Alaska’s museums stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism

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Through Dixie Clough

Updated: 2 hours ago Posted: 2 hours ago

Anti-Semitism is sweeping our nation once again. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic attacks are approaching historic levels. Since 1979, there have not been as many attacks on people of the Jewish faith in the United States. Sadly, Anchorage is part of this trend.

Twice this year the Jewish Museum of Alaska was attacked by a vandal with swastika stickers. In the second attack, the vandal carved the hate symbol into one of the museum’s doors. A museum should be a safe space where everyone is invited to discover the history of our communities. Sadly, the vandalism of the Jewish Museum of Alaska is an attack on all of our museums and our efforts to share the diverse cultures that continue to shape Alaska.

Is Anchorage a safe place for the Jewish people today? In addition to the attacks on the Jewish Museum of Alaska, residents used the yellow Star of David for political theater and informed the Jewish community that they should feel honored by the act. Honored that a deeply personal symbol for the Jewish community – one that was used to separate and mark Jews for transport to concentration camps – has been taken and used by people who have no history of persecution violent on the scale of the Holocaust.

All of these events – the casual use of such an emotionally charged symbol, the callous rejection of the Jewish trauma and experience, and the heinous attacks on the museum – are all elements of anti-Semitism. When any of these events are ignored and normalized, it paves the way for an escalation in the frequency and violence of anti-Semitic attacks in the city and state.

The Alaskans say they are looking out for each other and helping their fellow Alaskans. The Alaskan Jewish community needs our help right now. It is up to all of us to prevent further anti-Semitic attacks. At a minimum, we must not use or condone the use of Holocaust symbols in any way. And we need to make sure that the recent anti-Semitic attacks on the Alaskan Jewish Museum are fully investigated. If you know anything about vandalism at the Jewish Museum of Alaska, help us catch the mugger by calling the tips at 3-1-1.

The Alaska Museums stand in solidarity with the Alaska Jewish Museum and the Alaskan Jewish community as a whole. Will you be with us?

Dixie Clough is the executive director of Museums Alaska, which represents and supports more than 60 cultural institutions across the state. The following museums and cultural institutions have co-signed this declaration of solidarity: Museums Alaska, Alaska Aviation Museum, Alaska Botanical Garden, Alaska Emerging Museum Professionals Chapter, Alaska Humanities Forum, Alaska Jewish Museum, Alaska State Museum Juneau, Sheldon Jackson Museum, Alaska Musée des veterans, Alpine Historical Society, Alutiiq Museum, American Bald Eagle Foundation, Anchorage Museum, Aunt Claudia’s Dolls, a Museum, Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, CATPAW, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, Chilkat Valley Historical Society, Clausen Memorial Museum, Cordova Historical Museum, ExhibitAK, Fairbanks Children’s Museum, Fairbanks Community / Dog Mushing Museum, Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum, Haines Sheldon Museum, Homer Council on the Arts, Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum, Juneau-Douglas City Museum, Kawerak Katirvik Cultural Center, Ketchikan Museums, Kodiak History Museum, Lithuanian Small Museum and Library, Museum of Alaska Transporta and Industry, Aleutian Museum, Palmer Museum of History and Art, Pioneer Air Museum, Pratt Museum & Park, Preservation Alaska, Resurrection Bay Historical Society, Sealaska Heritage Institute, Talkeetna Historical Society and Museum, Thole Exhibits And Mounts (TEAM), University of Alaska Museum of the North, and Valdez Historical Museum and Archives.

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