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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Educational Resources


Cherie R. Brown
Delivered at Hebrew College on February 12, 2003

I want to appreciate Hebrew College for sponsoring this series on anti-Semitism ---and most of all, in a time when diverse opinions are not always welcomed --- for inviting a diverse set of speakers who can address the issue of anti-Semitism in many different ways.

There has been a series of articles on the issue of anti-Semitism---in the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, Commentary, and elsewhere. Some speak of a new, virulent anti-Semitism. A few of these articles make worrisome comparisons between the current historic period and the beginning days of the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany. Others react to these alarmist articles saying this is all too much paranoid thinking. Anti-Semitism is not on the rise they claim. It's only a matter of criticism of the policies of the Israeli government. And criticism of Israel, these writers argue is not the same thing as anti-Semitism. What is true? How can we make sense of these complex issues? Is criticism of Israel an act of anti-Semitism? When is it? When is it not? This evening I want to address two points:

1) Why is it so difficult to have any clarity or common understandings about anti-Semitism.? Why is it hard for so many of us to agree about when anti-Semitism is happening---and when it is not?

2) What is a useful perspective on anti-Semitism that can help us make sense of the current political situation? How can we shed light on events like the U.N. Conference on Racism in Durban, the divest from Israel movement on college campuses, or the various banners and slogans about Israel that are appearing at anti-war and anti-globalization rallies?

Many years ago, I was attending a meeting of Jews and non-Jews in New York to discuss a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At one point in the meeting, I thought that a number of comments that were being made in the meeting were anti-Semitic. At the break---I walked over to the organizer of the meeting to try and get support. He was a longtime political activist and fighter on behalf of many liberation causes and I was sure he would be a good person to talk to. So-- I went up to him and said, Dave, "I just experienced anti-Semitism in that meeting." His response to me was "Oh, Cherie don't say that." He didn't say to me--no, you're wrong. That wasn't anti-Semitism. He didn't even say to me, I disagree. Let me tell you why. He simply said---"Don't say that." And that was the end of the conversation. In those early years I didn't know how to speak up for myself or for Jews and so I did not continue the conversation---but I went home and thought about his comment for days afterwards. Had I gone up to him and said---DaveI experienced racism or sexism in that room--I think, or at least I'd like to think, that he would have listened to me and wanted further details. Why was there no space for even a hearing about my experience of anti-Semitism in the meeting? As I thought about it---it occurred to me that there are no grades of mistreatment when people use the term anti-Semitism. My saying I experienced anti-Semitism in the meeting was heard as if I had just said--I think they are talking about carting Jews off to concentration camps. On other issues of oppression---there are understood grades of mistreatment, if women or People of Color are not being called on in a meeting, for example, someone might say--I just experienced racism or sexism in that meeting--and at least some people might want to know more. But to speak of anti-Semitism in most peoples minds conjures up one thing---images of concentration camps, Hitler, and the Holocaust. And in their minds---if a Holocaust is not happening, then anti-Semitism is not happening. So, there is very little space to actually talk about daily acts of anti-Semitism -- to raise it as an issue--and to have it on people's minds.

Secondly, there is no active or at least visible Gentile movement that I'm aware of in the world to combat anti-Semitism. There are White people working to eliminate their own racism. There are men working to eliminate sexism. There are organizations like PFLAG of allies to gay people working to eliminate gay oppression. But there are no explicit organizations, with the sole purpose of eliminating anti-Jewish oppression. There are Christian-Jewish dialogue groups, and more recently, Muslim-Jewish Dialogue groups that work to further mutual understandings of each other's respective religions. And this is important work---and does contribute to alleviating some of the religious based roots of misunderstandings about Jews. But it is not the same as an explicit group of Gentiles working on identifying and uprooting their own anti-Jewish biases. Without an active movement of Gentiles working to eliminate anti-Semitism---the consciousness raising work that is needed --the work of asking oneself --how might I have been anti-Semitic in this situation just isn't happening on an ongoing basis.

