Meital Stavinsky

Antisemitism and the Voiceless

Source: OpenClipart-Vectors - Pixabay
Source: OpenClipart-Vectors - Pixabay

Like all of us, I have been struggling since October 7th. How could the incomprehensible, happen to us, again? The atrocities and their aftermath, the beautiful souls with so much life to live and so much good to share have been lost, and the many hostages — tortured, raped, burnt alive, just because they were Jewish. The feeling of living in parallel universes, with two distinctive realities, one in which there are people who worship terrorism; and one in which they condemn it. One in which Jews and Israel are boycotted and antisemitism is glorified; and one in which it is condemned. Finally, I came to realize in both universes, we have all forgotten what it means to be human and fortunate to be living in a society with western values. We’ve forgotten what it means to suffer, then rise from the ashes and promise: never again. Never again for us, and never again for others – those whose stories will rarely make it to your social media feed, those who will not be violently marching on US campuses and streets — the voiceless.

The Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combating Antisemitism launched an advertisement campaign during the Super Bowl featuring Dr. Clarence Jones. Dr. Jones is an American lawyer, a veteran civil rights and anti-racism activist who was the draft speech writer and a close friend of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  During one of the ads, Dr. Jones movingly shared about Dr. King’s visit with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in the Catskills in New York, on the occasion of Rabbi Heschel’s 65th birthday celebration. Dr. Jones recalled that when Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel arrived at the large banquet hall, they were welcomed by a room of 750 rabbis singing in Hebrew “we shall overcome.” The two of them stood in the middle of the room and wept, said Dr. Jones. “If you hear some garbage about antisemitism” Dr. King told Dr. Jones, “I expect you to challenge it and tell this story.”

Ingrained in the Jewish faith and of its core values, is the call to help others who are less fortunate. The root of the word “philanthropic giving” in Hebrew — “tzedakah,” is “Tzedek,” which means “justice.” The moral responsibility of “Tikkun Olam” — repairing the world and making it a better place for all – is, for many, a cornerstone of their Jewish identity. It is no wonder that the Jewish community fought for equal rights for the black community in the US. It is no wonder that Israel is the first to send rescue missions anywhere in the world after a natural disaster. It is no wonder that Israeli technologies are making this world safer, healthier, with abundance of food and water, every day, for all — including those who call for its destruction. However, have we done enough to stand in defense of the voiceless?

The Holocaust, the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators took place between 1933 and 1945. In the decades that passed, we have forgotten. On October 7th, we were brutally reminded. As Jews, and as Israelis, we ought to remind the world and regain our leadership role as the voice of those who are experiencing injustice. Unlike the bogus genocide claims of South Africa against Israel, oppressing regimes are committing crimes against the voiceless, violating women’s and minorities’ rights all across the globe. When international organizations are silent amid these crimes, and appoint envoys of countries, such as Iran, to chair human rights committees, let us make our voices heard and be the ones who fill up that void.

About the Author
Meital Stavinsky is a Miami and Washington D.C. attorney, member of Holland & Knight's Public Policy & Regulation Group and Co-Chair of the firm's Israel Practice. Meital focuses her practice on business, public policy and regulation, with a particular emphasis on Israeli emerging and advanced technologies companies. Meital assists Israeli companies seeking to enter the U.S. market and expand their operations in the United States. In her work with innovative companies, Meital advises advanced technologies companies that provide a beneficial social or environmental impact in the areas of innovative AgriFoodTech, advanced manufacturing and clean technology. In addition, Meital has worked on a wide range of U.S. congressional and federal legislative matters. She has experience with various federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Meital provides strategic and policy advice to technology clients. She has helped her clients impact agriculture-related legislation, including in connection with among others, the Farm Bill and the U.S. Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
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