Atlanta
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The American Jewish Committee is calling on the city of Atlanta, Georgia to deal with ongoing "persistent anti-Semitism."

The advocacy group noted that there has been a Jewish community in Georgia since 1733 that has participated in all aspects of society, including participating in institutions that directly and indirectly impact the Jewish community.

“And yet, anti-Semitism, Jew hatred, persists,” against the Atlanta Jewish community, which has approximately 150,000 members, or about two percent of the city’s overall population.

“Over the past 12 months in Atlanta, we have seen rising anti-Semitism on our streets, in our schools and expressed by elected officials across the political spectrum. It has been demonstrated by Holocaust distortion, swastikas scrawled in schools, references to Jewish power and remarks labeling Israel a racist and Nazi-like state,” said Dov Wilker, the Atlanta regional director of the American Jewish Committee.

Wilker explained that “only 61 percent of Americans from the South know what anti-Semitism means, and 16 percent have never heard of it. Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done.”

He said that the situation “presents us with an opportunity” for the Jewish community to stand up and speak out about the “tremendous stories of accomplishment and innovation, mutual respect and cooperation.”

“We are a diverse minority that embraces our Jewishness in individual and communal, religious and cultural ways. In addition to those who have been here for generations, more recent members of our community have moved here from across the U.S. and from around the world,” he said.

However, he noted: “Sadly, 26 percent of Jewish people who live in the South have avoided in the last 12 months publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying items that might help people identify them as Jewish. The national Jewish response was 22 percent.”

Wilker added that “the Jewish community cannot be afraid or allow those who hate us to define us” and must work with leaders across the ethnic, religious and political spectrum on “common issues, as well as to explain our contributions and pride, as well as the constant fear.”

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