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Targets of racial and religious hatred must band together

Esther J. Cepeda on

Ward told the Latino political podcast "In the Thick" that Jews have a certain level of privilege -- relative to blacks, Hispanics and other racial and ethnic minorities -- due to their light complexions and European features. But Ward said that it's only a temporary advantage.

"Anti-Semitism functions on the idea that Jews can have a certain amount of privilege in society, but it's at the cost of understanding that it can be taken away at any time and, in fact, historically, Jews have often found themselves in the darkest moments at those times when they've felt most assimilated in western society."

Ward cautioned that we ignore anti-Semitism at our own peril: "There is an emerging white nationalist movement arising in America. It is not anywhere yet near its peak, but it is coming, and it is fueled by anti-Semitism. It is the gas of the engine of white nationalism. If we seriously get up every day and say that we want to defeat white nationalism and we want to deconstruct white supremacy, it is in our own self-interest to confront anti-Semitism, to take away the energy of this emerging social movement."

There are supposed strained relationships between Hispanics, blacks and Jews. A 2014 ADL report claimed that fewer than 5 percent of American whites hold deeply entrenched anti-Semitic views, while more than 30 percent of African-Americans and Latinos held such views. But that report's findings were shown to be unreliable by academic researchers. A 2011 study commissioned by the American Jewish Committee found that Latinos "hold many positive views about the Jewish community. At the same time, it is also true that Latino opinions are hampered by limited contact and general unfamiliarity with Jews."

Clearly, though, it's time to band together. The supremacists and nationalists who would scrub our country of those they deem inferior seem to be colorblind. The only way we will rise above them is to interpret attacks and animosity against our Jewish neighbors to be as personal as those against Hispanics, Muslims, African-Americans, immigrants and other targets of racial hatred.

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter, @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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