What seemed unimaginable to many Jews in the American Diaspora just a few years ago has now become a living reality, and for some a nightmare. Incidents against the Jewish community occur daily. What seemed to happen only in other parts of the world is taking place right here in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
Our collective spirits and our hearts have been hurting. The fight against Jew-hatred, antisemitism, and anti-Zionism — disguised as Jew-hatred — is rampant throughout our world. Every day, we read about another story that seemingly paints the only acceptable type of bigotry as Jew-hatred. Whether this vitriol comes from the left or the right, celebrities, or regular everyday people, it is everywhere.
It is the hatred spewing from the mouths of celebrities and social media influencers that do the most damage. Names like Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid (and the entirety of the Hadid family), Kanye West, and Kyrie Irving have spread falsehoods related to Israel that went largely unchallenged in the mainstream media. Whether you hear the word apartheid, occupation, or atrocities – you never hear the truth about the State of Israel – the only true democracy in the Middle East.
What you don’t hear from these celebrities is how most Arab Israelis live freely within a rich culture of diversity and inclusiveness. This includes Arabs in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), where the Arab coalition was instrumental in the last election in bringing about change after twelve years. The LGBTQ community lives freely as do people of all races in Israel. Women have equal rights and maintain leadership positions in both industry and the military. There is no comparison between Israel and its Arab neighbors where the gay community has been forced into hiding, and women are given little to no rights.
Whether this occurrence resulted from a lack of education or intentional hatred, it’s unacceptable. A few months ago, Whoopi Goldberg said some things that were completely wrong about the Holocaust. She has massive reach with her platform, therefore when she makes a claim, many will perceive it as truth without question. When Kanye, Kyrie, or any elected official like Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar says something against the Jews, it goes unchallenged because Jew hatred is the only form of acceptable hatred. I don’t say this lightly–statistics prove it so.
College campuses are also responsible for perpetuating this bigotry. Professors and administrators are afraid to say anything that would upset the Jew haters. Last month, students at the University of California in Berkeley adopted a resolution forbidding Pro-Israel speakers from appearing on campus, citing safety as the main issue. Jewish speakers cause non-Jews to require safe spaces, but Jews are not afforded the same luxury. Comparably, the University of Southern California allowed a student to be ousted from the USC student government over her pro-Israel views. Furthermore, a teacher at a private all-girls school in Philadelphia was fired for her vile Jew-hatred and the Philadelphia Inquirer told pro-Palestine. Talk about fake news!
What is oftentimes the most upsetting about all this hatred is where it comes from. Bigotry towards the Jews at the helm of other minority communities is incredibly troubling. The black community and the Jewish community should be working together, not against each other, to eradicate hate. These two communities have been oppressed for thousands of years, yet it was the Jews who stood hand in hand with the black community in some of the most troubling of times. It was a Jew, Henry Moskowitz, who founded the NAACP, and it was Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel who stood side by side with Martin Luther King during the March on Selma. MLK was one of the greatest supporters of the Jewish community. During the American Jewish Committee convention in 1958, MLK said, “My people were brought to America in chains. Your people were driven here to escape the chains fashioned for them in Europe. Our unity is born of our common struggle for centuries, not only to rid ourselves of bondage, but to make oppression of any people by others an impossibility.”
This is the type of cooperative spirit that is missing today. Leaders like Louis Farrakhan who have spread lies about the Jews controlling the media and keeping the black community down are unfair and untrue. I can think of no greater good than to see the Jewish and Black communities working together for the betterment of all mankind.
As for Kyrie and Kanye, Whoopi, and any others who post, comment, or share lies– I don’t wish to see them canceled. The only thing we should cancel is ‘cancel culture’ itself. I believe we want and need all these celebrities to understand the impact of their words and how they can be ethical leaders. When one minority group puts down another, they are not lifting their own community. Working together, hand-in-hand, and fighting hatred will be the rising tide lifting all boats.
We cannot continue to ignore this ever-widening ocean of cultural sewage. We can no longer sit back and accept Jew-hatred in any form. We must stand up against those suggesting Israel is an apartheid nation or that Jews are subhuman. The worldwide Jewish community is less than 16 million strong around the world — we are far from the aggressor nor the oppressor.
Some might argue that the Jewish people are the greatest overachievers in history, and that we must stand tall and stand proud, but most importantly, we must learn to stand together to fight Jew-hatred.
Steve Rosenberg is the Principal of the GSD Group (theteamgsd.com) and the author of the soon-to-be-released book “Make Bold Things Happen.”