Let me give you an example. In the National Coalition Building Institute, we train leaders around the world to develop programs that teach the skills of prejudice reduction, inter group conflict resolution and coalition building. A colleague that I trained was convening a support group in her community where team leaders meet regularly to confide in one another the places in their lives where they are experiencing mistreatment--and in a group setting --with agreed upon rules of confidentiality--- get support from one another. In one particular meeting---my colleague, a Jewish woman, confided in the group that she was experiencing anti-Semitism in one of the agencies she was working in. She simply wanted her support group members to know about it---and to understand it so they could support her leadership. Within days of the meeting, a member of the support group broke confidentiality, took her complaint of anti-Semitism without her knowledge to a high level manager in the agency, and in spite of three years of excellent work with this organization--my colleague was told that she could no longer work there. The mere mentioning of anti-Semitism so terrified everyone that heard it----there was little chance for sensible dialogue or rational discourse. And this is often what happens to Jews. We are welcomed for our skills and expertise, but then when we raise concerns - we are suddenly expendable.

As I continued to try and make sense of this ---the near impossibility to even raise up the issue of anti-Semitism for discussion----the terror that emerges so quickly when the word is even mentioned outside of a small group of Jews---I began to notice other things.

In the workshops I lead, there is a part of the program where participants are asked to choose a group they belong to where they have personally experienced discrimination. Each group caucuses and prepares a list to read to the whole workshop of the things they never again want people to say, think, or do towards their group. After hearing all the reports, participants are asked what touched them, what was new information, or what were behaviors they might do differently. I have led these workshops with thousands of groups around the world. And rarely does anyone ever mention that they were touched by the caucus report from the Jewish group. At first I thought maybe the reporters from the Jewish group weren't giving powerful enough caucus reports. And so I'd listen more carefully to the reports. And there would be comments like--we don't ever again want to be gassed. We don't ever again want to be killed. And I realized---no--the comments were at least as powerful as the other reports. So---I came to realize that amongst the anti-racism activists that attend our programs, it was as if there was a complete mental shut down about being able to even see Jews as a victimized group (in the laundry list of oppressed groups) that deserved our attention. The anti-Semitism was so internalized that the participants couldn't hear the reports from the Jewish caucus with a genuine ability to remember the comments---or to have strong feelings of empathy with the Jewish group. This shut down about Jewish pain and a difficulty to see Jews as victims deserving our care and recognition has profound implications for our being able to put forward an honest analysis of anti-Semitism that will receive a fair hearing.

And finally, it is difficult to talk about anti-Semitism on a global, political level if we can't first notice it on a daily, personal level. For many people---global, political issues only have meaning when they can relate them first to their own personal lives and struggles. Note how hard it was for many people living in the U.S. to think about terrorism before September 11th---when it became quite personal and close to home. Similarly, the issues of anti-Semitism will have to be seen personally, in people's daily lives first to be able to fully appreciate their relevancy on world issues. And yet, we have moved to a place in our personal dealings with one another in the U.S. where it is not polite for many to think about Jews openly in negative terms. So, instead of thinking about someone they are having difficulty with as -'That Jew' (because that's not after all considered an acceptable thought to have) a person might simply think about the person as that pushy, obnoxious, loud person (and the fact that the person might be a Jew is irrelevant in their mind). One of these days I plan to write a book and the title of the book will be--I'm not anti-Semitic--I just don't like you.

A few years ago several members of a non-profit organization came to me for help with their supervisor. I listened out to their concerns and within 10 minutes---I thought to myself---I bet their supervisor is Jewish. The more they talked about her---how pushy she was, how aggressive, how controlling----all code words that have often been used to describe Jews----I thought she might be Jewish. And I was right. What's important to understand is that not one of the staff was thinking to themselves---my supervisor is Jewish. And that's why I don't get along with her. And yet, their supervisor was Jewish----and their difficulties with her had everything to do with the struggles that I have seen a number of Jews have in workplace settings---a sense of deep isolation, a need to do everything oneself, if it's going to get done well, a difficulty in trusting that others will be there, a difficulty in being relaxed, constantly worrying about daily pending disasters in the office. The blaming of their supervisor for all of the problems in the office would not lead to the problems being solved. Because her staff didn't think about her as a Jewish person, they were also oblivious to her struggles as a Jew. Instead of being able to be her ally and understand the pressures she might be under--or look honestly at their own struggles as well--and see what they also needed to change--they saw their supervisor as the primary source of the problems in the office, and this is an example of anti-Semitism. Without this understanding of anti-Semitism and how it plays out in the daily relationships of Jews and non-Jews---it will be very difficult for many to see anti-Semitism in a world, global context.

