The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore and the Baltimore Jewish Council have partnered and joined the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism in its current campaign to #StandUpToJewishHate, per a press release issued by The Associated and BJC on March 27. The campaign, created through a $25 million investment by Robert K. Kraft and his family, is encouraging the use of a blue square emoji on all social media as a “unifying symbol against antisemitism,” according to its website.
While Jews only make up 2.4% of the American population, they are the victims of 55% of religious-based hate crimes, according to FBI Hate Crime statistics from 2020.
That discrepancy is highlighted in the March 27 press release as the cornerstone of the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign. Partners in the campaign include the League of Women Voters, Urban League, National Governors Association, the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel International.
Howard Libit, executive director of the BJC, said the national campaign seeks to bring communities together to address a significant rise in anti-Jewish incidents throughout the United States through the concerted use of the blue square emoji on social media.
Libit said that The Associated and BJC joined on as local partners of FCAS’ effort to leverage FCAS’ ad campaign at the local level.
“We already do a lot of work educating about antisemitism to many different communities, both Jewish and non-Jewish,” Libit said. “Hopefully, these ads will prompt more people to ask us to come present and educate. If people experience acts of hate or antisemitism, I hope that they will come to us to report it,” so that they may be able to take action and help.
Libit believes that this national campaign is already raising awareness of antisemitism and hate in new ways.
“The proliferation of these thought-provoking and emotional ads on television and social media is reaching so many people, and I hope that it is prompting people to think,” Libit said. “I see the little blue square and the #StandUpToJewishHate hashtag all over social media, and I know it is reaching people. There is no question that this is a critical time in our battle against hate and antisemitism.”
Libit added that statistics, whether from the Anti-Defamation League, the FBI, or the Maryland State Police, show “a steady and troubling increase in acts of hate and antisemitism. We need to call attention to this and call it out.”
The ADL recorded 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States in 2022, according its website, representing a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents recorded in 2021. This number represents “the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979,” according to the ADL website. “This is the third time in the past five years that the year-end total has been the highest number ever recorded.”
Libit said that toward the end of the Maryland legislative session, BJC and The Associated distributed blue square pins to state officials, taking photos with lawmakers wearing the pins for social media, and will continue to do so with other leaders in the community.
“So much attention is paid to the antisemitic acts and comments made by leaders in politics, sports and entertainment,” Libit said. “This campaign and the little blue square represent an opportunity for us to highlight the many role models in those areas who stand with us against hate and against antisemitism. By raising awareness, and by making more people aware of the harm of antisemitism, I think that this campaign will make our efforts every more productive.”
The Associated and the BJC encourage people to #StandUpToJewishHate in a number of ways, according to the March 27 press release:
“1. Post and share — an emoji already available on most smartphones — as a hashtag across social media alongside a message of support for the Jewish community and commitment to stand up to Jewish hate.
“2. Activate your network by making them aware of the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign and how they can use as a powerful symbol of solidarity with the Jewish community.
“3. Tell your story to followers on social media, describing an instance where you’ve either encountered antisemitism and how it affected you or witnessed someone standing up against hatred towards Jews.
“4. Visit www.StandUpToJewishHate.org and subscribe to the foundation’s ”From the Command Center” e-newsletter to keep up to date on how antisemitism is spreading online, learn ways to identify and report it, and find helpful tools and resources around antisemitism.
“5. Follow the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign at @StandUpToJewishHate on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to keep up-to-date with and learn more about antisemitism.
“6. Report antisemitism immediately when you see it, and if it is an emergency, dial 911.
You can learn more about how best to report antisemitism by visiting www.StandUpToJewishHate.org.”