Riverside County Tuesday adopted a resolution condemning antisemitism in response to an increase in antisemitic rhetoric and demonstrations in the Southland.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors Tuesday adopted a resolution denouncing acts of antisemitism and religious bigotry in all its forms, standing in solidarity with the Jewish community against anti-Jewish bigotry and calling upon all Riverside County residents to join in stopping hatred, bigotry and prejudice in all forms.

“Over recent weeks in the Los Angeles County, there was an upsetting and sickening incident that occurred as an antisemitic hate group gathered on the 405 freeway overpass, hanging a banner in support of anti Jewish remarks and doing Nazi salutes,” Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said. “And I find it concerning anytime there’s bigotry.”

Perez noted that the Oct. 22 display, which followed remarks made by Ye (formerly Kanye West), comes at a time of rising antisemitism, something U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt talked about in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

“We’re seeing a rise, as you just said, in antisemitism,” she said. “We’re seeing it internationally. We’re seeing it nationally. What we’re seeing also is it’s not that it wasn’t there before. Antisemitism is the longest or the oldest hatred, as historians sometimes say.”

In Riverside County, Perez, who represents the fourth district, said there have been recent antisemitic incidents in his district as well as in the Temecula area, which is in the third district. “I’ve heard from residents in the fourth district that these are scary times,” he said.

According to a piece from the Anti-Defamation League, recent antisemitic comments by Ye are just the latest in a spate of concerning and conspiratorial remarks by the rapper and draw on “longstanding antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories about the Jewish people.”

In talking about the rise of antisemitism in the Southland, Perez referenced a news article published by Annenberg Media about the response from the Jewish community.

“[Senior Rabbi Steve] Leder said antisemitism tends to operate on a pendulum; throughout history it’s held various levels of influence over societies. It doesn’t matter where that pendulum lands now or how much influence Ye truly wields because ‘a little bit [of hatred] once ignored becomes metastatic,’” Perez read. “Whether they know it or not, people have power to stop the spread of antisemitism, Leder said. Everyone exerts influence and power in their own social circles, and fighting back could be as simple as calling out those around us when they engage in antisemitic behavior.”

Supervisor Karen Spiegel, who worked on the resolution with Perez, said that the timing of the rise in antisemitism was also concerning with the anniversary of Kristallnacht—an overnight wave of violence against Jewish people and property coordinated by the Nazi regime that started Nov. 9, 1938—just around the corner.

“My mother-in-law’s family was taken, and her father was taken on that night of Kristallnacht, of Nov. 9, 1938, and he perished in the camps,” she said. “And that was the beginning of the severe taking of folks and putting them into concentration camps.”

Spiegel said a Holocaust survivor scheduled to speak to a congregation in Corona was “a little alarmed,” by the prospect of coming to Southern California from their home on the East Coast due to the recent uptick in antisemitism in the region.

The resolution was adopted 5-0 with both Perez and Spiegel thanking the board for its support in raising awareness and condemning antisemitism and other forms of hatred, bigotry and prejudice.

“I believe that we all have a light, a light to share a light that can dispel the darkness and hate, and we can use our light to stand up for what’s right, and root out hate, bigotry and prejudice,” Perez said.
Those wanting to learn more about how to combat antisemitism can find resources on the Anti-Defamation League’s website.

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