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May 18, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 18, 2018 PAGE 5.A. By David Gemunder (JNS)--A fundamental red line was crossed. For the first time in our collective memory, radical activists suc- cessfully used anti-Semitism to convince one of America's largest companies to turn its back on an established and respected civil-rights orga- nization. A little history, for perspec- tive. About a century ago, this country suffered from a plague of rampant and nor- malized anti-Semitism. In that context, B'nai Brith--the venerable Jewish social servic- es organization--established two major entities that still thrive today: Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League. As a board member and supporter of Hillel on a local and national level for more than a decade, I'm more than familiar with how anti-Zion- ism and rank anti-Semitism have permeated our colleges and universities, and how difficult it is to be Jewish on most campuses today. This is the first time, though, that I've seen that same vitriol ef- fectively move from the quad to Main Street. As has been widely re- ported, after a shameful racial incident at one of its Philadelphia stores last month, Starbucks established an Advisory Committee to guide racial-bias training for all of its employees. The ADL originally was a member of this committee, along with several other civil-rights organizations. Subsequently, several pro- gressive activists expressed their displeasure with the ADL's inclusion in this ef- fort. Their comments weren't particularly subtle. Tamika Mallory, an organizer of the Women's March and admirer of Louis Farrakhan, tweeted that Starbucks was "NOT serious about doing right by BLACK people!" Why? Mallory clarified: "So you are aware, Starbucks was on a decent track until they enlisted the Anti-Defamation League to build their anti-bias training. The ADL is CON- STANTLY attacking black and brown people. This is a sign that they are tone-deaf and not committed to addressing the concerns of black folks. Be clear about what's happening here!" Cat Brooks, who helped found an outfit called the Anti Police-Terror Project, agreed with Mallory and added her own two cents: "You can't be a piece of anti-bias training when you openly support a racist, oppressive and brutal colonization of Palestine." Now, people surely are entitled to their opinions, no matter how bigoted and repugnant they may be. And certain extremists always have vomited up this type of bile. So why is this so con- cerning? Because this time, corporate America listened; Starbucks unceremoniously removed the ADL from the Advisory Committee. Let's be clear: The ADL has an inclusive mission, and a proud and lengthy history, which unequivo- cally includes defending the rights of people of color. And so does the Jewish commu- nity. Jews helped found the NAACP (another member of the Advisory Committee) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Jews made up a disproportionately high number of Freedom Riders in the 1960s, includ- ing two who were murdered and buried in an earthen dam in Philadelphia, Mis- sissippi. A rabbi marched arm-in-armwith Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the March on Selma. In this context, the injus- tice towards the ADL is es- pecially galling. If Starbucks had dropped the NAACP from its bias training, there would have been a national outcry, followed by massive boycott campaigns. In this case, it's been mostly crickets. That's utterly unacceptable. Were the activists biased and repulsive? Of course. And, despite their recent protestations to the contrary, did Starbucks display rank cowardice in the face of pres- sure from these extremists? Certainly. But that's the small picture. Here's the big one: It is crystal-clear that Ameri- cans need to recognize that anti-Semitism is just as vile as racism, sexism, homopho- bia, and other religious or ethnic persecution. It cannot be tolerated from the right or the left. Those should be obvious statements. That they somehow are not self-evident in our time should anger and concern everyone. How does America turn into Europe for the Jews? Silence in response to crises like this is the first step. We have a stark choice: Either we stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and push back with all of our strength, or we prepare to tell our grandchil- dren what their country was like before we permitted the cancer of mainstream Jew- hatred to spread once again. As Jews, as Americans and as Jewish Americans, we all have a decision to make--and we need to make it right now. David Gemunder is a mem- ber of the Board of Governors of Hillel International. By Dr. Yvette Alt Miller Aish Hatorah Resources J.K. Rowling, French ce- lebrities and German officials are making it clear they stand with the embattled Jewish minorities within their midst. In the past few days, the author J.K. Rowling--along with dozens of other people in Britain, France and Ger- many-have been saying enough is enough in the face of relentless anti-Semitism. Their words, coming amid record-breaking levels of anti-Semitism, are awelcome beacon of moral clarity. Rowling issued a series of Tweets onApri118, 2018, (Ho- locaust Remembrance Day), attacking anti-Semitism and assuring some of her Jewish twitter followers that they weren't alone. Her comments came a day after a searing debate on anti-Semitism in Britain's House of Commons, in which Jewish MPs publicly described years of abuse and insults both members of the public and even from fellow political activists. Posting a screen grab of a person intoning that "Judaism is a religion, not a race" as a way to excuse their anti-Jew- ish attitudes, Rowling noted that "Anti-Semites think this is a clever argument" before retorting "so tell us, do: were atheist Jews exempted from wearing the yellow star?" When that tweet garnered its own anti-Jewish responses, Rowling called them out, rebutting anti-Semitic com- ments and explaining why they are offensive. To a twit- ter follower who complained that rebutting anti-Semitism is "culturally insensitive" to Muslims, Rowling lamented people who "only understand bigotry in terms of 'pick a team'" instead of having empathy and engaging in reasoned debate. When one of her twitter followers complained that Arabs can't ever be called anti-Semites because Arabs are a Semitic people too, Rowling reacted with a verbal eye-roll, attaching a GIF of the actor Hugh Laurie looking comically exasperated. "The 