So--we can't easily speak of anti-Semitism without people thinking we're talking about carting Jews off to the death camps; there is no active Gentile Movement yet to fight against anti-Semitism; there is a systematic shut down and inability to hear when Jews bring up issues of their own mistreatment and victimization, and there is a difficulty for many to think of those around them as Jews---and then have compassion for their struggles and difficulties as Jews. And we wonder why it's so hard for many to understand what anti-Semitism is---particularly in global, political situations.

And yet despite these difficulties--it is more important than ever that we have a clear definition of what anti-Semitism is that can shed light on many of the current political struggles. I do not believe that there is a New anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism will manifest itself differently in different historic periods---but the dynamics are actually quite the same in each historic period.

For 2000 years, Jews were a minority. They were offered protection by the aristocracy in each country where they lived as long as a number of Jews in those countries served in what has been called "Middle Agent" roles ---as merchants, as money lenders, as tax collectors. In the Middle Ages, these Jews were often called Court Jews. The majority of Jews in those countries were as poor as the rest of the population. When the resentment of the population against the rulers rose to a significant level----Jews were scapegoated, blamed for all of the countries' difficulties and often expelled. The pogroms of Eastern Europe and The Nazi Holocaust were the most egregious examples of this scapegoat mechanism.

In the present historic period, in the United States, Jews are no longer tax collectors. Instead, the work roles many Jews have may include being a teacher, a social worker, a manager, a business person. Because these roles exert some degree of daily control or supervision over the lives of others, particularly People of Color, Jews can become seen as the obstacle to the advancement of other groups who are competing for scarce jobs. Periodic references to Jewish "power and influence" reinforce other oppressed groups resentments of Jews and keep these groups from being able to organize to challenge the real forces of economic exploitation.

I'd like to propose that we cannot understand anti-Semitism unless we understand that it has two parts, operating side by side. Anti-Semitism is the scapegoating of Jews, the blaming of Jews, the singling out of Jews as the primary source of one's difficulties --it can be an individual's difficulties, a country's difficulties, or a region of the world's difficulties. Anytime Jews are singled out and blamed, there is anti-Semitism in operation. Anti-Semitism is never the fault of Jews. At the same time---- Anti-Semitism can lead to a reaction from Jews ---be it an individual Jew or the Jewish leadership of a country, to seek protection and an end to the isolation and scapegoating, believing there is no way to gain safety except to function in an oppressive way. Previously, those who have stood up against the scapegoating of Jews have not always been able to see the oppressive things that Jews are forced to do. And those who have seen the oppressive things Jews are doing have not understood the isolation, the terror, and the ultimate threat of betrayal that underlies these actions. To see Jews primarily as oppressors is anti-Semitic because it misses the very real vulnerability of Jews. But to ignore any of the oppressive things that Jews do will not end anti-Semitism because it actually increases the isolation and vulnerability of Jews from the rest of the world's peoples.

How does this mechanism function in current political situations? Let me start with the United Nations Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa. I was in Durban as a delegate for two organizations. I was part of an eight person delegation with the organization I direct, the National Coalition Building Institute. I was also part of United to End Racism, a fifty person delegation of people from around the world who came to Durban to share tools and practices for ending racism. It was not easy being a Jew in Durban. The Zionism is racism rhetoric drowned out many other important discussions. The important issues about racism kept getting diverted during the week by the fights to enter "Zionism is racism" language into the conference documents. One day, the African Heritage tent had scheduled a press conference about the racism issues facing African Heritage peoples. But the press conference was cancelled because there were huge fights going on about Israel/Palestine and the press were preoccupied.

As a U.S. Jew who was born after the Holocaust, I have been insulated from many of the more negative attitudes about Jews that a portion of the world's peoples still hold. It was painful to have to listen to so much hatred about Jews, to see buttons that read "Hitler didn't do his job." Particularly when these comments came from other anti-racist activists. The singling out of Israel for condemnation in Durban, having Israel be the only country in the world noted in the UN NGO documents for its racism----these were acts of anti-Semitism.

And the United States played a role in increasing this anti-Semitism. Saying that the primary reason that the US was abandoning the conference in Durban was because of the criticisms of Israel--- played into the hands of those that were critical of Israel. In fact, the Bush administration had been lukewarm about the UN Conference in Durban long before the issues of Israel and Palestine became so pronounced. The U.S. did not want to participate in deliberations about the issue of reparations for the descendants of slaves ---particularly if final U.N. documents could open the way for future legal action. But the U.S. conveniently stayed silent on the issue of reparations and instead, hid behind their support of Israel. The U.S. walked out of the conference in Durban, and their walk-out helped to fuel an increase in the anti-Israel rhetoric.

