April 15, 2024
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Outreach Programs, Parlor Meetings and Memos Will Not Stop Today’s Explosion of Antisemitism

It is remarkable how a tiny band of Jews have had such an outsize influence on the world’s population. About half of the world’s religious, ethical, cultural and judicial systems have roots in the Torah, its teachings, and its values. Unfortunately, human nature is so complex that while the Jewish people as a whole have been so influential, the Jews as individuals have been rewarded with death, destruction, torture, ostracizing, genocide, expulsion, slavery and discrimination since the earliest of times.

Terms like Egyption bondage, Roman persecution. crusades, inquisition, pogroms, ghetto, and Holocaust are seared into the Jewish psyche. Each period is exceeded in horror by an even greater atrocity next time. Even today the nightmare specter of Israel surrounded by foes bent on its complete destruction and armed with Iran-supplied nuclear missiles defies rational comprehension.

Embedded in this dark tapestry has been the almost universal reaction of Jews in danger, and that is in the face of overwhelming pressure, the reaction has been to cower in fear, retreat inward, don’t further provoke the goyim, and hope for the best. There is often little else they can do.

Only a very few bright spots in its long history stand out as great victories worthy of note. Two of these are the victory of the Maccabees and the establishment and defense of today’s state of Israel. Both of these are the result of Jews fighting boldly for their existence and not succumbing in the face of overwhelming odds.

When one reads today, in any number of media including the Jewish Link, one sees a return of the age-old widespread practice of antisemitism, which had only been briefly suspended after the horrors of the Holocaust. By any metric, federal, state, city, media reports, and Jewish organization accounts all show an enormous resurgence of classical antisemitism. Unfortunately, the Jewish community’s response has also been classical: to study and document the problem, issue calls for appeals to reason, “educate” the public, and issue more memos — everything but real action. This response has never worked in the past and will not work now.

Whether the figure is 48.6% or 59.8 % or 72.9% is of little consequence. All reports show a great increase and putting in effort to further refine the decimal place serves no useful purpose. Is there some sort of threshold below which antisemitism is acceptable and which must be exceeded before we take any action? All reports show the level today is very high. Let’s accept that fact and move on to taking concrete action.

What is needed is a much greater degree of protest and demonstrations to counter our very determined and organized adversaries who resort to these very measures themselves. Fight fire with fire. This lesson was learned by many of our “minorities” in the past and has actually produced real progress. The Women’s Rights movement, Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and 2000s, gay rights and pride movements, all gained traction through massive demonstrations, not through issuing memos or appeals to reason or trying to build bridges with their implacable enemies.

This is where a new “Jewish Rights” movement may gain some real respect and consideration from our enemies, however grudgingly, but with substantial results. This is where our leadership and members need to put our efforts, not in memos or pronouncements, but in the streets, to start making progress.

Max Wisotsky
Highland Park
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