On Friday, a video with antisemitic content came to light among our Dickinson community. As the center for Jewish Life on campus, it is our duty to speak out when we see antisemitism anywhere, but especially among our student body.
Too often, acts of bigotry are couched as humorous, as “just jokes” or as “satire,” but the effect is clear to those affected and always very serious. These statements are meant to intimidate, and often cause anxiety and fear. At a time when antisemitic incidents in the United States are at their highest point since 1979, and antisemitic assaults and murders are at an all-time high, we cannot afford to take any incident of bias lightly.
When people make antisemitic jokes, they send the message that they take the concerns of the Jewish community lightly, and that they consider Jewish voices as unworthy of attention. But we are grateful that this has not been the response writ large. So many among the Dickinson community have spoken out against this incident, from President Ensign to every student who brought the video to the attention of our Bias Response Team. We are grateful for everyone who continues to take antisemitism seriously.
For our Jewish students, an email will go out on Monday with information about holding space to talk about your feelings and about how best to respond to incidents like these. We hope that this will help you know that you are supported in this time. And for the rest of the Dickinson community, we at the Asbell Center are happy to be a resource. If you want to learn more about antisemitism and how to ally against it, please reach out. It is only by standing together that we can move forward and build a more just world.
Rabbi Marley Weiner, Director, Asbell Center for Jewish Life
February 22, 2021