On the last day of Passover, Jews in the diaspora gather for a memorial prayer for the deceased. It was during this service at the Chabad of Poway that a white supremacist shooter injured three and killed one person yesterday.
This senseless attack happened six months to the day of the Tree of Life shooting, where 11 Jews were killed. It also happened the day after U.S. President Donald Trump defended white supremacists and white nationalists at Charlottesville, who were yelling Nazi chants and a little over a month after the Christchurch mosque shootings.
The shooter, who I am not naming because he does not deserve any more attention than what he has been given, isn’t just an antisemite, he’s a white supremacist. In his manifesto, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that he wrote that he tried to burn down a mosque in Escondido last month. He also cited the Tree of Life shooting gunman and the Christchurch mosque shootings as inspiration.
I’m tired. I’m tired of being afraid of going to synagogues. I’m tired of being afraid that white supremacists will find out that I’m Jewish and will hurt or kill me. But what I’m really tired of is people giving condolences after these antisemitic hate crimes and murders while refusing to fight white supremacy. I’m also really tired of politicians who give condolences after hate crimes and then refuse to condemn politicians who are white nationalists like Steve King or literally read Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, on the House floor.
While I’m devastated by yet another attack by a white supremacist, I haven’t given up hope, but we need to act. We need to dismantle white supremacy now. White supremacy will get us all – Jews, Muslims, and other marginalized communities – killed.
While the threat of white supremacy may be dismaying, we, the collective targets of white nationalist violence have strength in numbers. Jews, Muslims, Black folks, and other groups shouldn’t have to fight white supremacy alone – we can do it together.
I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to dismantle white supremacy, as it’s never been done before. What we can do is work to vote out supremacists and their apologists, whether it is in the United States, Brazil, Israel, or the United Kingdom. We can also lift and support the work that organizers and social justice organizations have already done or are working on. Take Jews for Racial & Economic Justice’s Understanding Antisemitism resource. This resource explores the history of antisemitism and how Christian Zionists, including those in the United States government, weaponize antisemitism for their personal gain.
Next year, I hope that I can celebrate my Jewish ancestors’ liberation from Egypt during Passover while feeling truly free because I don’t feel free under the threat of white supremacist violence. I also hope my Muslim siblings and all people of color will also be free from white supremacy.
We will outlive them, together.