To say we live in a post-truth era is an understatement.
“Truth” in the United States has become a matter of pure perspective — a concept open to debate, where any opinion on a fact must be given equal weight, regardless of how insane that opinion may be. We live in a nation that sees facts as some sort of deep-state conspiracy. The moon landing was faked. The Earth is flat.
The Holocaust never happened.
That last statement — which has long been little more than a bargain-basement platform for the far-right hate mongers among us — is gaining traction over the last several years, and you need look no further than a recent training session of the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas.
“Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has an opposing… that has other perspectives,” said Gina Peddy, the Carroll school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, according to NBC News, who obtained audio recordings of the meeting.
Once news broke, the district predictably back-peddled, apologies were offered, and hand-wringing ensued. It was positioned as a misinterpretation on Peddy’s part of the new law in Texas that takes effect in December. The intent of the bill, Texas Senate Bill 3, is to curb discussion of Critical Race Theory in classrooms and generally push the “shining beacon on the hill” narrative of American infallibility.
In Texas, nationalism is the fundamental curriculum for its students.
What’s worse, Holocaust denial is a growing trend across the nation. A state-by-state survey last year of Z-Generation and Millennials aged 18–39 revealed that, “Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure.”
Even more shocking, “Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust,” In Texas, that number was 30% of respondents, eclipsing the U.S average. Colorado performed better than the national average: 20%.
These numbers are abysmal. And not only is antisemitism a persistent problem in the United States — it’s getting worse. The Anti Defamation League’s 2021 Survey on Jewish Americans’ Experiences With Antisemitism revealed that 63% of Jews in America have either experienced or witnessed some form of antisemitism in the last five years, a notable increase from 2020’s total of 54%.
Year-over-year, that’s an increase of almost 17% of Jewish Americans who witnessed or directly experienced antisemitism. Myself included.
We’re far from immune in Colorado, as well. Witness Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute’s decision to host notorious antisemite Jack Posobiec on campus on Oct. 18. His twitter account is littered with antisemitic commentary, as is this Nazi-adjacent Periscope diatribe he broadcast in 2017.
In it, says the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Posobiec referred to himself as being ‘Kekistani,’ which was typically used as a dog whistle to signal solidarity among white supremacists at that time, particularly ones that used the imageboard forum 4chan. ‘I heard, someone heard… they turned Kekistanis into soap … [they’re] turning them into lampshades,’ Posobiec said on the livestream. It is common in white supremacist circles to reference Jews being turned into soap and lampshades. The rumor of Nazis turning Jews into soap is part of a war-borne myth that began during the Holocaust, according to scholars. White supremacists sometimes bring it up as a way of trivializing the genocide of the Jews during World War II.”
There’s little reason for hope of a reversal of the growth of antisemitism on the horizon. The far-right’s embrace of QAnon — little more than a repackaging of the famous antisemitic tome Protocols of the Elders of Zion — has been pervasive, enabling antisemitism to find itself a home in the platforms of lawmakers from the state level like AZ State Rep Wendy Rogers and up into the halls of Congress with the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Colorado’s own western slope Republican Lauren Boebert. Not only is antisemitism en vogue, but it’s also found itself a new legion of lawmakers to embrace it.
Which begs the biggest question of all: What are you doing to stop it?