Happy Birthday Israel — But Watch Out for the Haters

It’s Israel’s 70th birthday, which is a real cause for celebration. The modern state of Israel, which was re-born out of the ashes of the Holocaust, is a modern-day miracle. I have been to Israel more than 30 times, and every time I go I feel both lucky and immediately at home.

But the times for Jews, like many other minorities, is very risky today. An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was targeted and killed in France. As Israeli Arab, who wore a kippa as an experiment in Berlin to see if it would be safe, was attacked.

Here in the United States, after the Jewish founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, profoundly apologized for a shameful racist incident at one of their stores, they decided to close more than 8,000 stores for a day of sensitivity training. That was the right thing to do. However, Starbucks was then verbally attacked for bringing in the ADL to help with the training. Why? Because some people wrongly think that the ADL’s calling out the anti-Semitism of a few leaders who happen to be African American is an affront to all African Americans. Unbelievable — except that it is all true.

All of this is happening in 2018. And Jews are not alone in facing threats based in bigotry, ignorance and hate.

Hate is hate. And it impacts many groups.

Whether haters are attacking people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or identity, or disability status, we need to take a stand (or roll if you are a wheelchair user).

In Israel when people mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, and remember fallen soldiers from Israel’s many wars, as well as innocent civilians killed in terrorist attacks, and then celebrate independence – the range of emotions is quote a roller coaster ride. But it all reminds us that for bad things to happen, all that needs to take place is for good people to do nothing. And as Theodore Herzl said, “Im tirtzu, ein zo agada” — if you dream it — it can happen. Each of us can make a difference.

I want to thank you for being a friend of humanity.

I thank you for being someone who stands up for what is right.

About the Author
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the President of www.RespectAbility.org, a non profit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. She is also the co-founder/director of the Mizrahi Family Charitable Trust. The views are her own and do not reflect those of any organization.