'Arabs are Semitic too' hot takes have arrived" Rowling tweeted, pointing out her interlocutors' bigotry. To the twitter followers who continued to attack her for daring to oppose anti-Semitism, Rowling help- fully sent out a definition of anti-Semitism: a "hostility or prejudice against Jews." Rowling then added a few mes- sages of her own: "Split hairs. Debate etymology Gloss over the abuse of your fellow citizens by attacking another country's government. Would your response to any other form of racism or bigotry be to squirm, deflect or justify?" she asked. When a fan messaged Rowling saying her son had been bullied for being Jewish, Rowling replied "I'm so sorry to hear this. Know that you aren't alone and that a lot of us stand with you. Xx" She had a message for the wider public: "Most UK Jews in my timeline are currently having to field this kind of (anti-Jewish com- ment)," Rowling forcefully explained, "so perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden." This wasn't the first time that Rowling has stood up against anti-Semitism. In 2015, when over a thou- sand British cultural figures penned open letters in a na- tional newspaper excoriating Israel and pledging never to Rowling on page 15A aspora By Naftali Bennett JERUSALEM (JTA)--For decades, world Jewry helped Israel. Organizations gath- ered and sent funds to the feeble, small state; our Air Force and Navy were formed and trained by Jew- ish volunteers from around the globe. As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, we should thank the previous generations while shifting to a new era, one in which we reverse the roles and Israel spends more time and resources helping the Jews of the world. Since its inception, Israel has played two roles: First, it is the country of all of its citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike. Second, it is the nation state for all Jews, citizens or not. The Law of Return, which offers immediate citizenship to any Jew interested in living in Israel, is the best example of this idea. As the Jewish homeland, Israel has always felt a sense of responsibility toward the Jews of the world and has acted, often quietly, to safeguard those in need-- simply because they are Jews. Sadly, recent events in France and Poland highlight the rise of anti-Semitism and the need to maintain such actions. However, the great- est danger facing the Jewish world in the 21st century is disengagement: Millions of Jews, mainly in North America, are drifting away from Judaism and, as a result, from Israel. Israel cannot ig- nore this reality. Acting as the home of the Jews, Israel helped Letters To The Editor We are a diverse community and we welcome your letters and viewpoints. The views and opinions expressed in the opinion pieces and letters published in The Heri- tage are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Heritage Florida Jewish News or its staff. The Heritage reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, content, and accuracy. And respectful of lashon hara, we will not print derogatory statements against any individual. Please limit letters to 250 words. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@ AJC calls on international the discovery of the secret cache of files by Israel last week. The previous administra- tion hoped that by signing a deeply flawed agreement and waiving crippling eco- nomic sanctions, it could bring Iran in from the cold and bring stability to the wider region. The US has now no option but to resort to stronger ac- tion to contain the regime's nuclear ambitions, which have a destabilizing influ- ence on the Middle East and beyond. community to unite behind US TheAmer canJew shCon gress now calls on the inter- Dear Editor: The American Jewish Con- gress applauds President Trump's announcement that the US will abandon the un- desirable Iran nuclear deal. The status quo has clearly and demonstrably failed and Iran has so far refused to commit to renegotiating a bad deal that will allow it to pursue a nuclear program within 15 years. Iran has for too long showed itself to be a bad actor in this process, as demonstrated by national community to unite behind America's lead in a co- ordinated effort to definitively halt Iran's nuclear ambitions and to bring stability to the wider region. Jack Rosen, President American Jewish Congress Jews in physical danger. Now it is time to help those at risk of losing their connection to Judaism and Israel. Not long ago, I told our government that Israel ought to drastically increase its in- vestment in promoting Jewish education and identity, multi- plying the resources allocated to projects like Mosaic United, Birthright or Masa by at least tenfold. This statement--and my continued policy of invest- ing in education for Diaspora communities--caused people to ask why. "Why should our tax monies go to a child in Dallas or Budapest?" I have two answers to this question. The first is a one- word answer coming from my kishkes: because Jews are family, and we need to help our family, whether in Brazil, England or the United States. DryBones We help them because we are all Jewish. The other answer is a far second, but it, too, has its place: Maintaining strong Jewish communities is not only the moral thing to do, it is also a strategic investment by Israel because when you disengage from Judaism, you tend to disengage from Israel. The toughest challenge fac- ing us is the masses of Jews distancing themselves from Judaism and Israel. This distancing has little to do with the disputes between the Diaspora and Israel. The often harsh criticism directed by Diaspora Jews at the Israeli government is being voiced by Jews who are connected and care deeply. Those angry at Israel are those who love Israel and feel they have a stake in the Jewish state. In the United States, how- ever, they are a minority, not the majority. My main concern is the 75 percent of U.S. Jews, or more, who don't care enough to be mad at Israel. To be clear, I wish we could resolve all the dis- agreements between U.S. Jews and the Israeli government, but we have to be realistic. There are serious differences betweenAmerican and Israeli Jews, including the size and significance of non-Orthodox denominations. This, in turn, influences political represen- tation and resulting public policy. So while it is unlikely we will solve all the issues, we must work hard for an open dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding. Despite the massive gaps, I Diaspora on page 15A