Anti-Semitic talks take center stage in Madison

Anti-Semitic talks take center stage in Madison

Hannah Rosenthal has traveled to Europe to experience anti-Semitism at its worst.

“If we could figure out why hatred is on the increase, we would be Noble Prize winners, and there isn’t an easy answer to it, and I certainly don’t know it,” Hannah Rosenthal, CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, said.

Rosenthal offered that worldwide perspective to an auditorium of people Thursday night.

At Memorial High School, right around the corner from the homes hit by graffiti on Madison’s west side, Rosenthal also spoke about the increase of incidents across the state. According to her organization, the number of reports of anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 was double the number made the year before.

“Hate is hate, so there were swastikas, there were racial epithets, there were gross sexual things. You call it what it is: stupid, ignorant and completely unacceptable in our community,” Rosenthal said.

Madison police are still looking for the person or group of people responsible for tagging private property with the anti-Semitic, racially charged and generally offensive terms and images. In all, 39 cases of graffiti were reported. Three of those are considered anti-Semitic.

Michael Johnson, the head of Dane County’s Boys and Girls Club, made his own remarks at the presentation, pledging solidarity between the Jewish and African American communities in speaking out against the crimes.

“I think when incidents like this happen in our community, we have to denounce them and denounce them right away,” Johnson said.

“We keep exposing it, we keep making the public talk about it, and I think we condemn all forms of hatred consistently, clearly, and regularly,” Rosenthal said.