Statement Regarding Rise in Anti-Semitism

The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado stands with the Jewish community against the recent rise in anti-semitism and hateful rhetoric targeting our Jewish brothers and sisters. 

We are appalled and, frankly, scared for the safety of our Jewish friends and family members at the increase in anti-Jewish hatred, both here in Colorado and across the United States.

According to the dictionary, Anti-semitism is defined as hostility to or against Jewish people.

To Jews around the world, this hatred has gone on from time immemorial. From the Roman Empire, to forced expulsion of Jews from several countries and regions, including England (1290), France (14th century), Germany (1350s), Portugal (1496), Provence (1512), and the Papal States (1569). In 1492, Spain and Portugal forcibly expelled Jewish people unless they converted to Christianity. This was followed by the Spanish Inquisition, then to the Crusades. The Catholic Reformation renewed anti-Jewish legislation and reinforced the system of ghettoized segregation in Roman Catholic countries. Russians forced Jews to live in ghettos in the Pale of Settlement, followed by pogroms, killing many Jews and forcing them to live in fear.

Fast forward to the Holocaust. The culmination of all of the above; the mission of the Nazis to eliminate the “Jewish race.”

So where are we today, here in Colorado? Anti-Jewish speech has been mainstreamed. Politicians have no problem calling out Jews as perpetrators of anything from bias in the media, to making too much money, to having an undue influence on foreign and domestic affairs. According to the ADL, incidences of anti-semitism in 2021 increased by 34%. That number increased in 2022. 

So, what can you do to combat Jewish hatred and anti-semitism:

  • Report incidences of anti-Jewish hatred to the police, and to the The Mountain States Anti-Defamation League 
  • Stand up and speak out! When you witness anti-semitic acts, either in person or online, stand up for your Jewish community.https://mountainstates.adl.org/
  • Write/email/mail/call the media to report those incidents, or to stand up for the Jews of Colorado.
  • Write/email/mail/call your state legislators to voice your concern about anti-semitism in Colorado. You can find your legislator here: https://leg.colorado.gov/find-my-legislator
  • Invite a speaker, or speak up yourself, at your synagogue, mosque, church or community organization. The Interfaith Alliance can help find a speaker, or provide you with resource material. 

The fight against the violent and destructive ideology of anti-Semitism sadly didn’t end with the surrender of the Axis powers. And when we utter the words “never again” we must couple that with a watchful eye and remain vigilant to ensure that the atrocities of the Holocaust are never repeated. Those who profligate nihilistic ideologies must be swiftly condemned by every facet of society, and adherents of anti-Semitism must be stripped of all platforms they use to spread hate. There must be no room allowed for civilized debate with those who celebrate and make excuses for genocide.

As Colorado’s flagship organization for people of faith with more than 400 congregations representing roughly two dozen faith traditions, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado always seeks to build common ground among all Coloradans regardless of creed. We are proud to take a united stance against anti-Semitism in all its forms, and stand in unwavering solidarity with all of our Jewish brothers and sisters. All of us, from Christians to Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Unitarian Universalists, and all other faith traditions, are proud to lock arms with the Jewish community and protect them from those who wish them harm. All people of faith deserve to practice their spiritual beliefs free from persecution, not only in Colorado, but across the US and around the globe.

To quote Elie Wiesel:

“Action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all.”

With respect,

Shara Smith

Executive Director, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

Jill Wildenberg

Chair, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

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