When #EndJewHatred as a movement was launched a little over a year ago, I was asked to be part of it. And as a non-Jew, I take pride in this—a LOT.
Since then, many things have happened with and within the movement.
We had achieved a lot, and I think we could have done better in many other aspects. But there is one thing I am personally struggling with – and as I am shifting into a new role as a grassroots community leader – I am going to share that struggle with you.
Ever since I entered this space – the Jewish, Israel-related one – and lost my virginity to it, believing it’s all a beautiful and united fight, I am struggling to accept how many Jewish communities, organizations, and influencers are competing with each other. Competing instead of uniting. Rabbis suing each other instead of setting an example.
Don’t get me wrong, it is obviously not all wrong, far from it. But one of the greatest hindering factors is most definitely the lack of unity. Many are preoccupied with their branding and impeccable online presence but … but antisemitism and Jew-hatred are on the rise, at a pace that American Jewry has not had to face. Ever.
So while we have all the good intentions (subjective), somehow, the battle – the real one – remains unresolved. Jews, whether from Israel, or throughout Europe to the USA, are harassed, discriminated against, and killed. So it puzzles me… when the idea of a movement was coined, I felt yes, maybe this is the solution. A movement, the first one for the Jewish people and their civil rights.
And then we started to work. And I started to question if we had invented the solution. A movement, in my reading, should be the answer to unity. No matter who you are, no matter your political or sexual orientation, no matter your religion, race, culture… if you believed that Jew-hatred is wrong and must have consequences, you would proudly march with a sign that says #EndJewHatred.
If you believed that antisemitism must be tackled with better tools, you would proudly wear your T-shirt with a sign that says #EndJewHatred.
To a certain extent, I (we) was (were) right. But… I have never thought that, as a movement, we would be looked at as a competing entity.
Somehow the notion of a movement – as opposed to an organization – does not go through the current wall. And that wall might be the pure fact that there was never such a movement for the Jewish people.
Jewish communities never marched as thousands demanding the fundamental right to safety or equality in a sense not to be fired if one wants to keep Shabbat. The Blacks did, the women of the past did…Okay, there was one such march a couple of years ago. But since then, nothing, and the danger is just becoming more apparent by the day.
So my challenge and where I am looking for your input is: how can the concept of a movement be better understood? How can I (we) make Jewish leaders and organizations understand that if and when we initiate a campaign, we do not care for logos and branding; what we want are results. We do not compete – we unite, we augment, we amplify.
#EndJewHatred is a term, a concept, a philosophy, an ideology. Therefore, whoever wants to fight against Jew-hatred could be part of the XYZ organization and still, without a blink, be part of any action that uses the push from #EndJewHatred.
I know most of us dislike the BLM comparison – but don’t be fooled; they did not just grow out of nothing overnight when the George Floyd situation occurred. No, they had been building a grassroots movement for years, so when they found a casus belli, they had their army of people ready and skilled to demand what their community needed (for better and for worse).
Regardless of the organization, political affiliations, race or gender, people, until today, proudly wear the BLM merch. Every second shop in NYC displays the BLM sign (along with End Asian Hatred).
So why cannot we demand them to put out an #EndJewHatred sign when according to recent NYPD records, “after a pandemic lull, antisemitic hate crimes in New York City are at historic highs.” I am going to keep looking for a solution because this has become very personal to me – seeing how BDS and the other side can mobilize within seconds, but when a Jew is killed, we are loud online, but nothing else happens.
I am no freier, and neither are the players behind #EndJewHatred.
So I have hope and a vision, and we better succeed. If you have your 2 cents to share, or if you want to help us reach your town with a training program, feel free to contact me at [email protected]