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A Jewish call to action: 10 ways to fight back

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16.06.2021

Seemingly overnight, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic incidents are being reported near and far. Many American Jews, who not so long ago thought these were threats faced by Jews elsewhere in the world but not here at home, are suddenly waking up to new realities.

From the halls of Congress to Silicon Valley, from high schools to universities, from Hollywood to labor unions, and from local town boards to globalized social media platforms, this has become a chilling version of Whack-a-Mole, where you don’t know the next source but do know it will rear its head—and with a vengeance.

One overarching question is how to respond. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are ten possibilities:

First, elected officials should be held accountable for how they react – or fail to react – when Israel is maligned, or Zionism is demonized, or Jews are threatened – or, for that matter, when the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism comes up as a proposal for adoption.

Politicians who seek support in every election cycle should understand that these are factors that matter to many of us. They should not be allowed to get away with practiced soundbites or glib phrases when they appear in front of, say, a synagogue, but then take a different stance elsewhere.

Case in point: In the eleven days of fighting last month triggered by Hamas-launched rockets at Israel, many political leaders stepped up to express their support and clear understanding of the story line. But others, including some who purport to be friends of the pro-Israel community, were missing in action or resorting to whispered comments for fear they could otherwise potentially jeopardize their careers. That should be unacceptable.

Second, institutions need to be held accountable. Some schools and colleges support Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus who feel targeted, whether in the classroom or on the quad, while others have betrayed the trust of those students.

This is not about asking our institutions to become full-throated supporters of a particular political stance, but rather ensuring that their environments do not become poisoned by hatred, bigotry, intimidation, bullying, or ostracism. Jewish and pro-Israel students have the right to feel safe, protected, free to express their views, and take pride in their identity, no less than any others.

If those institutions fail, then they, too, need to be held to account by trustees, alumni, parents, prospective parents, and others.

Third, show Jewish pride. This is no time for American Jews to become Marrano Jews. We have not experienced the........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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