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South Florida community leaders stand together against antisemitism

South Florida community leaders stand together against antisemitism
South Florida community leaders stand together against antisemitism 02:16

MIAMI - It's American Jewish Heritage Month, and community leaders said it's more important than ever to combat antisemitism. 

Maia Kofman feels lucky she's a Gator undergrad. She didn't see huge protests and encampments like other universities across the country did, but then she went to NYU to get her graduate degree. 

"You couldn't go to class without walking through a rally of students chanting 'from the river to the sea', 'intifada revolution', or 'we don't want no two states we want all of it'," she said, "and as a Jewish student, hearing those things, knowing that it's calling for your destruction and destruction of your people, how could you not feel harassed?"

Outside and inside of the classroom, she said antisemitism is alive and well. 

"We read a book where factory farming and the holocaust were being compared, and I made the comment that I think that is a horrible comment, and one tragedy doesn't need to stand on the leg of another," she said, "and I heard a student come back to my comment that she values the life of a jew and the life of a cow to be the same."

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the Jewish community is seeing an alarming increase of antisemitism since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th, and said anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism. 

"Let's be very clear, anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism," she said. "To deny only one country, only one people all over the world, the right to a homeland," she said. "Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people, and that's what Zionism is. The belief that the Jewish people deserve a homeland just like everyone else." 

Wasserman Schultz spoke at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center Monday morning with other lawmakers and Jewish leaders. They said they are speaking on the issue to help enlist support from other communities that Jews have so often rallied behind. 

"The Jewish community is such a small percentage of our population, making sure that we can enlist and educate all members of our community leaders across the breadth of cultural and religious society, to understand that hate against the Jewish community, the rise of antisemitism, is the canary in the coal mine, and that it doesn't stop there," she said. 

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