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Aytzim Statement Against Anti-Semitic Terrorism

Oct. 29, 2018 — 20 Cheshvan 5779


As advocates for sustainability, we at Aytzim understand that no progress can be made in creating harmony with the planet when there is not harmony between human beings, and that eradicating violence and anti-Semitism in all its forms goes hand-in-hand with eradicating violence to the planet. As Jews and as defenders of both human rights and the Earth, we were horrified this past Shabbat when a white-supremacist terrorist murdered 11 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. But we were not shocked: It unfortunately was the natural outcome of the anti-Semitism and racism that has flourished in this country at the encouragement of the hate-mongering demagogue in the White House. Hateful words lead to hateful actions.


The president needn’t personally murder anyone — although he has bragged that if he did so that he would not lose a single supporter — rather he can murder with his words by inciting others to commit the physical violence. The result is state-sanctioned anti-Semitism.


Anti-Semitic sentiments have been below the American surface, held by real people, and driven by their real hate, prejudice and misguided fears.


“This plague is very protean and very durable and very volatile. It appears in all ages and in practically all societies,” journalist Christopher Hitchens said about anti-Semitism in a 2010 lecture in California. “Just as you think it’s been eradicated, up it pops again, surges. It’s exploded with or without the existence of the state of Israel, with or without Zionism, with or without finance capitalism, for which Jews were blamed, and with or without communism, for which, amazingly, Jews were simultaneously blamed.”


The latest anti-Semitic surge has been particularly virulent — the worst-ever year-over-year recorded increase in the number of anti-Semitic acts in America, according to the Anti-Defamation League. All prodded through the nation’s hater-in-chief. Indeed, the FBI found that hate crimes increased the very day after the presidential election. And as we’ve written previously, “we Jews, Arabs, African Americans, immigrants, transgendered — to name just a few — are all in this together. We are hated baselessly by closed-minded, fearful-but-dangerous modern-day Nazis.”


A year ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, Nazis saluted Hitler outside the doors of the local synagogue. The Nazis shouted, “The Jews will not replace us.” These Nazi marchers included “very fine people,” the president said.


At the time, we wrote that “in a country that Jews have long considered a safe harbor from persecution, anti-Semitism and baseless hatred are reemerging” and that the reemergence of Nazism “is neither an accident nor a coincidence. The president and his administration have created and nurtured a safe space for vitriolic and baseless hatred.”


The president continually has propagated one anti-Semitic trope after another — even in the very week leading to the terrorist attack in Pittsburgh, when the president railed once again against the “globalists,” a long-standing code for Jews among anti-Semites. Globalists, he said, are “not caring about our country so much.” When the president was still a candidate, he even went so far as to release a campaign ad named “Donald Trump’s Argument for America” that featured three Jews — Lloyd Blankfein, George Soros and Janet Yellen — with the narrator labeling them as “those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests” and as those “who don’t have your good in mind.”


Make no mistake: The current administration and its allies are no friends of the Jews or of Israel (or of the Earth, for that matter). And having Jewish family members does not make an anti-Semitic president become a philo-Semite — rather it makes for an anti-Semite with cognitive dissonance.


But what can we do?


We can grieve together. We can pray together. And we can respond together through peaceful action.


Some Jewish organizations are calling for Jews to attend synagogue this coming Shabbat. Doing so can send a powerful message of support for our family in Pittsburgh. Many communities are also holding vigils. It is important to stand together against hatred. And the most effective way of doing so may be voting on Nov. 6 for others who stand against violence and who stand up for the Earth and all its people. Many politicians enable the hate speech flowing from the White House but the power of the vote can help usher in a return to civility.


Let us pray for more peaceful times and let us act to help prove that love can indeed triumph over hate.


And together we can mourn the victims:

Joyce Fienberg

Richard Gottfried

Rose Mallinger

Jerry Rabinowitz

Cecil Rosenthal

David Rosenthal

Bernice Simon

Sylvan Simon

Daniel Stein

Melvin Wax

Irving Younger


May their families be comforted among the mourners of Zion.







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