We have no choice. It’s time for our diaspora youth to take up the gauntlet
Let’s stop pussyfooting with terminology and call a spade a spade. It is time for ordinary diaspora Jews everywhere to raise their voices and cease being on the sidelines expecting others to do the work for them. Seven million diaspora Jews can and must make a difference. The clock is ticking.
During the past seventeen years of writing, I have done my best to live up to a personal mission statement that consists simply of two sentences. “To foster democratic participation for the achievement of peace and security between Jews and non-Jews by the free flow of information and knowledge, and to advance understanding, acceptance and solidarity between all people.” And secondly, “To reject intolerance, antisemitism/virulent Judeophobia, hate, Islamophobia, ethnocentric violence and conflict through dialogue and negotiation among individuals.”
Nelson Mandela in his book Long Walk to Freedom, said: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Sadly, we no longer live in Nelson Mandela’s world, a world where hate and love can be used with such simplicity in the same sentence.
Regrettably, over the past seventeen years and now especially during the past month, I have seen a diminishing amount of love and in its place more diatribe than I ever imagined possible.
Let’s stop pussyfooting with terminology and call a spade a spade.
Over the years I have seen the hate mongers of Holocaust falsehood, denial, bigotry, and antisemitism, Iran’s mullahs, Hamas, the deluded splenetic terrorist psychopaths of the Gaza Strip and their international friends flourish, as it were, living in a shrink-wrapped container that helps to extend its life that would otherwise spoil too rapidly. I say to them, you have all gleefully transcended into the universal world of a sadistic society where you will be sent to Jahannam, on the Day of Judgment for eternal punishment.
Jew hatred is bigger and bolder!
Over the years I have seen groups of bad-tempered small-minded antisemite bigots of this world become more adventurous in their misguided fantasy that we Jews are weak, pathetic individuals, without any backbone.
Over the years I have seen once respected newspapers, such as Britain’s The Guardian, turn their back on striving to present a balanced view of Middle East issues, to be now in the forefront of stoking the fires of antisemitism and hate.
Over the years I have seen NGOs and international rights groups fervently compete for funding by branding themselves as leading authorities on Middle East issues – translate this as Israel apartheid- yet refuse to focus their resources on victims of democide in the region.
“Look, non-Jews do not want to hear our complaints. They want to know our solutions.”
Perhaps we should turn to Frank Luntz. For many years now, this US-based political and business pollster has been telling us that, “the Jewish community is often torn between those urging private pressure and those preferring to express public outrage. Matters are complicated by traditional territoriality among Jewish community groups and occasional splits between the local Jewish community and Israel.” He adds, “It does not matter what you say. What matters is what people hear.”
The hardest lesson for the diaspora Jewish community to grasp is that the best communication is education – and you have to listen before you can teach.
Isn’t communication about giving-taking, asking-answering, sending-receiving? It’s not something we Jews are known to be good at, which must come as quite a surprise to many of us! Yes, I recognize in many countries Jews sit on various inter-faith committees that encourage dialogue and cooperation. And the credible work they are doing in their field is mind-boggling until in many cases the name of Israel is asserted by them!
Our willingness to openly declare our achievements in the fields of arts and letters with non-Jews and at the same time use them instinctively for self-preservation, no longer works for us in today’s society, and our self-glorification that 22 percent of Nobel Prize Winners have been Jewish, may make us feel better, but it does not capture hearts or change minds. A more positive, aspirational approach, “Build bridges, Not boycotts”, is almost always more effective. ”
As Frank Luntz pointed out years ago, “Why do Jews make such lousy communicators? For hundreds of years, we used the great art of language development to entertain as well as educate.”
Yet, to the vast majority of aging diaspora Jews, I say you must understand right now that we need to urgently invest in leaders who are young enough to lead the next generation into battle. Young and articulate leaders, who speak, not the language of Mandela, not my language, not yours, and not, with no disrespect intended, the language of our dear Holocaust survivors, but the international language of today. And in this respect, in the diaspora, it would seem there are far too few young Jewish leaders either being trained to rise to the challenge and take up the gauntlet, or are hindered in doing so by an older generation not willing to give up their control.
“Never again!” for many diaspora Jews today seems to be just a dream fading into obscurity.
As Luntz has said, “Greenpeace does not wait for the next oil spill or seal hunt. The Jewish community should not and cannot wait for the [almost certain] next bombing or boycott.”
The time to organize is now and participate! The clock is ticking.