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THE GEORGIA COMMISSION ON THE HOLOCAUST DENOUNCES RECENT ANTISEMITIC INCIDENT IN GEORGIA: THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW.
--Sandy Springs, Georgia. Monday, February 6, 2023
Yesterday, Sunday, February 5, 2023, residents in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, Georgia, awoke to find plastic bags in their driveways, bags containing explicit antisemitic flyers. This is not the first such incident in Georgia. This was an alarming episode for our local citizens, even more so for our local Holocaust Survivors, who live in our communities.
Learning about the Holocaust shows us that if we do not address hatred, racism and antisemitism, those who espouse those views will become more and more emboldened. Antisemitism cannot be allowed to thrive when it grows, unchallenged. In Nazi Germany, the government incrementally spread antisemitic propaganda and implemented antisemitic laws. Receiving little opposition by the German public, this indifference emboldened the Nazis to increase their propaganda and restrictions against Jews. We know that this apathy ultimately ended with violence and mass murder. In the face of rising antisemitism, here in our State of Georgia, in our democratic society, we must not stay silent, we must not tolerate hate, racism and antisemitism. It is time for each and every one of us to stand up.
The Holocaust also has important lessons for us as we evaluate proposed HB 30, a bill proposed by the Georgia State Legislature, which adopts the definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. This working definition, adopted in 2016 has helped guide 39 countries as well as organizations, and individuals to identify antisemitism. It reads:
"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."
We cannot stand against antisemitism without being able to understand what it is. Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy To Monitor And Combat Antisemitism, wrote, that, “action starts with understanding, “ HB 30 helps us to provide that foundation of understanding, a foundation that will lead to action, that will lead us to stand up against racism, antisemitism, exclusion and hate. This is a time when we must stand together. We thank Governor Brian Kemp, our State Representatives and Senators, Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch and Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, for their forceful denunciations of this antisemitic event. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us, from every background, from every faith, from every community, to speak out as well.
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust is a secular, non-partisan state agency. Our mission is to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and promote public understanding of the history. We believe that learning how and why the Holocaust happened is an important part of the education of Georgia citizens. Learning about the Holocaust encourages reflection upon the moral questions raised by this unprecedented event and the responsibilities of citizens in our democracy.
For more information, visit www.holocaust.georgia.gov
Sally N. Levine
Georgia Commission on the Holocaust
6110 Blue Stone Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30328