Atlanta billboards bring awareness to antisemitism increase

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A national antisemitism campaign can’t be missed on some of Atlanta’s busiest streets.

A bright pink billboard towering over Peachtree Road and Bennett Street reads “Can a billboard stop antisemitism? No, but you’re not a billboard.”

Nine similar billboards are slated for installation across metro Atlanta to curb antisemitism. Archie Gottesman with JewBelong developed the concept after noticing a drastic increase in antisemitism.

“It hasn’t been like this in most people’s memory in the history of America,” said Gottesman. “JewBelong hears from a lot of people who say, ‘I just didn’t realize antisemitism is such a problem right now.”

The most recent data from the Anti-Defamation League found antisemitic incidents in Georgia rose 133% in 2021.

Dov Walker with the American Jewish Committee said more than 53% of hate crimes are against Jews, which make up just 2% of the population. A significant number of incidents target young people.

“In the metro area, every district has had an incident of antisemitism over the last 12 months,” said Wilker.

Wilker believes ignorance fuels most antisemitic behavior, which can cause discrimination, vandalism, and violence. Many Jewish schools and synagogues across the metro utilize armed security as more hate crimes are reported nationwide.

Other signs slated for the metro Atlanta area include:

“We’re just 75 years since the gas chambers. So no, a billboard calling out Jew-hate isn’t an overreaction.”

“If Atlanta is too busy to hate, why is there a swastika at my kid’s school?”

Gottesman’s attention-grabbing messaging has also been featured in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. She said success in the Black Lives Matter movement is evidence that messaging can work.