I have spent the past 30 years working in Jewish organizations within the U.S. to seek a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict---one that would take into account the legitimate needs of the Israeli people and the legitimate needs of the Palestinian people. I have often been frustrated with the uncritical support of Israel by many Jews. But it wasn't until I was in Durban that I witnessed how this uncritical support for Israel was actually isolating Jews from other people's movements and making it harder to win people over to a correct policy of unconditional support for Israel's right to exist. When Jews are under heavy attack, we understandably find it very difficult to do the important work of reaching out to allies. But this reaching out to allies is key for ending anti-Semitism. There was a Jewish caucus in Durban with mainstream Jews from around the world that met daily to give each other support. I attended many of the Jewish caucus meetings and I was invited by the leadership of the caucus to speak one day on a panel they had put together on the issue of anti-Semitism. At one point during the week, the Jewish caucus made up T-shirts with a Jewish star and a peace symbol on the front and a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the back--stating that if you are anti-Zionist, you are against Jews. As I wandered from tent to tent in Durban, I ran into a lot of Jewish young people wearing the T-shirts. The attacks on Israel left these young Jews feeling vulnerable. And in their vulnerability, they stayed only with each other, huddled together wearing their t-shirts but unable to reach out and build real friendships with young people from around the world. Members of established Jewish groups that attended the conference in Durban could have played a powerful role over the week in helping to maintain the focus of the conference on ending racism. But they got caught up in the diversionary politics and spent the week in a defensive posture about Israel.

And this is a vivid example of the viscous cycle of anti-Semitism. Israel was singled out for condemnation in the UN documents and blamed as the primary source of the problems in the Israel-Palestine conflict. There was very little understanding of the Middle East conflict, in all its complexity. The real dangers Israelis faced as a result of suicide bombings was never acknowledged. And Jews, understandably feeling scared and isolated in Durban and wanting to defend Israel against attacks, reacted by defending all of the policies of the Israeli government. A number of Jewish leaders told me in private in Durban that they too had numerous criticisms of the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians or the settlement policies---but with all the attacks on Israel---they thought it wasn't safe to share any of these criticisms publicly. And this is the viscous cycle. Israel is attacked. There are no distinctions made in the attacks between the policies of the Israeli government, the Israeli people, and Jews. Jews in turn think the best response is to defend Israel without qualifications. Jewish leaders fear that any public questioning of the policies of the Israeli government will only increase anti-Semitism. And this unqualified defense of Israel in turn increases the attacks on Israel. What if members of the Jewish caucus could have said publicly in Durban----we love Israel. We believe deeply in the right of Israel to exist. Zionism, and building a homeland for Jews in Israel, was an important and legitimate part of the liberation movement of the Jewish people. And because we love Israel----we are also called to speak out against those policies of the Israeli government that are not in the best interests for the long range flourishing of Israel. It is not our fault that we are afraid to speak out publicly against Israeli government policies, particularly when there are such attacks on Israel. But I would like to propose tonight that our finding a way to both speak proudly and openly about our love of Israel----and at the same time to address the oppressive policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people is the best way possible to reduce anti-Semitism. The ending of anti-Semitism will require clear, unequivocal support for Israel, without ever blaming Israel single handedly for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict---and it will require stopping the ways that the settlement policies and the occupation are oppressive to the Palestinian people. Most of us can do one or the other. And to end anti-Semitism---we will need to be able to do both.

With this analysis of anti-Semitism, we have a helpful way to determine when something is or is not an act of anti-Semitism. In each situation----we can ask the question -- are Jews being singled out for condemnation---blamed, or being held to a higher standard than everyone else? If so---this is anti-Semitism.

Let's look first at the divest from Israel movement on college campuses. The strategy to compare the policies of the Israeli government to the former policies of the government of South Africa, under apartheid began during meetings leading up to the UN Conference on Racism in Durban. The movement on college campuses to divest of all companies doing business with Israel, with a particular focus on military contractors was intended to arouse similar sympathies as did the movement for sanctions against South Africa ---which also began on college campuses. Why is Israel being singled out in this campaign? Calling for divestments in all corporations that are involved in weapons production would be far different than calling for divestments only in companies doing business with Israel. The former could be seen as a highly principled effort to end war. The latter is singling out one country, Israel.

