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Federations, JCPA depart Combat Antisemitism Movement over video row

The two cited a video which the movement posted about "woke ideology" being at the center of a rise in antisemitism.

A rally in New York City against antisemitism on  Jan. 5, 2020. Credit: Christopher Penler/Shutterstock.
A rally in New York City against antisemitism on Jan. 5, 2020. Credit: Christopher Penler/Shutterstock.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Federations of North America have reportedly distanced themselves from the Combat Antisemitism Movement, a coalition of some 700 organizations that reaches about 4 million people.

The two groups cited a Combat Antisemitism Movement video—which is no longer online, but a copy of which the Forward posted—stating in part that “woke ideology” is a cause of recent antisemitism.

“Although Left-wing antisemitism is not new, we have unfortunately witnessed a recent and concerning rise in antisemitic attitudes and actions from the Left. Why? Because of the emergence and dominion of what many call ‘woke ideology,’ ” per the video.

The video notes that the oppressor versus oppressed binary “often simplifies complex issues as white and bad versus brown and good.”

“This labeling system not only categorizes Jews as ‘oppressors’ but also treats Israel as ‘white’ and Palestinians as ‘brown,’ ” it adds.

Amy Spitalnick, CEO of JCPA, told the Forward that the video “suggested progressivism, and certain progressive communities, are inherently antisemitic.”

Joel Griffith, a Heritage Foundation research fellow, tweeted that the Combat Antisemitism Movement is in the right. “Woke ideology is fanning the flames of the rise of antisemitism on the Left,” he wrote.

Adam Milstein, a philanthropist and co-founder of an eponymous foundation, wrote that the Combat AntiSemitism Movement rightfully asked how an ideology that purportedly calls for diversity, equity and inclusion fans antisemitic flames.

“Antisemitism is an issue on the Left and Right,” he wrote. “No one should have a problem calling that out.” He called the responses from JCPA and Federations “disappointing.”

Neither the Federations nor JCPA appears to be listed on the movement’s website at press time, although they were listed earlier this year, per a website that that archives webpages.

The JCPA loosened its ties to the Federations last December in a major organizational reset in order to free itself to pursue liberal agenda items. The Federations represents more than 350 Jewish communities and raises and distributes more than $1 billion annually.

The Combat Antisemitism Movement’s advisory board includes Natan Sharansky, former Senator Joseph Lieberman, Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon, scholars, clergy and current and former U.K., German, Moroccan, Albanian and Guatemalan officials.

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