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.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.