patriots.

The local organizations join the national foundation, alongside a broad coalition of partnered organizations, including the League of Women Voters, Urban League, National Governors Association, the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel International to encourage its supporters to stand up to Jewish hate.

Through the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign, the national foundation is establishing 🟦, the Blue Square emoji already on all smartphones, as a simple symbol of solidarity and support for the Jewish community.

The 🟦 will make its debut by taking up 2.4% of TV and digital screens, billboards and social feeds, including an integrated roll-out across NBC in which hosts and talent from some of the network’s most popular shows introduce the 🟦 and discuss the rising threat of antisemitism, including on The Voice, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, The Kelly Clarkson Show and TODAY.

“The #StandUpToJewishHate campaign is designed to raise awareness for the fight against antisemitism, specifically among non-Jewish audiences and to help all Americans understand that there is a role for each of us to play in combating a problem that is unfortunately all too prevalent in communities across the country today,” said Kraft, who founded the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism in 2019. “We must stand up and take action against the rise of all hate and I hope everyone will post and share the Blue Square to show their support in this fight.”

This is a local problem. On Jan. 6, antisemitic graffiti was found scrawled on bridges in Norwood’s Lindner Park. That same day, JCRC Director Ari Ballaban removed the graffiti. In the last two months, JCRC has also responded to several instances of antisemitic flyers distributed in College Hill and Northside.

While high-profile events have started to make more people aware of antisemitism in the past year, many outside the Jewish community still are not aware of or recognize the scale of Jewish hate.

According to a survey by Wunderman Thompson SONAR, more 52% of U.S. adults 18-and-older do not believe “antisemitism is a big problem,” and 45% believe that Jewish people are more than capable of handling issues of antisemitism on their own.

Another recent study from the Anti-Defamation League found that 85% of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope. Additionally, the new national foundation has observed an increase in discussion of antisemitism online over the past two years, with the biggest increases in conversation in 2022 related to antisemitic flyers, conspiracy theories and the Holocaust.

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati envisions an exceptional Cincinnati Jewish community and, through the community-wide strategic plan Cincinnati 2030, brings diverse groups together to build it. The foundation raises money and uses a volunteer-driven process to distribute it to the local, national, and global programs that need it most.

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