“Let’s stop pussyfooting with terminology and call a spade a spade. The vile photo above published by a BDS group shows a hatred of all Jews and everything that is decent. It is time for ordinary Jews everywhere to raise their voices and cease being on the sidelines expecting others to do the work for them. 14 million Jews can and must make a difference. The clock is ticking”
For the past twelve years, jewishinfoNews has done its best to live up to its mission statement which consists simply of two sentences. “To foster democratic participation for the achievement of peace and security between Jews and non-Jews by the free flow of information and knowledge, and to advance understanding, acceptance and solidarity between all people.” And secondly, “To reject intolerance, antisemitism/virulent Judeophobia, hate, Islamophobia, ethnocentric violence and conflict through dialogue and negotiation among individuals.”
Nelson Mandela in his book Long Walk to Freedom, said: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Unfortunately, over the past twelve years of publishing jewishinfoNews, and especially over the past two years, I have seen a diminishing amount of love and in its place more diatribe than I ever imagined possible. Sadly, we no longer live in Nelson Mandela’s world, a world where hate and love can be used with such simplicity in the same sentence. And sadly, I’ve started to question the validity of our mission statement.
Over the years I have seen groups of splenetic small-minded antisemite bigots of this world become more adventurous in their misguided fantasy that we Jews are weak, pathetic individuals, without any backbone.
Over the years I have seen once respected newspapers, such as Britain’s The Guardian, turn its back on striving to present a balanced view of Middle East issues, to be now in the forefront of stoking the fires of antisemitism and hate. And it is of no surprise, we find that one of their former journalists, a rabid Israel hater, is currently the British Labour Party’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications under Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition.
Over the years I have seen NGOs and international rights groups fervently compete for funding by branding themselves as leading authorities on Middle East issues – translate this as Israel apartheid- yet refuse to focus their resources on victims of democide in the region.
Which brings me to today. When the former UK and Commonwealth chief rabbi, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks warns of ‘existential threat’ to British Jews by the likes of Corbyn and his followers, we must not only listen but act.
To quote: “Britain’s former chief rabbi has doubled down on his scathing criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, warning that Jewish people are thinking about leaving the United Kingdom because of the ‘existential threat’ of anti-Semitism. Jonathan Sacks told the BBC in an interview broadcast Sunday that for the first time in the 362 years Jews have lived in Britain, many question whether it is safe to raise children there.”
When Stephen Harper the former Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Laureate Lord Trimble jointly publish in Britain’s The Telegraph this past week a blistering attack on the rise of antisemitism across Europe and with particular reference to Jeremy Corbyn, we must not only listen but act.
It was only a few years ago that the American Jewish newspaper, the Algemeiner, published an article about the lead photo featured above. The paper pointed out:
A Facebook page supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Wednesday uploaded a Photoshop image of Nazi concentration camp prisoners holding anti-Israel signs. The picture, posted by a page named “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists”, shows skeletal survivors holding up signs that read “Israel Assassins,” “Break the Silence on Gaza,” “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” and “Stop US Aid to Israel.” A sign in the far back of the image says Gaza is “the world’s biggest concentration camp,” while another poster shows a Palestinian flag along with the words “Free Palestine.” A slogan at the bottom of the offensive image reads, “Whatever happened to ‘Never again?’”
“Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”
Perhaps we should turn to Frank Luntz. For many years now, this US-based political and business pollster has been telling us that, “the Jewish community is often torn between those urging private pressure and those preferring to express public outrage. Matters are complicated by traditional territoriality among Jewish community groups and occasional splits between the local Jewish community and Israel.” He adds, “It does not matter what you say. What matters is what people hear.
“The hardest lesson for the Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach.”
The hardest lesson for the Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach. The reflexive, accusational approach, accusing opponents of antisemitism, may make us feel better, but it does not capture hearts or change minds. A more positive, aspirational approach, “build bridges, not boycotts”, is almost always more effective. Non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”
Yet for the vast majority of Jews, we must understand right now that we need to urgently invest in leaders who are young enough to lead the next generation into battle. Young and articulate leaders, who speak, not the language of Mandela, not my language, and not, with no disrespect intended, the language of our dear Holocaust survivors, but the language of today. And in this respect, there are far too few young Jewish leaders able to rise up to the challenge.
As Luntz has said, “Greenpeace does not wait for the next oil spill or seal hunt. The Jewish community should not and cannot wait for the next bombing or boycott.” The time to organise is now! The clock is ticking.
“Never again!” for many Jews today seems to be just a dream fading into obscurity.
Shanah Tovah Umetukah. May you have a good and sweet year.
Alan Simons is the publisher and editor of jewishinfoNews.