16-Year-Old Michigan Girl Dedicates Herself to Mission to Stop Antisemitism
July 11, 2021
Samantha Merecki — a 16-year-old student at L’Anse Creuse High School North, in Macomb, Michigan, near Detroit — is on a mission to stop antisemitism.
Two years ago, Merecki was shocked as she scrolled through Instagram and saw posts revealing the pervasiveness of contemporary antisemitism across America.
“When you think about antisemitism, you think about the 1940s and everything that happened then,” she told The Detroit Jewish News. “It’s crazy to think that hatred is still around.”
Samantha decided to turn her concern into action. She researched organizations involved in fighting antisemitism and chose to get involved with End Jew Hatred, which “welcomed her with open arms,” she said.
End Jew Hatred encouraged her to establish a local chapter, which she did.
Samantha has organized two rallies supporting Jewish culture, and she hopes to develop further initiatives.
Only around 3,400 of Macomb County’s 900,000 residents are Jewish, and there have been several antisemitic incidents there in recent years, including two cases of swastika vandalism.
Samantha noted that while her efforts have mostly been warmly received, she has also encountered hostility and heard antisemitic tropes, particularly during the recent outbreak of Israel-Gaza violence.
She has been called a “child killer” and told she “needs to die,” among other disturbing slurs and rhetoric.
The recent surge of Jew-hatred accompanying the Middle East flare-up proved the clear link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, she pointed out.
“Usually, people who would normally care about Jewish people are the same ones that are replacing the word ‘Jew’ with ‘Zionist,’” she said. “They talk about Jews controlling the media and controlling the banks.”
Samantha believes young people like herself have a key role to play in combating antisemitism, and she has taken to TikTok to teach her peers about Judaism.
“Social media has a huge impact,” she said.
“I’ve been posting more about Judaism and everything that’s beautiful about it, and the comments are just filled with horrible stuff,” she added. “I want to find a way to put a stop to that.”