Taking a stand: Uniting against antisemitism for a stronger Orange County

| 22 Sep 2023 | 04:39

    In today’s world, where diversity and inclusivity should be celebrated, it is disheartening to witness the persistence of antisemitism, as we’ve seen in Newburgh and other places around Orange County recently. As district attorney, I urge all county residents to come together to challenge and eradicate this deeply rooted prejudice. By standing up against antisemitism, we not only protect the Jewish community but also foster a stronger, more compassionate society for all.

    Antisemitism has plagued human history for centuries, resulting in unimaginable pain and suffering. From the horrors of the Holocaust to contemporary acts of vandalism, hate crimes, and discriminatory attitudes, it is clear that antisemitism remains a persistent threat in our county, state, and nation. We must recognize that our collective failure to address this issue undermines the principles of equality, justice, and respect that we strive to uphold.

    Standing up against antisemitism is not only essential for the well-being of the Jewish community but also for the integrity of our own values. By combating antisemitism, we reaffirm our commitment to justice, fairness, and the principles of human rights. We reinforce the idea that all individuals, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, have the right to live free from discrimination, fear, and hatred.

    Antisemitism harms not only the Jewish community but also weakens the social fabric that binds us together. We all expect to be judged by who we are as individuals. When we allow prejudice to persist and accept stereotypes over the conduct and character of others, we create an environment that normalizes hate and division. By actively opposing antisemitism and other forms of hatred, we foster a sense of unity, solidarity, and compassion within our community. We send a powerful message that discrimination against any group is unacceptable, and we stand united against all forms of bigotry.

    To effectively combat antisemitism, we must invest in education and awareness. As district attorney, I have promoted and partnered with the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County to promote an educational program, “Speak Up To Stand Up Against Hate,” in our high schools over the years to raise awareness to this societal problem. By promoting understanding and empathy, we can challenge stereotypes, dispel myths, and break down the barriers that perpetuate hatred. Educational initiatives that teach the history of antisemitism, highlight Jewish contributions to society, and encourage interfaith dialogue can help build bridges of understanding and foster a culture of respect and inclusivity.

    Antisemitism has no place in Orange County. By opposing these age-old prejudices, and calling them out when we see or hear them, we protect the rights and dignity of the Jewish community and reaffirm our commitment to the values that underpin a harmonious society and our need to live with one another in peace. Let us come together, united against antisemitism, and build a future where diversity is celebrated and hatred is condemned.

    David M. Hoovler

    Orange County District Attorney