Jewish World

What We Can Do

1. Identify the Islamic threat

A great deal of the jihadi agitation is fundamentally linked to hatred of Jews and Israel; the West needs to be honest, acknowledge the threat and take it seriously. “I don’t know if we can stem the tide,” says Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC). “But we could do certain things, beginning with calling it what it is.”

2. Protect Students on Campus

Campus professors are actually teaching that Israel is a “colonial mistake.” Students have to take an active role in defending themselves, utilizing all the tools available. The SWC introduced a new (free) app called “Combat Hate.” Via the app, students can instantly report hate incidents, such as swastikas recently painted on Jewish students’ cars at Ohio University. “We hope to have this tool in the hands of Jewish students around the United States and Canada,” says Rabbi Cooper. “This will give them the opportunity to let us know what is going on in real time and help us get them help.” (See the article “Hate on Campus” in this issue on page 50.)

3. Forge Allies

We need allies among our non-Jewish neighbors and friends around the globe to effectively fight anti-Semitism. Nowadays, we can use social networking platforms to educate other cultures about Judaism and Jewish ethos, and thereby establish warm relationships. People want to know who we are: are we a people? A religion? What are our values? And why do Jews in America even care about this small piece of land in the Middle East? Make an effort to educate others about Judaism and the Jewish people.

4. Build Bridges with Local, National and Foreign Governments and NGOs

Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the SWC, regularly interact with leaders on both sides of the Atlantic in an attempt to engage in positive dialogue and, when necessary, to protest developments that impact negatively on our fellow Jews.

5. Educate Ourselves

Media bias also impacts Jews’ perception of Judaism and Israel. We need to continue educating ourselves and our children about Torah principles, as well as about the 3,500-year history of our people in Israel and the Diaspora. Any hope of influencing others demands a knowledgeable Jewish person and a united Jewish community that can articulate why we are proud of our heritage, our Land and our values.

6. Counter Propaganda

“Take New York Times journalists to task for false reporting. Admonish professors who boycott Israel. Check their publications for plagiarism and if their footnotes are false, publicize this to the heads of universities and colleagues. They’ll think twice before they boycott Israel,” says Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and founder and director of the center’s post-Holocaust and anti-Semitism program.

7. Secure Our Institutions

Determine the security needs of your community and make sure the government and law enforcement agencies are committed to protecting Jewish institutions, schools and synagogues. (See our sidebar “Is Your Synagogue Safe?” on page 44.) Know which resources are being used to ensure the safety of your community—before, and not, God forbid, after the fact.

This article was featured in the Spring 2015 issue of Jewish Action.