Reprinted from the Algemeiner.
On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, in a premeditated attack, two shooters opened fire inside a kosher deli in Jersey City, New Jersey and murdered four people. The killers included a former member of a notoriously antisemitic group and, reportedly, a follower of Louis Farrakhan.
It’s becoming obvious to most Jews that we are living in a state of siege. Practically every Jewish institution in America now needs significant security. College campuses have become hostile territory for Jewish students. Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Jersey City, beaten on the streets of Brooklyn, bullied and harassed in the universities, defamed by The New York Times and CNN, and now maligned in the US Congress.
There are many reasons for the current situation. Many are not within our control, but one thing truly ought to be: Jewish leadership.
The abolitionist leader Fredrick Douglass understood the consequences of failed leadership. He wrote: “Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact … measure of the injustice and wrong … which will be imposed upon them.”
It’s hard to ignore the simple fact that Jewish leaders have failed to stop or even slow down the accelerating epidemic of Jew-hatred in America. Good intentions and doing their “best” is not good enough. It’s irrational to continue with the current policies and leaders and expect different results.
Part of the reason for their failure is that many mainstream Jewish leaders, with a few exceptions, most significantly Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), have failed to fully understand the new threats we face. Like failed generals fighting the last war, they focused on Nazis and the political right — and ignored the changed battlefield for as long as they could. They deliberately, out of political consideration, minimized the assaults coming from “progressives” and Islamists.
Recently, there has been some grudging acknowledgement of the not-so-new dangers, but there is little reason to hope that our leaders will significantly shift their focus and reallocate resources to deal with these politically inconvenient threats.
Many mainstream Jewish leaders seem ideologically incapable of internalizing the Left’s betrayal of the Jews. They refuse to acknowledge the political and social consequences of the mass influx of Muslim immigrants — who have grown up steeped in anti-democratic and antisemitic beliefs — into Western societies. They do so even when they know that this influx threatens to force the Jews out of Europe. They fail to understand how promoting tolerance of the intolerant may be lethal.
Mainstream Jewish leaders have also tended to ignore the ugly ideological assaults on Jews and Israel by prominent African-American leaders — with the exception of Louis Farrakhan, who is too obviously and publicly toxic to disregard — assaults which have led to predictable escalating physical attacks on Jews by young blacks. Only now, when it is no longer possible to ignore these repeated brutal attacks on New York Jews, have groups like the Anti-Defamation League begun to stir.
The deteriorating Jewish condition in America must be addressed immediately as an existential threat and the single most important priority for our community. We are under siege; we are in a state of emergency.
To be clear: we are referring to establishment national Jewish organizations, not to the many brave and dedicated smaller Jewish groups who fight BDS on campus, and anti-Israel bias in the media, K-12 curricula, and liberal churches. Indeed, most of these start-up groups were formed as a direct result of the decades-long failure of the ADL, the Federations, and the JCRCs to fight what is now recognized as “the new antisemitism.”
The Jewish community cannot prevail against these multiple and mounting assaults without strong national leadership.
There is a need for an honest self-assessment by Jewish leaders. They need to understand and recognize their responsibility for the failures noted below:
- Failing to mobilize and prioritize communal resources to protect the community both from physical and ideological assaults;
- Ignoring the fast-growing Jew-hatred promoted by “progressives” in our schools, our media, and politics;
- Remaining silent in the face of the genocidal teachings of Islamists in mosques and Islamic community centers;
- Refusing to deal forthrightly with the explosion of Jew-hatred by certain groups within the African American community, especially those in leadership positions in Congress and academia;
- Ignoring the failure of Jewish education that has resulted in the formation of antisemitic and anti-Israel Jewish organizations, cult-like groups preying on naïve, vulnerable, and ill-informed Jewish youth, by offering them secular identities and virtue signaling platforms as “Social Justice Warriors”;
- Failing abysmally to condemn Jews who are clearly trying to undermine Israel;
- Failing to effectively address Jew-hatred from “liberal” mainline Protestant churches;
- Mostly ignoring the hostile environment for Jews on college campuses, and the growing hostility in K-12 education funded with billions of dollars by the antisemitic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar;
- Suppressing, marginalizing, and even attacking dissenting voices within our own community;
- Abandoning their fiduciary responsibilities by compromising the needs of our community for the sake of progressive politics.
Sadly, the failure of establishment Jewish leadership is not a new story: during World War II, many American Jewish leaders were cowards — more concerned with a potential backlash of antisemitism in America than with the fate of their fellow Jews in Europe. Today, still cowering, they fear exclusion from the progressive community. Then, they abandoned the Jews of Europe; now the Jews of Brooklyn, America, and Israel.
