Antisemitism is on the Rise. Is the JCRC/AJC Fighting Against It?
You may have already read this Detroit Free Press op-ed by Rabbi Asher Lopatin and Lauren Herrin, executive director and assistant director of our local JCRC/AJC. They are right about a lot of things in this article. Antisemitism is on the rise. It has been for years. The majority of religion-based hate crimes are directed against Jews. That too, has been true for years. According to the FBI's most recent report, a little over 60% of religion-based hate crimes are directed against Jews.
At the end of the article, suggestions are given for fighting antisemitism:
The first step is to report hate crimes. Make the proper authorities — police, FBI and community organizations — aware. This will help not only catch the perpetrator, but also will help keep such incidents from happening in the future by making sure they are properly listed as acts of hate.
Second, specifically regarding acts of hate against Jews and the Jewish community, is to better understand what antisemitism means. JCRC/AJC, along with other organizations across the country and around the world, are working with local, state and national bodies to recognize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism, which includes important illustrations of how antisemitism manifests.
There are other suggestions, but one thing not mentioned is holding all public figures, including politicians accountable when they spout antisemitism. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but I could not find a single condemnation of Rashida Tlaib's antisemitism from Lopatin, or the JCRC/AJC, and she's got quite a history of antisemitic statements and tweets. Not only has our JCRC/AJC been silent, but Rabbi Lopatin also shared a stage with Tlaib in September 2019.
Having said this, it is vital to keep in mind that when we partner on events with a broad group of people who may strongly disagree with us on certain issues, that those programs stick to their rightful goals and not mix in or promote partners’ causes with which we disagree.
"Strongly disagree with us on certain issues," he says. When that "certain issue" is the survival of the Jewish people, it seems to me that we shouldn't make any allowances. Tlaib supports BDS, has spread anti-Jewish blood libels, mourns the "Nakba," has rewritten history to make her ancestors victims of Jews who survived the Holocaust, and more.
By not speaking out against Tlaib, Lopatin, along with our local JCRC/AJC, aren't really engaged in the battle.
Going further, I also looked for JCRC/AJC statements against campus groups like Students for Justice in Palestine. I couldn't find any.
I understand the the JCRC/AJC is intent on building partnerships with other communities, despite our differences. That's fine but some differences cannot be bridged. As Gold Meir said,
"They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don't know of a compromise."
If we are going to fight antisemitism, we must fight all antisemitism. There can be no compromise, because let's face it, historically, the people who wanted us dead didn't know of a compromise either.