An Open Letter

ZOA open letter on the rising scourge of anti-Semitism

Everything possible must be done to repudiate, confront, stop and counteract anti-Semitic attacks, and the media has a responsibility to thoroughly report on and editorialize against them.

Damage and a Jewish community on edge after a shooting at the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., on Dec., 10, 2019. Credit: NBS News.
Damage and a Jewish community on edge after a shooting at the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., on Dec., 10, 2019. Credit: NBS News.
Dr. Kiron Skinner and Morton A. Klein

Zionist Organization of America national president Morton A. Klein and Dr. Kiron Skinner—the first African-American U.S. State Department director of the office of policy planning and research, Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institutions and chaired professor at Carnegie-Mellon University—are joining forces to call on all faith, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, community, academic, media and political leaders to strongly speak out against anti-Jewish violence and hatred.

From every pulpit, platform and media outlet, as well as political leaders, religious leaders, African-American, Muslim, academic and other community leaders need to send forth the message that this hatred and violence against innocent Jewish people is wrong and must stop. Now.

Many Americans are afraid to walk the streets wearing clothing, yarmulkes or Jewish stars and mezuzahs that identify them as Jews. The vast majority of Americans of all colors and creeds are peaceful and law-abiding. But alarmingly, the past months have seen a growing fringe of African-Americans assaulting and even murdering Jews. It is concerning that ADL surveys show that a much greater percentage of African-Americans are anti-Semitic compared to other U.S. citizens.

Hateful anti-Semitic teachings and statements beget hateful actions. The seeds for the deadly and daily violence that we are now seeing may have been planted when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called Jews “members of the synagogues of Satan” and “termites”; and when certain Black Hebrew Israelite groups preached that Jews are “fake” and “white devils”; and when prominent Temple University Professor and Black Muslim Marc Lamont Hill accused Jews of blood libels and called for the elimination of the Jewish state; and when many radical Islamic imams encourage killing Jews in sermons preached in mosques right here in America; and when Muslim activists like Linda Sarsour praise certain Jew-killers and terrorists, and preach against “normalizing” Jews; and when numerous Muslim imams throughout America spew hatred and even violence against Jews; and when anti-Semitic groups like the so-called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) claim that Jews kill babies and call for Jews to be thrown off their campuses; and when Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are not repudiated by Congress and are not removed from every committee on which they serve, despite their outpouring of false accusations and viciousness against the Jewish people.

These and other Jew-haters must be publicly condemned and ostracized.

It is also concerning that ADL polls show that a much greater percentage of Muslims in America are anti-Semitic compared to other groups. We painfully point out that some of these attackers have been reported to be Black Muslims.

When Omar falsely accused Jews of “evil doings,” and Tlaib erased the Jewish state from her congressional map, and AOC incited violence by saying that Palestinians Arabs “have no choice but to riot” against Jews, and none of these haters suffered any consequence for their anti-Semitism, it may have helped set the stage for attacks on Jews.

We also repudiate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for working with and hiring anti-Semitic Israelophobes like Sarsour and Omar.

We dare not allow these public anti-Semites and anti-Semitic groups such as the Nation of Islam, radical Muslim groups, radical African-American groups and white supremacists to legitimize and mainstream and normalize anti-Semitism.

As Dr. Skinner recently retweeted:

“Anti-semitism is on the rise. Even in the U.S. Even in NY! We better start being honest about its root causes and perpetrators, because the unthinkable can happen again.” (retweeting Len Khodorkovsky)

Everything possible must be done to directly repudiate, confront, stop and counteract the anti-Semitic attacks. The media has a responsibility to thoroughly report on and editorialize against these attacks.

Klein and Skinner also calling for leaders to remember and rebuild traditional African-American/Jewish friendship.

The Jewish and African-American communities have much in common. Both communities experienced being enslaved, redlining, longstanding discrimination and terrible torments. Klein was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany and is the child of Holocaust. He testified before Congress’s House Judiciary Committee on Hate Crimes in April, and showed examples of how neo-Nazi websites primarily target blacks and Jews.

We must all continue to rise above our pasts.

It is horrible to now see some African-American and other minorities directing hatred and violence at Jewish people in recent months. We need to remember that we are brothers and sisters. Every leader must send forth the message: Stop the hate, stop the anti-Semitism and stop the attacks. Now.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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