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5 Ways to Stop the Spread of Anti-Semitism

By Rabbi Evan / March 6, 2019
antisemitism

Today the US Congress plans to pass a resolution condemning antisemitism.

The immediate imputes for the resolution are the remarks by Representative Ilan Omar. She said American Jews support Israel because they are more loyal to Israel than America.

The resolution also comes in the wake of a tremendous rise in antisemitic incidents in the United States. Jews are the #1 victim of hate crimes in America. This truth shocked me when I saw it, and that’s why I wrote First the Jews. 

But I confess: the book is not enough. And a resolution is not enough. In fact, a resolution may cause more harm than good if we think it solves the problem. Words are meaningless when not accompanied by concrete actions. 

So what can we do? This is the question I’ve been asked more frequently than any other as I appeared on radio and TV programs for the release of the book. Here’s the answer: 

1.Challenge the Far Left and Far Right: Antisemitism used to be predictable. It came form David Duke, white supremacists, the Klu Klux Clan. It still does.

But today it also comes more from the Far Left. These activists around the world see Israel as an oppressive country and Jews and Christians who support Israel as complicit in racism.

Instead of seeing the Jewish state as a nation surrounded by hostile countries bent on its destruction, they see Israel as a dark, manipulative force, and describe its American supporters as dangerous enablers. We need to call them out and denounce this hatred clearly and unequivocally. 

2.Educate others: Many Americans know little about antisemitism, in part because it has never been a major threat in America.

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I rarely experienced it. Neither did my friends. Its resurgence demands we educate ourselves.

When Ilan Omar said Jewish money controls the American Congress, she was drawing from a history going back 1000 years in which Jews were seen as controlling through the world through secret banks.  

When she said Israel hypnotizes the world, drawing on a tradition that Jews have devilish powers. I talk about these stereotypes in chapters seven and eight of First The Jews.  

3. Share in the struggles of other minorities: I called the book First the Jews because when a culture targets Jews, they always target other minorities as well. Jews are always the first target of hate, but never the last.

Those who care about racism should also care about antisemitism. Those committed to fighting Islamaphobia also need to recognize the reality of antisemitism.

Those who care about the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and China also need to recognize the plight of minorit Jews.  

4. Restate our core values: The vast majority of Americans support Israel because we see Israel as sharing our values. Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East. All of its citizens—including Arabs and Druze—can vote and enjoy equal protection under the law. It has a system of checks and balances.

100 years ago, Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice in America, said patriotic Americans support the Jewish state. Americans support Israel because we are proud of who we are.  That remains true. 

5. Work together: A patient cannot heal himself. We need a team of doctors, nurses, and caregivers.

Jews cannot stop antisemitism. All people of faith and good conscience need to work together in stopping it. And we can do so successfully!

After the murder of eight Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, my phone did not stop ringing with calls of solidarity. And people did not just call. They showed up. That Friday evening, as the Jewish Sabbath began, the sanctuary at my synagogue filled with clergy from surrounding churches.

I recognized we are not alone because we have each other. And we have a God who calls on us to bring healing and hope to our world by combatting the world’s oldest and most pernicious hatred.

What Do You Think We Can Do to Stop Anti-Semitism?

About Rabbi Evan

I show the way Jewish wisdom make our lives richer and happier. In particular, I help Jews appreciate their heritage and Christians uncover the Jewish roots of their faith. Get my FREE Jewish holidays cheat sheet by clicking here.

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