Now, let's look at the second issue----the use of inflammatory flags equating Sharon with Hitler at anti-war or anti-globalization rallies. Or the recent use of anti-occupation banners at anti-war and anti-globalization rallies. Are either of these acts of anti-Semitism? Equating Sharon with Hitler---or placing swastikas on top of an Israeli flag--implies that the policies of the Israeli government are so vile, so despicable that they are as bad as Hitler's---a perpetrator of mass extermination and genocide. I believe deeply that many of the current policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people are wrong. I believe deeply that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza needs to end. I believe deeply that a large majority of the settlements need to be disbanded ----and according to recent polls in Israel ---a large majority of settlers living in these settlements would be willing, with adequate compensation to leave the settlements. But is the occupation an attempt at genocide? I don't think so. Is equating Sharon with Hitler an attempt to manipulate people into seeing Israel as the sole perpetrator of violence in the region, also ignoring the role that suicide bombings have on perpetually terrorizing Israelis? And therefore---is equating Sharon with Hitler an act of anti-Semitism? Yes.

But what about the slogans calling for an end to the occupation? Are these also an act of ant-Semitism? I think what's key here is how these are presented. If posters, flyers, banners clearly state--- We love Israel---or we are for Israel as a strong Jewish state----and because we love Israel---we oppose the occupation or the settlement policy---these are not an act of anti-Semitism. In fact---they can serve to decrease anti-Semitism. Why? Because they actively speak out against both ---the blaming of Israel----and the oppressive policies that Israel feels forced into carrying out.

A new organization for American Jews that I have been involved with this year, Brit Tzedek V'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace does just this - it is a pro-Israel group deeply committed to Israel and at the same time, committed to bringing the settlers home and ending the occupation. And Jewish peace groups like Brit Tzedek V'Shalom, because they take such a strong stand for Israel, can help to reduce anti-Semitism.

There was a powerful example of this last week at an international anti-globalization conference attended by 20,000 activists in Porto Alegre, Brazil. A number of groups tried very had to divert the conference with anti-Israel rhetoric, but this time a joint Palestinian and Israeli peace effort triumphed over anti-Israel rhetoric.

The Jewish community of Brazil was deeply worried beforehand that anti-Israel groups would dominate the conference. But instead of acting defensively, as I had witnessed in Durban, they set up proactive activities. They launched a three day seminar "Dialogue for Peace" prior to the conference. The Jewish leadership marched in the anti-globalization rallies. The chief rabbi of Brazil, Henry Sobel, joined dozens of others, wearing t-shirts with the slogan: Two Peoples; Two States. Jewish activists displayed banners - terrorism is genocide of innocents; yes to two states. No to racist hatred of Jews. They sang traditional Jewish songs and a Brazilian samba. And on the last day of the conference, a joint Israeli-Palestinian statement was read by the founder of Peace Now and a member of the Palestinian Parliament at the closing ceremony. Twenty-thousand activists stood and wept and cheered. It was a victory for the Israeli peace camp. Dozens of groups that tried to put out an anti-Israel message failed. And instead - a strong joint Israeli-Palestinian message against terrorism prevailed. Peace efforts like this one are the best antidote we have to anti-Semitic, anti-Israel messages.

As my final point----I propose four specific actions to reduce anti-Semitism:

Action 1: I propose that we set up consciousness raising groups about anti-Semitism everywhere -- just the way we held consciousness raising groups in the early women's movement where we learned that the personal is also political. There is very little understanding of anti-Semitism within many of the people's movements. This lack of understanding makes these movements vulnerable to being manipulated by anti-Jewish or anti-Israel rhetoric. And I think the analysis I have presented tonight, of Jews and Israel--being both oppressed and oppressors---victim and victimizer -- would go a long way to bringing clarity about Jews within these movements. Many years ago, there were a number of important articles written by myself, Letty Pogrebin, and others about anti-Semitism in the Left. There is a need once again to do consciousness raising sessions about anti-Semitism. I propose that we set up consciousness raising groups, first and foremost for Jews, and then for our allies, about anti-Semitism, and the role that anti-Semitism plays in diverting peoples' movements from addressing key issues of worldwide oppression. In these groups---people need to examine the daily acts of anti-Semitism within their own lives---and not just look at the global, political issues. Every Jewish person within the group needs to be asked the question - what has it been like to be a Jew? This week? This month? This year? How have you experienced anti-Semitism today?

