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Diane Gensler
Life Member, Hadassah Baltimore

Why We Need to Keep the Fight Against Antisemitism in the Forefront

Image courtesy of the author who created the cartoon with images from Rawpixel,.com on FreePik.com, DeviantArt.com, and Vexteezy.com.
Artwork provided by the author.

Kudos to CNN for Dana Bash’s special on antisemitism and then the segment from Wolf Blitzer at the U.S.  Holocaust Museum. We can only hope publicities like this will help the fight to eradicate antisemitism and change the minds of Holocaust deniers. Bring antisemitism to the forefront and let people see it for what it really is – baseless, detrimental, blatant hate. Kudos to those who put this issue in the spotlight on national television.

It’s hard to believe that here we are in 2022, and some people have not been educated and continue to believe the propaganda and lies about Jews – or about people of other religions and races for that matter. It’s hard to believe that the same antisemitic incidents continue to occur that were prevalent in the 1960s, 1950s, and before. Just last month, four men wearing black (not the white Ku Klux Klan apparel of the past) hung banners at the University of California, Davis that read “Communism is Jewish” and “The Holocaust is an anti-white lie.” (The Times of Israel, 8/31/22)  Was this a college hazing event? Or was this for real, and white supremacists decided to change the color of their garb? Can they honestly believe this ancient rhetoric?

As I state numerous times in various ways in my book, Forgive Us Our Trespasses: A Memoir of a Jewish Teacher in a Catholic School (Apprentice House Press, 2001), education is key. If these were in fact college students, whether they were pulling a prank, they have probably been through at least 13 years of schooling, maybe more if they are in college, and yet they still have the gall to do this, much less believe it? The same applies if they were adults and not kids. Has our education system really failed us that badly?

Just this morning I submitted a plea through the Hadassah Action Center for support of the congressional resolution” that calls for a minute of silence at every Olympic Games to honor the memory of the victims” of the Munich Massacre. It was 50 years ago that “a Palestinian terrorist group kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli Olympic team members at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.” Why would we not pause for a moment of silence to remember them? We wouldn’t because they were Jewish? Are we afraid of aggravating the antisemites? Are we worried that people who oppose this would boycott the Games? Here is a prime opportunity to bring the issue to the forefront. Let us remind people what hate and destruction can do. Let us mourn as an international community these victims of universal and unrelenting hate. Let’s send the message to the world how wrong these beliefs and actions are. Now is the time to address this on an international level. What could be a better platform for international unity and tolerance than the Olympics?

My service organization, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America issued a statement of support on behalf of this moment of silence.

Let’s keep the fight against antisemitism at the forefront.

About the Author
Diane Gensler is a Life Member of Hadassah Baltimore, a member of Hadassah Writers' Circle, and a lay leader in her synagogue. She is the author of Forgive Us Our Trespasses: A Memoir of a Jewish Teacher in a Catholic School (Apprentice House Press, 2020) and occasionally writes articles for organizations of which she is a member, such as the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland. She is a certified English and special education teacher. In addition to teaching in public and private schools, she developed educational software, tutored online and wrote and managed online curriculum. She is a Maryland Writing Project Teacher Consultant and a mentor. A native Baltimorean and mother of three, she leads the Baltimore Jewish Writers Guild and holds volunteer positions in her children’s schools and activities.
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