Madison’s Jewish community responds to rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes, calls them ‘nothing new’

MADISON, Wis.– There’s been a rise in reported attacks against members of the Jewish community this month, but local Jewish leaders call the incidents “nothing new.”

Greg Steinberger, UW Hillel’s Executive Director, says Jewish students at the University of Wisconsin have always been targeted for their religion.

“I don’t know if we always see it. People think it’s a hassle to report,” he explained, adding that although certain events like the conflict between Israel and Hamas draw attention to that hate, many attacks go unreported.

“Too often, parents err on the side of not reporting or not encouraging their children report because they don’t want to rock the boat,” said Alan Klugman, head of the Jewish Federation of Madison.

Klugman says kids as young as 10 are often bullied online for being Jewish.

From May 7th to May 14th, the Anti-Defamation League found more than 1,700 tweets used variations of the phrase “Hitler was right.”

Jewish or not, leaders like Klugman and Steinberger ask everyone: don’t just say you care, show it.

“Recognize it, stand up against it, and report it,” said Klugman.

“It has to be more than see something say something,” said Steinberger.

Madison is home to roughly 5,000 Jewish people, in addition to the 5,000 additional Jewish students currently studying at the UW-Madison.

Click here to learn more about the University of Wisconsin Hillel Foundation.

Click here to connect with the Jewish Federation of Madison.