The international grassroots civil-rights movement #EndJewHatred issued the following statement on Tuesday:
While last week’s announcement at the White House serves as an important acknowledgment of the severity of the crisis of Jew-hatred affecting America, it largely fails to provide any meaningful help at a time when we need action, not mere optimism, to end Jew-hatred. Perhaps we should not have expected more when the Council on American-Islamic Relations was given a seat at the table but we, and most groups actively fighting antisemitism, were not. We are nevertheless disappointed.
From its failure to clearly and unambiguously adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, to repeatedly tying in Islamophobia and other forms of hatred to a strategy explicitly meant to address antisemitism, to its emphasis on taking surveys and teaching about the Holocaust (but not modern forms of antisemitism, such as are set forth in the IHRA definition), the White House seems more interested in putting a band-aide on the problem than in performing the surgery needed to excise the cancer of Jew-hatred in America.
Although the White House strategy aptly understands white supremacist Jew-hatred, it entirely fails to address the Jew-hatred that has become prevalent in our society, rooted in the denial of Jewish indigeneity – and right of self-determination – in our ancestral homeland. “From the river to the sea” is no different than a swastika. Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and there can be no ‘whole of society’ or ‘whole of government’ approach to ending Jew-hatred without acknowledging this simple reality.
True allyship in the fight for social justice for the Jewish people means understanding and addressing our intergenerational trauma on our terms, not imposing the narrative of other struggles onto ours. While some suggestions – like “includ[ing] Jewish studies in ethnic studies and history curricula” are prudent and necessary, the strategy overall falls far short of providing any comprehensive solutions. Sadly, no strategy will succeed unless the full lived experience of the Jewish people is recognized, and this will not happen while our civil rights movement is excluded from meaningful participation.