The other day I came across the strange realization that I had not written about anti-Semitism in the 15 years that I’ve been writing this blog.
(I also came across the realization that automatic e-mail links to recent posts had also not been going out properly, if you’re wondering why you’re getting e-mails again now.)
In the early years, that was perhaps just a sign of the times — anti-Semitism in the United States was openly denounced by political leaders even if there was still a segment of the population that trafficked in it.
But over the last five years, there’s been a noticeable change. I’ve felt it on a personal level — at our synagogue we now have a security guard for every Shabbat service.
Then there was this troubling article: A recent survey of over 1000 hiring managers revealed that 26 percent of them are less likely to move forward with a candidate if they are Jewish.
According to a Jerusalem Post article, “When asked why, 38% said that “Jews have too much power and control,” which is also tied to another 38% who said, “Jews claim to be the ‘chosen people.'””
But it gets worse: 23% said that their company is trying to limit Jewish presence in the workplace while 17% said that their bosses said not to hire Jewish people at all.
Those are shockingly high numbers. You can read them all here. And yet the numbers aren’t altogether surprising. Time and again, the ADL has found similarly high numbers of Americans with anti-Semitic views — 28 million Americans.
For employers, it should obviously go without saying that such views and actions are illegal. But beyond that, the new numbers (as well as recent headlines) provide employers with an opportunity to speak out.
Having anti-discrimination policies and sexual harassment prevention trainings are vitally important but so is eliminating anti-Semitism in the workplace. Reminding managers and your employee population of your values and openly denouncing anti-Semitism isn’t just paying lip-service to the issue; rather it sends the message that the message is to be taken seriously.