Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Over the past year in particular we have had to deal with numerous issues that have brought opposing viewpoints to the forefront. However, this past Saturday night, anti-Semitism unfortunately reared its ugly head in a way to remind us that such an issue does not discriminate between the more observant and the less observant, between those more concerned about the pandemic and those less concerned and between right of center and left of center.

On Saturda,y February 20, Saturday Night Live co-host Michael Che exclaimed: “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” This statement, which most certainly was not funny in the least bit, was not only categorically false but was also a very dangerous form of anti-Semitism. While it was reprimanded by a few organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, a despicable statement like this needs to and should be condemned universally. As of the date of this letter, neither Mr. Che nor Saturday Night Live nor the National Broadcasting Commission has issued an apology for such a statement that brings back the old anti-Semitic accusations of medieval times.

Frankly, in many situations, an individual like Mr. Che would not only be censured by the public but would even be cancelled. In my opinion, politicians and public figures on both sides of the aisle should have done so by now.

Finally, the fact that Mr. Che made such a vile comment hours after we heard Parshat Zachor was not lost on me. It is a reminder that Amalek exists to this very day and that Amalek does not discriminate in its anti-Semitism. Rather, it is as if Hashem is serving a reminder to all of us that we have a continuous Biblical obligation to combat Amalek and anti-Semitism as a unified Jewish community.

Eric H. Melzer