April 7, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Julie Kaviar (312) 603-4933; Julie.Kaviar@cookcountyil.gov
COOK COUNTY COMMISSIONER SCOTT BRITTON PASSES RESOLUTION AGAINST ANTI-SEMITIC HATE
Spring of Action Launches with Rally to Unite Against Anti-Semitism April 24
GLENVIEW – On Thursday, April 7, 14th District Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton was joined by the Board of Commissioners in unanimously passing a Resolution Against the Rise in Anti-Semitic Hate and in Support of Cook County’s Jewish Population. As part of an effort to unite against the surge of anti-Jewish incidents, Commissioner Britton is partnering with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Action Ridge and Niles Coalition for a Spring of Action against anti-Semitic hate. The events will include an April rally, a May teach-in, and June celebration at the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival.
“The recent proliferation of anti-Semitic hate cannot be ignored or overlooked. Cook County has long prided itself on being a welcoming space for individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “My administration has long championed equity in all its forms, and that means affording everyone the ability to practice religion without fear of persecution. I condemn these baseless anti-Semitic attacks and offer my full support to the Jewish community. You can count on Cook County as your partner in these trying times.”
The Resolution Against the Rise in Anti-Semitic Hate and in Support of Cook County’s Jewish Population highlights the disturbing rise of anti-Semitic hate targeting in the Jewish community, including broken glass, presence of swastikas, verbal attacks, and physical assaults, acts of vandalism, bomb threats, and distribution of incendiary propaganda. With its passage, the Cook County Board resolved to condemn hateful anti-Jewish acts, to protect all residents of the County from hate crimes, to reverse the profound ignorance, and to encourage all residents of Cook County to unite in opposition to anti-Semitic hate.
“This level of wanton hatred is disturbing, sad, and dangerous. We cannot stand idly by when members of the Jewish community are becoming increasingly victimized.,” Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton said. “I take it as my personal responsibility to stand up for our brothers and sisters who are receiving hate as I would want others to stand for me. Hate has no home in Cook County.”
On March 3, Commissioner Britton received a package of fliers containing anti-Semitic messages at his Glenview home. Throughout March 2022, similar anti-Semitic hate-packages were found in plastic bags containing rocks, beans, or rice, in Cook County residents’ front yards and in public parks in Niles, Park Ridge, Glenview, Skokie, and Arlington Heights, Illinois, as well as at Eastern Illinois University, University of Illinois-Urbana, and Lake Land College. There was also a bomb threat made to the North Suburban Beth El Synagogue in Highland Park, and threats to Jewish Day Care facilities in Skokie.
“The ancient curse of anti-Semitism is thriving here in the U.S.. Anti-Semitism is not part of the American character – it is, at its heart, anti-American, and as citizens of this great country we must unite to fight this evil,” said Alison Pure-Slovin, Midwest Region Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“We were deeply troubled by the hateful antisemitic literature that landed on the doorsteps of some Niles and Park Ridge residents,” said Nan Parson, co-founder of Action Ridge. “As a non-partisan community action organization formed to promote inclusion, respect, equity and the health of our planet, it was important to us to take action. We are honored to be part of this community-spanning United Against Hate campaign along with our neighbors in the Niles Coalition."
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 that forced many to physically distance or lock down, anti-Jewish attacks continue to surge. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents, Illinois residents saw a 350% increase in anti-Semitic incidents between 2016 and 2020. Across the country, there were 2,024 recorded incidents against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in 2020, up from 1,879 in 2018. According to the 2021 American Jewish Committee State of Antisemitism in America, one in four American Jews had been targets of antisemitism during the year. The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs Antisemitism Report data shows a nearly 40% increase in global antisemitic hate speech disseminated on social media in March 2022 compared to March 2021.
Hate crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions make up an increasingly disproportionate share of religiously motivated hate crimes. According to the FBI, anti-Jewish bias accounted for 57% of the religiously motivated hate crimes in 2020, even though Jews only account for less than 2% of the U.S. population. This is also up from 2015 when 51.3 percent of religious hate crime offenses targeted Jews or Jewish institutions.
Chicago’s Orthodox Jewish community in West Rogers Park was targeted with eight known incidents of hate from January 13 through February 1, 2022. These are days surrounding International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, which triggered associations of Kristallnacht (“the Night of Broken Glass”) for Holocaust survivors and their descendants, where the Nazi’s anti-Semitic policies turned exceptionally violent.
Commissioner Britton is partnering with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Action Ridge and Niles Coalition for a Spring of Action to escalate awareness, educate neighbors, and encourage action against anti-Semitic hate crimes and propaganda.
SPRING OF ACTION AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM
United Against Anti-Semitism Rally WHEN: Sunday, April 24 at 5:30 PM WHERE: Gallery Park, Glenview
Individuals of all creeds are invited to join President Preckwinkle and Commissioner Britton
United Against Hate Community Meetup WHEN: Sunday, May 15 at 3 PM
WHERE: Jonquil Terrace Park, Niles
Join Action Ridge and the Niles Coalition for a solidarity action and teach-in
Mobile Museum of Tolerance at Greater Chicago Jewish Festival WHEN: Sunday, June 12 from 11 AM – 6 PM WHERE: Cook County Forest Preserve, Oakton Street, west of Lehigh Avenue
Visit the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Mobile Museum of Tolerance