Years of neglect and misguided policies by mainstream Jewish leaders have failed to stem the shocking surge of Jew-hatred in America.
Look around: Practically every Jewish institution now needs significant security. Jews have been 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 U.S. Congress.
The community needs strong leadership to respond effectively. Yet while more than a few have criticized mainstream Jewish leaders, no one that I know of has as yet offered an alternative to their failing policies.
My organization (Americans for Peace and Tolerance) has joined a coalition of six activist groups* to propose such a plan. The plan is co-authored with my partner, Avi Goldwasser, and has important input from a day-long conference this January of New York Jewish activists convened by Rabbi Aryeh Spero. It is to be thought of as a suggested road map, nothing written in stone, but a starting point for discussion to mobilize the community to fight back against the ideological and physical assaults we face.
We believe this “Ten-Point Program” should be shared and discussed with friends, family, and local rabbis. Local Jewish leaders should be urged to have public discussions and debates on how to better respond to the assault on the Jewish community.
Ten-Point Program: Mobilizing the Community to Fight Back
- Declare a state of urgency: Signal the seriousness of the situation by making a public declaration that the Jewish community has been under assault and will no longer tolerate the demonization of Jews which has always resulted in the murder of Jews.
- Increase physical security to protect the community. We need deterrents, as police response is sometimes late and insufficient. We need to change the risk/reward ratio for those who would assault us. These should include increased police presence, neighborhood security patrols, facilitation of legal gun ownership, and holding public officials accountable for indifference or willful inaction to confront Jew-hatred.
- Reprioritize Jewish communal resources. As sanctity of life is the highest Jewish value, allocate more resources for the defense of the Jewish community and less for projects of “social justice.” This will require enlisting local leaders, especially rabbis, to shift their focus from “social justice” to “Jewish lives matter.”
- Educate the community and the public about the nature and sources of Jew-hatred. For too long Jew-hatred has been distorted for political or ideological purposes by attempts to universalize it to the meaningless abstraction of “hate” in general. Hatred is part of human nature and will always exist. Jew-hatred is in large measure based on envy and resentment and the tendency to blame others for the haters’ failures and inadequacies. Jew-hatred has always been aimed at the elimination of Judaism (forced conversion), of Jews (the Final Solution), or of the Jewish State (anti-Zionism). Jew-hatred is promoted by lies and demonization, propelled by class warfare, and now by identity politics.
- Educate the public about our narrative and our struggle to counter Jew-hatred. We need to update the Zionist narrative by including and emphasizing the history of Mizrahi Jews, their oppression and expulsion from Arab countries, and the related history of Islamic Jew-hatred. We cannot let Arab oil money and Marxist ideology dominate our high school and university curriculum about the Middle East conflict.
- Rethink Holocaust education, which is necessary but insufficient, and has become less effective as it has become universalized. Its lessons are not correctly identified. We need to implement mandatory sensitivity-training about Jews in schools, universities, and government organizations as well as in private sector settings. Jews need to be a protected class. We need to launch PR campaigns to promote our narrative.
- Expose and deconstruct the social theories and rhetorical methods that result in the demonization of Jews, especially the post-modern view of the truth, moral relativism, intersectionality, and a “diversity” that excludes Jews. Jew-hatred has always been based on lies. We have to fight the lies and liars, including those who use double standards and hypocrisy as political strategies.
- Expose and counter the threat of importing genocidal Jew-hatred from certain cultures. The vetting of immigrants about their beliefs concerning Jews must be a priority for the community. Political correctness and false historical analogies must not continue to blind us.
- Restructure Jewish education (and make it affordable) with an increased emphasis on Jewish pride, Jewish identity, Torah tradition, and the centrality and importance of Jewish Peoplehood (Israel). Inoculate our young people, who are currently being hijacked by utopian cults and simplistic solutions to the human condition.
- Build alliances based on mutual interests and honest reciprocity, not virtue-signaling. Too often Jewish leaders engage in asymmetrical relationships. Jewish support has not been reciprocated. We need to reach out to alienated, neglected working-class Americans of all races; and build alliances with other victims of the Progressive-Islamist alliance including conservatives, Christians, and especially diaspora Christian communities from Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Sudan.
The Jewish community has enormous talents, and significant resources which have often been used to benefit America and the world. We now need to direct the energy and inventiveness of the community to fight the epidemic of hate that is plaguing our community.
* The Ten-Point Program coalition thus far includes Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), the Conference of Jewish Affairs (CJA), New Hampshire 4 Israel, the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana (JAACI), the Rhode Island Coalition for Israel (RICI), and Boston’s Russian Jewish Community Foundation (RJCF).