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Actress Patricia Heaton Mobilizes Christians to Combat Anti-Semitism in America

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Actress Patricia Heaton Mobilizes Christians to Combat Anti-Semitism in America

Edited by: Fern Sidman

Actress Patricia Heaton, renowned for her roles in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle,” is calling on Christians to actively oppose the growing tide of anti-Semitism in the United States. In an  interview on Saturday with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Heaton expressed her shock and dismay at the lack of response from churches following the release of disturbing body cam footage from Hamas terrorists, which showed graphic acts of violence during the October 7th massacre in which 1200 Israelis and others were brutally murdered.

“You could see that body cam footage from Hamas where they were gleefully murdering people, and I was astonished and horrified, and then I looked around, assuming that the churches would also be horrified and outraged, and I wasn’t hearing anything. It was like crickets,” Heaton recounted to Fox’s Kilmeade. Motivated by this silence, Heaton took to Instagram to challenge her followers, asking, “If you had been a German during World War II, don’t you hope that you would have been a German who stood by your Jewish neighbors and hid your Jewish neighbors? Well, today is your opportunity, and I still believe that.”

Heaton is among the founders of the October 7 Coalition, an organization that has emerged in response to the recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. Fox News reported that this network of Christians is dedicated to speaking out against hatred and supporting the Jewish community, especially in the wake of attacks by Hamas on Israeli residential areas last October, which have since escalated into ongoing conflict.

The coalition is collaborating with JewBelong, a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness about anti-Semitism and promoting Jewish inclusivity. According to the information provided in the Fox News report, together, they are launching a nationwide campaign featuring pink and white billboards with potent messages aimed at combating hate. Fox News also reported that some of the billboards read, “Jewish students deserve to be safe on campus” and “You don’t have to be a Jew to protect Jews.”

Archie Gottesman, the founder of JewBelong, noted a troubling trend of silence within the Jewish community since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began. As per the Fox News report, this silence, according to Gottesman, calls attention to the need for initiatives such as those spearheaded by the October 7 Coalition to galvanize action and foster solidarity.

By leveraging her public platform, Heaton hopes to inspire others to take a proactive stance in protecting their Jewish neighbors and ensuring that history does not repeat itself.

“Those of us who are speaking out have been feeling very, very alone,” Heaton shared with Kilmeade during the Fox News interview/ She emphasized the statistical reality that Jews make up only 2% of the U.S. population. “Even if all of them spoke out, it’s not enough. We need allies,” she stressed during the Fox News interview. pointing to the necessity of a broader coalition to effectively combat anti-Semitism.

The need for such a coalition has become increasingly apparent amid a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the nation. Colleges and universities have reported numerous hate incidents, and Jewish-owned businesses have also been targeted. These acts of hate are not just theoretical; they manifest in tangible and terrifying ways. The Fox News report  cited some examples including a New York deli was defaced with a swastika, a chilling reminder of the Nazi regime’s symbol of hate. In a particularly egregious case, a retired pastor was found to have drawn a swastika on his Jewish neighbor’s groceries, highlighting the pervasive and insidious nature of such bigotry.

Perhaps the most harrowing incident occurred in Las Vegas, where a special needs Jewish student came home with a swastika etched into his back. Fox News also reported that this grotesque act of violence sparked outrage and prompted legal action, illustrating the severe emotional and physical toll these hate crimes inflict on victims and their families.

Heaton drew a stark parallel between today’s anti-Semitism and the horrors of the past, particularly the Holocaust. “Maybe back in 1939, people didn’t know what was going on. We know what’s going on, and it is up to us as Christians to do something about it,” she asserted during the Fox News broadcast.

Heaton’s call to action is not just about raising awareness but about inspiring tangible change. “The Jewish people are feeling very, very alone and they need to know we will stand by them,” she emphasized during the Fox News interview. Her message is clear: the fight against anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish issue but a human issue that demands a unified response.

New York City is witnessing a disturbing trend in hate crimes, particularly anti-Semitic incidents, which are on pace to increase for the fourth consecutive year, according to a June 6th report on the Fox News web site.  Recent data highlights a significant surge in these crimes, coinciding with a rise in anti-Israel demonstrations on major college campuses.

According to the most recent data available, New York City recorded 276 hate crime complaints by May 31, a notable increase from the 210 incidents reported during the same period in 2023. As per the information provided in the Fox News report, this uptick is almost entirely attributable to a significant rise in anti-Semitic incidents, which jumped from 97 to 164. These numbers indicate a worrying trend in the Big Apple, where anti-Semitism continues to be the most prevalent form of hate crime.

The spike in anti-Semitic incidents has closely followed a wave of anti-Israel demonstrations at prominent universities, including Columbia University and New York University. Fox News reported that  Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, pointed out the clear connection between these campus activities and the rise in street-level hate crimes. “That’s no coincidence,” Giacalone remarked to Fox News as he emphasized how the rhetoric and images from these demonstrations influence public behavior.

Giacalone explained to Fox News, “What we’ve seen on college campuses has carried over into the street, so to speak. People see this, they get bombarded with these images from TV and social media, and then act upon it.” This observation highlights the powerful role media and public demonstrations play in shaping societal attitudes and behaviors, often leading to real-world consequences.

Giacalone criticized university leaders for their inadequate response to early complaints of anti-Semitism during the anti-Israel protests. He argued that their inaction and, in some cases, protection of professors who have propagated anti-Israel sentiments for years, have exacerbated the situation. “Not only did they not act, but they’re also protecting their professors that have been teaching this stuff for decades,” Giacalone told Fox News. This failure, he suggests, has allowed anti-Semitic attitudes to flourish unchecked on campuses, contributing to the broader rise in hate crimes.

Recent events at Columbia University have highlighted the increasingly visible and contentious issue of anti-Semitism. Faculty members reportedly aided student protesters by physically blocking critics from accessing a makeshift encampment on school grounds. They formed a human chain around students wearing keffiyehs, a symbol often associated with Palestinian solidarity, to shield them from opposition, as was indicated in the Fox News report. This encampment, which had taken over a portion of the university’s Hamilton Hall, was eventually dismantled after school leaders requested intervention from the New York Police Department (NYPD).

The increase in anti-Semitic incidents in New York City is reflective of a larger, concerning trend. The data suggests that anti-Semitism remains deeply entrenched and is being perpetuated through various societal channels, including higher education institutions, according to the Fox News report.  The recent surge in hate crimes can be seen as part of a broader pattern of intolerance that is not confined to New York but is also observable in other parts of the United States and around the world.

 

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