Standing Up to Antisemitism

 

The United Jewish Federation of Utah is profoundly concerned by the dramatic rise of antisemitism in our country and globally. While those who represent and support the Federation represent diverse Jewish religious practices, political perspectives, and backgrounds, we are united in our determination to combat the rise of antisemitism along with other manifestations of hate, as we believe that the toxic effects of all bigotry and prejudice pose a threat not only to targeted communities like the Jewish people but to all. 

 

Resurgent nationalism, economic displacement, and inequities emboldened radical political movements, aggressive de-legitimization campaigns against Israel and her supporters, and the weaponization of social media all contribute to antisemitism. Accordingly, more people are engaging in antisemitic acts and increasing violence. Antisemitism today may look different than in generations past, but its sting is just as painful.

 

Just as the scourge of antisemitism is evolving, so must our efforts to combat it also evolve. We must become more diligent, more creative, and more resolute. We must remain unified on calling out and fighting antisemitism in all of its forms. This pivotal moment requires a renewed focus, one that begins with reactivating our community in the face of this resurgent historic challenge. 

 

Our list of principles against antisemitism will amplify our community’s voice, inform our strategy, and lead to united action. 

Principles Against Antisemitism

 

Defining Antisemitism

 

  • Antisemitism is a form of prejudice that is directed towards Jews as individuals and as a group. Antisemitism is based on age-old stereotypes and myths that can target Jews as a people, their religious practices and beliefs, or the Jewish State of Israel. Criticism of Israel or of Zionism is antisemitic when it uses anti-Jewish stereotypes or invokes antisemitic symbols and images, denies the Jewish right to self-determination, or holds Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.

 

  • Not everything said or done that is antisemitic is done by someone or something who is antisemitic or bigoted. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone can learn. When those who make antisemitic comments offer sincere contrition and are open to education, there should be acceptance. Continued engagement of habitual antisemitism, however, constitutes complicity.

Condemning Antisemitism

 

  • Antisemitism must always be condemned, loudly, and without exception. The identity of the hater or the hated is not a mitigating factor.

 

  • Antisemitism must be exposed and confronted by our Jewish community. We must address antisemitism through education. We must call out antisemites and recognize the danger they present. We must be vigilant to protect our community from antisemitic violence.

 

  • Antisemitism must be exposed and confronted by allies. The need to battle bigotry from within is no excuse for others to stand idly by. Allies are a strategic and moral force multiplier. Similarly, to have friends, one must be a friend: the Jewish community cannot remain on the sidelines as others are attacked and yet still expect others to come to our defense. Combating bigotry, in all its forms, is a core Jewish value. 

 

  • Those who associate with, defend, or even embrace antisemitism, anti-Semites, or other bigots/bigotry must be condemned and held accountable – without exception. The fight against antisemitism must include those who defend or associate with anti-Semites. 

 

  • We celebrate the rights of free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly enshrined by the Constitution. Yet when the government or other public institutions are obligated by the Constitution to permit antisemitic speech, those same institutions must exercise their own rights to condemn such speech without exception.

Efforts to Delegitimize, Demonize or Subject Israel to Double Standards are Antisemitic

 

  • It is possible to criticize the government of the State of Israel and/or its policies without being antisemitic. It is not possible, however, to question the legitimacy of Israel or its right to exist, without being antisemitic. Support of Israel is not a defense against antisemitic speech or conduct.

 

  • The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel has proven itself to be antisemitic.

 

  • Opposing antisemitism offers no license to delegitimize Israel, and inversely supporting Israel offers no license for Jew-hatred or for condoning or tolerating the antisemitic actions of others. 

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Resources

For Schools and Teachers: Curriculum and Resources 

Institute for Curriculum Services: provides curricula and professional development to social studies educators with the goal of strengthening the quality of K-12 education on Jewish subjects for all. 

Facing History and Ourselves: Engages students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. 

 

Teaching Tolerance: In response to the recent events in Charlottesville, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Tolerance, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Federation of Teachers, and EduColor teamed up to support educators. 

 

ADL: Resources for Educators, Parents & Families on cyber-bullying, No Place for Hate, A Classroom of Difference. Literature, Lessons Plans and Other Resources 

Books, Progams and Projects 

 

“Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism” 

 

No Place for Hate: The goal of No Place for Hate is to inspire a national movement led by students and educators who are committed to using the power of positive peer influence to build inclusive and safe schools in which all students can thrive. 

 

Not in Our Schools: Not In Our School provides training, films, lesson plans and resources that inspire students to take the lead in standing up to bullying and intolerance in their schools. 

 

The Bully Project: The BULLY Project is the social action campaign inspired by the award-winning film BULLY. It has sparked a national movement to stop bullying that is transforming kids’ lives and changing a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action. 

While the Federation has compiled this list of resources for reference, the views and opinions expressed in these publications are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the United Jewish Federation of Utah