(June 21, 2019 / JNS) Earlier this month, the New York Police Department reported that hate crimes in New York City surged 68 percent from 2018 to 2019. Of the 184 hate crimes reported, 60 percent of these hate crimes targeted Jews. In New York and all around the country, Jews are under attack. The monsters that come to kill us and draw swastikas on our playgrounds, schools and community centers have a unified approach, but we as Jews don’t have a unified message against anti-Semitism.
That needs to change.
On Sunday, The Jerusalem Post held its 2019 Annual Conference in Manhattan, and one of the first speakers of the day was Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. During his speech, he called on the Jewish Diaspora to unite as one in the fight against anti-Semitism.
“We are one people; I don’t care if you are on the right or on the left, Sephardi or Ashkenazi. If you are Jewish, I want you to be free,” he said, adding that the Jewish people “must step up and act as one,” said Lauder.
I want to take this opportunity to say that I, Bryan E. Leib, fully support Lauder’s call for unity. We must unite as Jewish Americans in the fight against anti-Semitism, the BDS movement and the toxic anti-Israel climate on college campuses around the country.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, an observant Jew or a secular Jew. We must come together as one people! When those with hate in their heart towards Jews walk into a synagogue to murder us, they don’t care about our age, our political beliefs or our religious beliefs. They are coming after us because we are Jews! It’s that simple.
With that said, it should be “that simple” for us as Jewish Americans to unite together with one voice to condemn anti-Semitism. We must come together to fight for our people, our birthright and our future here in America, in Israel and throughout the world.
We must unite together so that the memory of the 6 million Jews we lost in the Holocaust never fades from history. We must act to secure the future in the face of the rising anti-Semitism. With strength and unity, we must act to fight this hatred wherever it rears its ugly head. We must push back against elected officials who think that it’s appropriate to loosely use terms like “concentration camps” and “Never Again.”
We must condemn those who choose to question the dual loyalty of Israeli American and Jewish Americans, but no other heritage in America. Why aren’t Italian Americans, Irish Americans and Chinese Americans accused of having dual loyalty?
We must condemn those who openly advocate for boycotts against the State of Israel. In that same breadth, we should also declare that BDS has failed in its mission to destroy Israel. However, the movement is gaining ground on college campuses around the country.
We must come together with one voice to loudly proclaim anti-Semitism has no place in America. I am proud to personally support the statement from Ronald Lauder and I urge my friends, colleagues, community leaders and elected officials around the country to do the same. It’s imperative that we unite together before it’s too late.
Bryan E. Leib is a program manager for the Israeli-American Council in New York, a member of the Young Friends Board of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and a member of the Jewish National Fund USA Speakers Bureau. The views expressed in this op-ed are his own.