Recently, an afternoon coffee klatch evolved into a spirited discussion of the disturbing resurgence of antisemitism. The University of California Berkeley School of Law had just voted to establish “no Jew zones.” Top law clubs rushed to state that if a person is openly Jewish or identifies as a Zionist, they are not welcome.
The basic question is: What can we do about contemporary antisemitism? This is an antisemitism that includes far-right white supremacists who admire Hitler and a far-left that vilifies us in academia, labels us colonizers and allows members of the U.S. Congress known as “the Squad” to openly defame us. What will it take for Jews and our friends to say “maspik”—enough?
Rather than wait for legacy organizations to act, we decided to join End Jew Hatred, a grassroots movement in which each individual has a responsibility to start a “small fire” and draw attention to the crisis of Jew-hatred. Together with a few of our friends, we formed the Colorado chapter of EJH because we unequivocally believe violating the civil rights of Jews is Jew-hatred and can no longer be tolerated.
We do not use the word “antisemitism” because it is outdated, hijacked by Black Israelites and Arab Palestinian activists. We are calling out the plain and simple truth: Failure to protect the civil rights of Jews anywhere in America is Jew-hatred and it has to end!
In February, we held a community meeting with a speaker from the End Jew Hatred movement, Yuval David. We shared our belief that demeaning Jews must be as taboo as the degradation of any other group in America.
To follow up on that meeting, we joined the April 29 #EndJewHatred Day movement. Along with a proclamation from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, several synagogues in the Denver metro area distributed EJH bracelets and their rabbis included a conversation about Jewish heritage and the rise of Jew-hatred in their sermons.
In the months ahead, we plan to offer community-wide seminars educating Jews of high school age and older how to verbally advocate their position and stand up with pride. We in the EJH Colorado chapter are part of our grassroots movement that is spreading the word that every Jew has the right to feel safe and protected by the same civil rights afforded all other American citizens.
We have a rich history that is woven into the fabric of this great country, starting with the founding fathers. We want to celebrate our success while speaking out against the trampling of our civil rights as Jews. We are not holding fundraisers or lunches. We are asking people to join us with their passion, ideas, energy and commitment as in order to End Jew Hatred in our lifetime.
Andrea Hyatt is co-chair of the Women’s Experience, an arm of the Jewish Experience.
Vicki Trachten-Schwartz is a lifetime volunteer and philanthropist for both Jewish and non-Jewish causes.