At the end of 2018, there was a swastika drawn on a door in the Ronald Williams Library, just a few weeks after the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead. NEIU facilities were notified to clean the swastika up, the event was printed in the Independent’s blotter and administration sent out an email with a statement.
Journalist and senior writer at Tablet, Yair Rosenberg, is coming to NEIU discuss the antisemitism that happens in politics both in person and online and provide the tools to respond to hate speech.
In a phone interview with the Independent, Rosenberg said while he speaks across the country, he tries to prioritize college campuses. “I’m excited to come speak to kids and tackle some of the bigger challenges. This is not a fun topic, in a way, but it always inspires me when I come to a campus and kids show up to learn about something like prejudice or antisemitism and how they can do better to stop it.”
According to Rosenberg’s website, he likes to write about the “intersection of religion, politics and culture.” He has written topics such as the misrepresentations of Orthodox Jews in the media, political anti-Mormonism and how Muslims and Jews are portrayed in comic books. Rosenberg has been published in array of places such as: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Rosenberg wrote on his website that in his free time he “trolls Nazis on the internet.”
“There are different ways to deal with online [trolls]. As a Jewish journalist with a somewhat significant social media platform, I attract my own share of it… Different types of abuse call for different types of response.”
Rosenberg said that sometimes the people behind online abuse are looking to get a reaction out of their “targets.” To deal with these people, one can reported to authorities, whereas other times one can turn the person saying hateful online things into a joke. He said, “Recognize these people are trying to get a rise out of you and instead you sort of find the ways to turn around the sort of abuse on the person who is trying to be abusive. The internet works.
“An example of that would include Jews like me, who work in the media space, will often get the attack that Jews control the media. Often there are infographics and statistics that are largely false that are brought to support this claim. So, you’ll get something like: ‘Why don’t you just admit it? The Jews control 90 percent of the media and we’re catching on.’ The idea is to disturb us, disturb somebody, and I will upset them by trying to debate the statistics with them. I’ll say something back to them like, ‘Oh, Jews control 96 percent of the media. I checked at our last meeting. I don’t know where you’re getting your figures from.’ And they don’t know what to do with that, right, that sort of thing because it’s not what they were expecting.”
Rosenberg will discuss dealing with antisemitism online and real life on Tuesday, April 23 at 12 p.m. in the Pedroso Center.