Antiracism efforts need to be inclusive of Jews
Jeff Jacoby’s commentary on antisemitism is incisive (“How to speak out against antisemitism,” Ideas, July 11). Jews are currently experiencing a lack of grass-roots solidarity in protest of antisemitism, and the result is increasing normalization and growth of what I would call anti-Jewish racism. As a result, we have seen greater Jewish vulnerability and discrimination and a rise in hate crimes, such as the recent stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski in Brighton.
As Jacoby notes, it is essential for both the left and the right to vigorously and publicly reject anti-Jewish racism in its diverse manifestations, and to acknowledge its disturbing prevalence and depth in contemporary American society. There has been far too much silence and indifference. Many Jews feel increasingly abandoned by the very same individuals and organizations that in other contexts champion equality, freedom, and justice. These principles and antiracism efforts need to be inclusive of Jews.
Complacency is the most dangerous response to antisemitism
Antisemitism is the world’s oldest and most persistent and enduring hatred. It is also one of the deadliest. Yet despite the Holocaust being within living memory, and notwithstanding the recent horrors of the 2017 rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.; the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre; and a surge in attacks on Jews by anti-Israel extremists in American cities and on college campuses, hatred of Jews simply isn’t taken as seriously as other forms of racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry. As with any deadly virus, the most dangerous response to antisemitism is complacency. That must stop immediately.
Before we can take action against a disease, however, we need to be able to diagnose it. The gold standard for identifying contemporary antisemitism is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s full working definition of antisemitism, which can be found at www.holocaustremembrance.com.
Stephen A. Silver
It’s divisive to claim the status of most victimized
As a Jew born during the Holocaust (1942), I must take exception to the suggestion by Jeff Jacoby in his recent column that antisemitism is worse than other hatreds. I think to claim that we are more victimized than other groups is a stretch. Yes, Jews are the main target of anti-religious hate acts, but how many Jews have police killed in the United States in the past years? Are Jews followed around stores when they go in to shop?
I think it is divisive to claim that we are the most victimized and to suggest that the hatred of us is worse than the hate others experience. Let us all unify to fight all hatreds.
We’re strongest allied against bigotry in all its forms
One of the tenets of Judaism is to try to make the world a better place, including welcoming the stranger and fighting hate and bigotry in all its forms. The shape-shifting that Jeff Jacoby describes that is characteristic of antisemitism is hard to battle, but having our neighbors, co-workers, and friends be our allies in this insidious and ancient fight should inspire our communities to fight against not only antisemitism but also racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, ableism, classism, sexism, and bigotry in all its forms. In order to make a more just and kinder society, it is incumbent on all of us to stand up for anyone who might be the object of derision or prejudice from others.