“I don’t think anything like that has ever been done before in the context of modern civil rights movements in the Jewish community,” said Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project.
By Atara Beck, United with Israel
Over 100 people of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds rallied Monday at the University of South California (USC), demanding an end to discrimination against Jews on campus under the banner “EndJewHatred.”
According to its website, #EndJewHatred is “a grassroots movement centering on Jewish liberation from all forms of oppression and discrimination. We are working to eliminate Jew hatred from Western culture through peaceful direct action and education.”
#EndJewHatred “reject[s] all partisan political affiliations and take[s] no positions on issues unrelated to Jew hatred and its eradication.”
The rally, in the heart of Los Angeles, condemned the harassment of Jewish and Zionist students at universities, specifically at USC.
Rose Ritch, student government vice president at USC, resigned last month after facing abuse over her support for Israel.
Protesters also demanded that Rick Caruso, chair of the USC board of trustees, act to end anti-Semitism on campus. Caruso “has supported other ethnic groups and is now being asked to support the Jewish community,” explains The Lawfare Project, which provides legal support to #EndJewishHatred.
“In recent months,” The Lawfare Project continues, “many Jews across the United States have rallied to support racial justice causes. Jews have been at the forefront of campaigns for equality because we know how important it is to secure liberty and justice for all. But none of these campaigns has been a movement that seeks to end unjust discrimination against Jews.”
“I am so proud of everybody who stood up today at the anti-Jewish hatred rally. This is so unique,” said Brooke Goldstein, founder and executive director of The Lawfare Project. “I don’t think anything like that has ever been done before in the context of modern civil rights movements in the Jewish community, which has mobilized a truly grassroots movement and a protest to end Jew hatred. Enough is enough. This is just the beginning.
“The turnout was over 100 people, and this was with short notice, hardly any planning. The outpouring of support, the diversity at the protest. And guess what? It already is starting to work. It shows that when Jews rally and organize and speak with a unifying voice, it will make a difference to end discrimination against our community,” said Goldstein, who recently penned an op-ed in Newsweek calling for a Jewish civil rights movement.
Joshua Washington, director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI), was among several activists who addressed the protest.
“When I hear that Jewish students like Rose Ritch are being bullied by other students into choosing between being a Zionist and being Jewish, I think to myself: Would anyone apply that same pressure to any other ethnic group?
“Would those same students force a Kenyan American to have to choose between being a Kenyan and supporting Kenya’s right to exist? Would those same students force a Brazilian American to denounce Brazil in order to be accepted? Would those same students try and force me, a black American, to get off the shoulders of the great civil rights leaders on which I stand as I speak to you today?
“Absolutely not,” he affirmed. “Why? Because that would be ridiculous. They would be gutting us and ridding us of our identity, the very thing that makes us who we are.”
Washington stressed that Jewish students are being “bullied” to reject Zionism, “their liberation movement, to satisfy anti-Jewish fetishes on campus.”
He encouraged these students to stand strong. “No student, or human being for that matter, should ever have to constantly defend their ethnic identity,” he declared.
“This is just the first of many #EndJewHatred protests,” Goldstein vowed.
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