Patriots owner Robert Kraft has launched a $25 million national campaign to fight anti-Semitism as anti-Semitic reported incidents surge to record highs across the region and country.
Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism announced its new initiative for all Americans — and especially non-Jews — to #StandUpToJewishHate by using the blue square emoji on social media as a unifying symbol of support.
The foundation noted that Jews only make up 2.4% of the American population, but they’re the victims of 55% of religious-based hate crimes. That disturbing discrepancy is the cornerstone of this new campaign — in which the blue square emoji will take up 2.4% of TV and digital screens, billboards and social feeds to call attention to the disparity.
Kraft, who on Monday was wearing a blue square pin to commemorate his campaign, offered a few remarks at the annual league meetings in Phoenix.
“I love this country,” Kraft said. “I see hate building and developing in a lot of areas. I think it’s something we have to stop.”
He said he spoke to several ad agencies, one that came up with the blue square plan, as a “symbol of solidarity and getting us all together to push back against all kinds of hate, focusing on anti-Semitism.”
Tom Brady on Monday tweeted out support for #StandUpToJewishHate.
The launch of this new campaign comes less than a week after the Anti-Defamation League reported that anti-Semitic incidents spiked across Massachusetts last year, as the total number of incidents against the Jewish community hit record highs in New England and around the U.S.
The ADL’s annual “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” recorded a total of 204 anti-Semitic incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism in the New England region last year — a 32% jump from 2021, and the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents ever recorded in the region that covers Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont.
The Bay State accounted for 152 of those 204 anti-Semitic reported incidents. Massachusetts’ total of 152 incidents was a 41% surge from the previous year, and the state recorded the sixth highest number of incidents in the country.
Nationally, ADL recorded 3,697 anti-Semitic incidents last year, a 36% increase and the highest total since ADL started tracking such data in 1979.
“ADL has been tirelessly ringing the alarm bells about the sharp increase in antisemitism, and encouraging elected officials and communities to fight back,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO and national director, said in a statement on Monday.
“Today, that continues as we join #StandUpToJewishHate, a new campaign to educate everyone in the United States about the rise of antisemitism and mobilize people outside the Jewish community to help us address growing hate and intolerance,” he added. “We need to drive home the message that Jews make up just 2.4% of the U.S. population but are the victims of 55% of all religious hate crimes.”
For more information about the new campaign, visit www.standuptojewishhate.org.