Social Issues

Rabbi Bonnie Margulis on antisemitism and polarized politics

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice Executive Director Rabbi Bonnie Margulis considers growth in antisemitism and other forms of hatred fueled by online echo chambers and heightened political division.

By Aditi Debnath | Here & Now

February 28, 2023

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Rabbi Bonnie Margulis:
Why now? Well, there's a general rise in white national supremacy white Christian nationalism, hate groups, hate speech hate acts in general not just targeted at the Jewish community but also at the African-American and Latinx communities, the Asian community, the LGBTQ community. There's really just been an alarming rise on the extreme right throughout the country and against so many minority communities and partly because of the internet, partly because of some of our purported leaders who have really been stoking hate, unfortunately, partly because of the polarization that's just been so increasing in our society and the kind of echo chamber that's been created through social media and the internet, and people just being able to find information in a very siloed way, very easily at their fingertips and not being able to kind of break out of that to find other points of view.

Aditi Debnath:
So speaking of polarization how does Wisconsin's extremely divided political landscape impact antisemitism in the state?

Rabbi Bonnie Margulis:
Well, it's not helped any, that's certainly true. The extreme divides on the right and the left have made it really difficult for people to talk to each other. It's made it difficult for people to see each other as human beings. It has really promoted some very narrow and tunneled vision kind of thinking and has really made it difficult for people to be able to reach across divides and see each other as human beings. And that's something that's really very scary that's going on in our country right now, not just in Wisconsin.

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There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.