July 23, 2021
I must have touched a nerve last week because of the conversations that emerged from the post, along with the emails received, well, it’s fair to say that many have strong feelings about the Jewish community’s “greatest threat”.
What was interesting, and candidly unexpected, was that much of the dialogue was not between whether it was antisemitism or the lack of meaningful Jewish education as the offender. The feedback received emphasized the current trends of antisemitism with a clear focus on the extremes of our political spectrum. One specific question, which left me unable to provide an immediate response was, “Is there a difference between the right-wing extremists’ overt antisemitism and the progressive left-wing covert antisemitism through the BDS movement?”
Well, let me ask you, is there a difference between the following two events that took place this week?
Scenario (a): Matt Heimbach, a self-described radical extremist who played an instrumental role in getting white supremacists to attend Charlottesville’s deadly Unite the Right rally, plans to relaunch his old hate group as soon as this weekend.
In an interview with Newsy, Heimbach says he now supports violence and killings in what he says is a revolution against rich corporate executives, global elites, and even those who have caused global warming.
“These people have names and addresses. Their kids have names and addresses, and the capitalist class, by hook or by crook, has to be liquidated. You know that it’s called class war for a reason. ” Heimbach said. “Any violence the proletariat brings is simply in self-defense.”
To see the full Newsy interview, click HERE.
Scenario (b): Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice-cream company that prides itself on its progressive politics, announced Monday that it is canceling its license with its Israeli affiliate. The move by Ben & Jerry’s, a wholly-owned subsidiary of global consumer-products giant Unilever, amounts to a boycott of Israel. And this triggers a wave of legal and regulatory issues for the Dutch-American parent [company].
Ben & Jerry’s operates in Israel through a licensee, an Israeli company that has been with the brand for 30 years and operates one of its few foreign manufacturing facilities. After a social-media pressure campaign from anti-Israel leftists, the company insisted that the Israeli licensee not sell ice cream in parts of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter, and the West Bank, much of which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and parts of which are under Israeli civil jurisdiction.
Ben & Jerry’s knew this was an offer the licensee had to refuse. Parts of what the company calls “occupied Palestinian territory” Israel (as well as the U.S.) considers sovereign Israeli territory. Israeli law bars boycotts of Israeli citizens, Jewish or Arab, based on their location. So Unilever canceled the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s entirely because it wouldn’t engage in a secondary boycott.
To read the full WSJ article click HERE.
Whether antisemitism is an overt act aimed at any Jew, or whether antisemitism is masked in the cloak of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel, these might be different actions, but they pursue the same result… the annihilation of the Jewish people.
This week, in parshah Vaetchanan, Moses pleads to the nation, “beware and watch yourself diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest these things depart from your heart, all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children and to your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4:9). And again, only a few verses later we read, “And you shall teach them to your [children] and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up” (6:7).
Jews have been discriminated against for centuries, and the discrimination has come from both sides of the spectrum. This is not a new revelation, and it is why we invest community resources into our JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council), with the specific mandate to work with our community law enforcement liaisons to provide San Antonio Jews our needed protection against acts of antisemitism. Yet, our inability to confront antisemitism as a united community is directly related to our inner struggle when we somehow claim that one side’s evil is worse than the other’s.
We are commanded to teach our children and our children’s children for a very specific reason. If we do not teach them that community, family, and the ability to always work together for a common good, even when we might disagree on the “how to do it”, leaves us vulnerable to the squeeze of hate from all sides.
This week, I challenge us all to consider who are our enemies. I believe they are not those who might think differently than us, rather, they are those who do not want us to think at all!
And for those of us with children old enough to understand, please, I implore you to have a conversation with your children and your children’s children about being Jewish. Why is it important to you?
Because without you, our Jewish Federation would not be…
HERE for you.
HERE for our community.
HERE for our Future.