Education and facts are our best tools to combat antisemitism


 Nancy Lisker is Regional Director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) St. Louis.


I recently received a text from a St. Louis friend that made my heart drop. It happened again. He sent me photos of antisemitic flyers left at doorsteps in the Brentwood area.

The group responsible: the Goyim Defense League. This was not the first time its hateful and threatening messages have affected our community. Similar leaflets were found in south St. Louis last year. Sadly, these instances are not isolated: Jews across America have experienced this antisemitic act with increasing regularity over the past few years. And it doesn’t stop with flyers. One person linked to the Goyim Defense League in California is in jail in connection with a series of shootings that reportedly targeted Jews. 

The leaflets are ugly.  They show some of the ways that antisemitism has shifted in recent years: the messages blame Jews for “every aspect of” conspiracies related to COVID, “Disney’s child grooming,” mass immigration, gun control, Communism and everything in between.

Conspiracy theories, scapegoating and stereotyping are some of the forms that antisemitism takes. This is especially concerning due to the explosive growth of social media and the proliferation of antisemitism online, where anti–Jewish sentiment spreads like a toxic fungus. According to the State of Antisemitism in America report from American Jewish Committee (AJC), over two thirds of American Jews (69%) experienced antisemitism online in the past 12 months.

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Given this, it should come as no surprise that 41% of Jews said the status of Jews in the U.S. was less secure than a year ago. What’s more troubling is that this number was a 10–percentage point increase from 2021.

That insecurity has also led nearly four in 10 American Jews to change their behavior for fear of antisemitism in at least one of three ways: avoiding posting content online that could potentially identify them as Jews or reveal their stance on Jewish issues (27%), avoiding wearing publicly clothing, jewelry, or objects that could identify them as Jews (23%), and avoiding attending synagogue and certain events out of concern for their safety or comfort as Jews (16%).

Notably, American Jews also changed their behavior at work. A third of respondents have experienced or avoided at least one of the following situations in the past year: expressing their Israel views at work (22%), wearing clothing, or displaying objects that would identify them as Jews (10%), having difficulty taking time off work during a Jewish holiday (10%), and/or feeling unsafe in the workplace because of their Jewish identity (8%). So, what can American Jews — and all Americans — do with this information? How can we fight back against rising antisemitism and the feeling of uncertainty?

As Jews, we’ve learned more than once that antisemitism can come from many sources: on the same day a rabbi finds a Nazi swastika spray—painted on their synagogue, a Jewish teenager can be exposed to messages on social media about Jews controlling the banks, dominating Hollywood, and manipulating Congress, shared on social media accounts that have millions of followers. 

Antisemitism is a symptom of deeper societal problems, hatred and racism. As it spreads, it risks becoming normalized. We cannot let that happen. Instead, we must work to ensure this warped rhetoric is kept on the fringes of society.

Antisemitism thrives amid ignorance. AJC’s survey shows that the more Americans know about Jews and the Holocaust, the more likely they are to recognize antisemitism and to view it as a problem in America today. 

AJC St. Louis has undertaken a regional campaign to provide educational trainings, using  AJC’s Call to Action, for corporations, law enforcement, municipal governments, schools and universities and nonprofits. The idea is to make sure our community’s leaders understand antisemitism, can respond to it appropriately, and – most importantly – play a part in prevention.

In the end, the best way to vanquish antisemitism is each one of us — armed with education, facts, and the knowledge that we are on the right side of history.

To learn more, visit or contact Nancy Lisker directly at [email protected].

Nancy Lisker is Regional Director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) St. Louis.