Rising Anti-Semitism in the US: Why Intersectionality is its Latest Expression

Brooke Schwartz
6 min readDec 5, 2019

I was seventeen years old, huddling in the corner of a classroom with other kids from my grade, cowering in darkness. Approximately ten seconds earlier, my principal’s voice had come over the loudspeaker: “We are now in lockdown.” Shortly thereafter: “This is not a drill. There is an active shooter at a nearby school.”

So there we were, grouped together in darkness except for the glow emitted from my classmates’ phone screens, silent except for the rapid tapping as they texted their parents, There’s an active shooter and I’m okay and Mom, I’m scared.

It was a mistake. There was no active shooter at a nearby school. The reason we went into lockdown, however, was because the school people thought had an active shooter was a Jewish institution.

The school’s code is that, if another Jewish school in the area has an active shooter, it also goes into lockdown. Why? Because the shooter might hit multiple schools, to kill as many Jewish kids as possible.

The reality of living as a Jew in America, or living as a Jew anywhere, is that people are going to try to kill you and they will sometimes succeed. Anti-Semitism is rising in America, in Europe, everywhere. Even in Israel, our homeland, we aren’t safe, because everyone in our vicinity wants to kill us. There are lots of random terrorist attacks—stabbings, shootings, bombings, car rammings—resulting in thousands of civilians dead. My own cousin, Ezra, who was taking a gap year in Israel before college, was shot in the face and killed on a random day in November, 2015. He was napping on a bus and a 21-year-old Palestinian shot him through the window. He’d celebrated his eighteenth birthday the month before.

In America, and in essentially every country, Jews are a minority. We are targeted, harassed, attacked, assaulted, sometimes murdered, for our identity.

In America, this sometimes takes the form of anti-Zionism. Israel is blamed for every problem in the Middle East and is even used as a scapegoat around the world for various issues, turning minority groups against us by hijacking their movements: black people, LGBTQ+ people, feminists, and Native Americans tend to be anti-Israel. They’ll say it’s not connected to Jews, but how come, if you go to an SJP meeting, they’ll talk about the oppression of the Palestinians in relation to Israel and not the hundreds of thousands being persecuted in

Brooke Schwartz

Professional writer, editor, and tutor; social justice advocate; Orthodox Jew; dedicated Grammar Auror