Action 2: We need to find a way to make it safe enough for Jews to look at the places we do act in oppressive ways--or we are not going to tackle the whole mechanism of anti-Semitism. As a result of the Holocaust and the attempted genocide of Jews, we are a traumatized people. It has been next to impossible for many Jews to be able to see ourselves both as victims and in the oppressor role with regards to another people. I recently watched an excellent new film by an Israeli film maker---PROMISES--which showed a group of young Palestinian children and young Israeli children being brought together over a two-year trust building period. In the film a number of hard-hitting scenes were shown about the daily life for Palestinians under the Occupation, including being stopped at military checkpoints throughout the occupied territories. As I watched these scenes, I found myself hardly breathing. I wanted to scream, "It can't be this bad. Please don't show this picture of Israel to the world. They will just end up hating the Israeli people!" While my mind knew this was a true picture of Palestinian life under occupation---and also needed to be known--my heart rebelled. I have been working for justice for Palestinians for thirty years, and I could hardly watch these scenes. And these are not the most hard hitting scenes of Palestinian life under occupation. We are going to need to find a way to make it safe enough for Jews to remember how good we are and how good Israel is so that we can take an honest look, not only at the suicide bombings which we need to speak up about -- but also at the oppressive things that Israel does toward the Palestinian people.

Action 3: We need to reach out for Gentile allies who will visibly speak out against anti-Semitism while we agree to speak out on their key issues. One of the things I witnessed in the year leading up to the Conference in Durban was how hard Jewish organizations tried to solicit support from Black organizations on the issues of Israel. But we didn't take up the key issue for the Black community - reparations for descendents of African slaves. It's very hard to ask a group to be our ally on the issue that matters most to us, when we aren't prepared to put ourselves out on the issue at the heart of their agenda. Black-Jewish dialogue programs or sponsoring annual Black-Jewish Seders is not the same as working as an organized Jewish community to defeat racism. We need allies to speak out against anti-Semitism. And in turn, we will need to learn more effective ways to reach back as allies to take on racism.

We also need to be able to notice when there are allies reaching out - so we can remember that we are not alone. This past week I read in Ha'aretz about an example of a large group of Arabs within Israel taking on anti-Semitism. An Arab priest in Israel, Father Emil Shufani, has launched an initiative to show solidarity with Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. A delegation of 300 Arabs and Jews will attend a series of seminars about the Holocaust and then go on a joint visit to Auschwitz. He is convinced that helping Arabs within Israel to understand about the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust is a key part of reaching Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. Father Shufani writes, "We the undersigned, a group of Arab citizens of Israel are concerned about the deterioration of relations between Jews and Arabs in our country. The two peoples will not be able to abandon the path of bloodshed until each understands and internalizes the other's pain and the other's fears."

Action 4: We absolutely need to stop saying that any criticism of Israel or the policies of the Israeli government is anti-Semitic---or that the Jews who do speak out against any of the policies of the Israeli government are self- hating Jews. Instead, let us launch a campaign within the Jewish community to say openly and often----we welcome a diversity of views on what will bring about a resolution to the Israeli -Palestinian conflict. We want to hear from every Jew and every Jewish group that explicitly loves Israel---what do you think is the best way to bring about a peaceful settlement? Dialogue is one of the best parts of Jewish tradition. It is time to reclaim our own tradition -- a tradition of dialogue, arguing and debate. We need to open up the Jewish press in every city to the voices of many different Jews - and to say there are many ways to love Israel. Silencing a diversity of Jewish views on Israel will not end anti-Semitism. Our history is filled with periods where Jews were silent. And the silence did not stop anti-Semitism. It's time to welcome with open arms a wide range of views in our communities.

Anti-Semitism is not new. Yes, it has unique features in this historical period. But it has had unique features in every historical period. There is no need for alarmist messages that only serve to increase fear and keep everyone from thinking clearly. With an accurate understanding of all of the dynamics of anti-Semitism, we can build a strategy for reaching out to allies and together - we can defeat anti-Semitism.

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