Decrepit Jewish organizations cannot be counted on in this new environment of anti-Israelism and Jew-hatred.
The Rabbis ask, “Who is wise?” and they answer, “One who sees the future.”
It’s no big deal to see “today.” Sometimes, its downright easy to see the future. The writing is all over the walls, in between the swastikas. A Jewish leader has to see tomorrow.
There’s been a meteoric rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States in recent years. The Anti-Defamation League reported a 58-percent increase in such incidents, between 2016 and 2017, many of them in schools or on college campuses. In France, incidents are up 74 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Whether its the known neo-Nazi types, radical blacks, far Left, BDS, or Islamists, matters not; the solution for Jewish communities in the US, and more generally around the world, is Jewish active self-defense organizations.
On US college campuses (bastions of “freedom of speech” in past generations), violence is becoming the norm. Conservatives generally and pro-Israel activists in particular are regularly shouted down and sometimes physically attacked. Jewish students on campus run scared under threat. Anti-Israelism has become the preferred form of Judeopathy.
Yaakov Hagoel, deputy and interim chairman of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), said recently, “The time has come to raise the issue of anti-Semitism to the top of priorities.”
‘A Difficult and Painful Period’
The WZO has helped to organize more than 60 rallies around the world and raise the issue of anti-Semitism to the top of national priorities. The main event took take place in Jerusalem. Similar events were held around the world: in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Romania, Germany, England, France, USA, Hungary, Italy, Georgia, Turkey, Poland, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Bolivia, Mexico, and more. In some countries, rallies were held in multiple locations.
Hagoel said, “We stand here today and in different locations around the world to say, ‘This is the limit.’ We are in a difficult and painful period that has deteriorated rapidly from the scrawling of caricatures and anti-Semitic graffiti, to the destruction of graves, to the severe physical harm to Jews in a number of countries. We do not have the right or ability to click our tongues and continue on with our lives in parallel. We stand here, specifically in the middle of the day, to say that we will not be silent and won’t continue business as usual. Recent events are no longer merely a warning, but rather a wake-up call for the rest of the world, Jews and non-Jews. I call upon all the leaders of the countries to put the struggle against anti-Semitism at the top of the list of priorities, and to eliminate anti-Semitism from their countries.”
That’s wonderful, Jews should work with friendly non-Jewish allies and the authorities in various countries. BUT Jews shouldn’t rely on them for protection. If we learned little from the 1930s and 1940s, Jews should have at least learned the importance of active self-defense, as permitted to the full extent of the law wherever they reside.
Even if national leaders talk out against anti-Semitism, as President Trump just did, policing in America is usually local. When an incident occurs, will it be investigated thoroughly? Will campus cops protect the Jewish students properly? Some law enforcement officers might be anti-Semites themselves.
Campus Hillels, Chabad centers, Jewish fraternities and all the other Jewish groups aren’t prepared to defend Jewish students on the campuses of today. A new type of organization needs to be created: a “Jewish Honor Guard” that guards and protects the honor of Jews and Israel.
Jewish Pride Education
Would include teaching the love of and defense of fellow Jews. Knowledge about Jewish tradition, culture and the central importance of the land of Israel, must also be taught. Instruction in Jewish and Israeli history, to prepare Jewish students with the information and mindset, to do verbal battle with the haters and, when necessary, properly defend themselves against actual physical violence. That needs to become commonplace on campus.
Jewish Active Self-Defense
Means, offering self-defense classes, gun training, encouraging the purchase of pepper spray, tasers, etc. and training in their proper use. The training and use of guard dogs to protect Jewish organizations on campus. Its time to give chizuk (strength) to Jewish college students and help them navigate the combative campuses of today.
It’s well-known that a shooting or stabbing incident is shortened, and casualties minimized, with the introduction of a second weapon. Israel has seen that often, with even Jewish civilians, stopping Arab shooters, stabbers, and attempted car-rammings.
Don’t ‘Lay Low’
Jewish knowledge means Jewish pride. Jewish self-defense means Jewish security!
Headlines like this scream out, “Hillel International tells Jewish college students to ‘lay low’ during anti-Israel week.” But this mustn’t be allowed to continue.
A student activist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, Phillip Yurchenko responded, “I am most disgusted with the suggestion to stay low-key.”
He continued, “Many Jewish students are worried about anti-Semitism coming to campus, and our support system is advising us not bring more attention to this event.”
In an exchange between Yurchenko and Hillel International campus support director Rebecca Simons, according to Yurchenko, Simons asked what she “could do to be supportive of Jewish students. I said it would be great to see a statement from Hillel International condemning the anti-Semitism on [the] Wake Forest campus. She told me that is complicated because she does not speak for all of Hillel International and because of free speech.”
Can you imagine that? Free speech? Someone from Hillel is worried about protecting Jew haters’ free speech?
Then I almost fell off my chair when I read a recent interview with Michael Siegal, the Jewish Agency’s Chairman of the Board, who emphasized that the Agency does not believe in encouraging people to make aliyah (immigration to Israel). “I don’t think it’s for us to tell anybody where they [should] live, that they ought to make aliyah,” he said.
And regarding anti-Semitism, “its not really our agenda,” although it’s “really high on everybody’s agenda.”
Decrepit organizations on life-support, like the JA and Hillel, can’t be counted on to help the Jews in this new environment of anti-Israelism and Jew hatred – not in self-defense, not in encouraging aliyah, and not on college campuses.
New types of organizations must arise, groups that instill Jewish pride and specifically teach self-defense in what has become a basically hostile environment, particularly on campus.
A “Jewish Honor Guard” must be created to equip Jewish students with the tools to thrive.
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