The biggest Jewish defense agency, the ADL, is the biggest failure. Their mission has been universalized: it changed from fighting antisemitism to fighting “all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion,” as if the Jewish community has the resources to do that, as if the community is secure and protected.
In too many instances, the ADL has failed to protect Jews. They seem more dedicated to protecting politically correct progressive causes and leaders. They are conflicted when Jew-hatred comes from progressive ideologues like themselves or certain “protected” minorities. The ADL has become a fraud.
The Jewish community deserves better. We need strong, proud and courageous Jewish leaders who are not ideologically conflicted or morally confused, and who are unafraid to fight courageously. ADL’s leadership must be replaced.
Today, we are calling on establishment Jewish leaders, including Federation and JCRC leaders as well as rabbis to examine their failure to effectively respond to the hostility towards Jews in America. Then, consistent with the highest Jewish values, they should seek forgiveness and resign.
Only with proud, brave, and competent leadership, can we hope for a secure Jewish future.
Avi Goldwasser is the co-founder of Americans for Peace and Tolerance and The David Project. He is the executive producers of several documentaries including Hate Spaces, The J Street Challenge, and The Forgotten Refugees.
(Photo: Aish.com / YouTube)
Despite advances in modern medicine, China is setting up roadblocks to cope with an outbreak of an ancient plague that once wiped out one-third of the world’s population and may have been one of the plagues that God used to strike Egypt.
Chinese officials installed temperature scanners at airports and checkpoints on main roads in an attempt to stop the spread of Bubonic plague as a fourth case was discovered in less than three weeks. A program to exterminate rats and fleas, which carry the disease, was also launched in Inner Mongolia where the disease seems to be originating.
Demonstrators gather in solidarity with anti-regime protests in Iran outside the Iranian Embassy in Helsinki, Finland. Photo: Reuters / Lehtikuva / Heikki Saukkomaa.
Four human rights lawyers currently imprisoned by the Iranian regime have been awarded with the annual prize of Europe’s most prestigious lawyers’ association.
The Iranian lawyers received the 2019 Human Rights Award from The Council of Bars and Law Societies Of Europe (CCBE) — a body that represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries and through them more than 1 million European lawyers.
The University of Bristol campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Bristol in England has adopted “in full” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, the school’s Epigram independent student newspaper reported on Monday.
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Bristol’s Jewish Society (J-Soc) welcomed the move, saying, “The University of Bristol has not been free of antisemitic incidents and the adoption of this definition is an important first step in helping the university tackle anti-Jewish racism. We now expect the university to use this definition in outstanding disciplinary cases.”
Pope Francis Meets Thailand’s Buddhist Patriarch in Golden Temple (screenshot)
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During the meeting, the Pope gave the Buddhist Patriarch the Declaration on Human Brotherhood. The Declaration s a joint statement signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, last February in Abu Dhabi. The Pope met with the Imam last month to reinforce the Declaration.
An Israeli company says it is using space travel technology to help solve one of the most pressing problems down on Earth — the reliance on diesel fuel, a major source of pollution.
Israeli startup GenCell has developed an electric generator based on a hydrogen-energy technology used to power some of the most-famous space missions in history.
The verse (Deuteronomy 6:4) Shema Yisrael – “Hear Oh Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is One” – is understood to (in Wikipedia’s words) “encapsulate the monotheistic essence of Judaism.” It’s understood to be a declaration not only there is one and only one God, but also that God’s oneness is all-inclusive. God includes every particle of existence is within Him. God is not just ruling over the world. God encompasses the world. Time and space and all of us are within God. Nothing stands outside of God’s Oneness, and God encompasses all existence equally
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On the left side of the screen on Tuesday, 15,000 Israelis gathered Tuesday evening outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to demand legal justice for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the face of what they view as an anti-democratic usurpation of political power by Israel’s legal fraternity.
It hard to believe that two weeks ago, Israel was on the brink of war. With the Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing nearly 500 missiles from Gaza into Israel within a 48-hour period, even Tel Aviv was put on alert and certain train routes were canceled. My mind immediately raced to a Christian group I was going to host for Shabbat in Jerusalem Israel – Pastor Leroy Armstrong of Proclaiming the Word Ministries.
Turkey’s little remarked on but ongoing mistreatment of historic churches is increasingly reflective of that nation’s growing sense of Islamic supremacism.
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Sorek was the grandson of a Rabbi who survived the Holocaust, and was universally described as a kind, gentle soul. His funeral was interrupted by Palestinians shooting off fireworks celebrating his murder.
Two terrorists, including one affiliated with Hamas were arrested for the murder. And at the time, Hamas said in a statement, “We salute the hero fighters, sons of our people, who carried out the heroic operation which killed a soldier of the occupation army,” Hamas said in a statement. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad also hailed the killing as “heroic and bold.”