When all Jews march together, we shall overcome

New York Jewish liberal organizations are now standing in solidarity with their Orthodox brethren and will march against the hatred behind the rise in antisemitic hate crimes on January 5th. That is the first and crucial step.

by Phyllis Chesler

Has Hanukkah been extended this year? Are we still celebrating a time of miracles? I ask because, to their credit, New York Jewish liberal organizations are finally standing in solidarity with Orthodox and Haredi Jews, the most visible and vulnerable of our brethren who, sporting beards and payes, wearing black hats, yarmulkes, fringes and long frocks; speaking Hebrew and Yiddish; wearing Stars of David, headscarves, and long and sometimes shapeless dresses, have all recently been under the most profound siege. 

The UJA Federation of New York, ADL-NY, AJC-NY, JCRC-NY, and the New York Board of Rabbis are planning a solidarity march this Sunday, January 5th, from Foley Square in lower Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge, to Columbus Park near Cadman Plaza. Their slogan is: “No Hate. No Fear. We Say No to hate and No to fear.”

The Jews are not the ones who have to reject “hate.” It is those who are hating Jews who must do so.

-It is the community of black Americans, both Christian and Muslim, and their leaders, who must renounce their Jew hatred.

-It is those blacks who have culturally appropriated Jewishness, namely, the black Hebrew Israelites, who actually believe that they are the only real Jews.

-It is the Muslims who believe that Jews have “stolen” Jerusalem and other lands from Arab Muslims—and that therefore, Orthodox and Haredi Jews in America deserve to die.

If this march does not draw at least half a million people it will signal that even Jews don’t much care about their own and might endanger Jews even further. Even if it draws a million people, I fear it may not change the hearts and minds that have been indoctrinated into Jew hatred for years.

The American Zionist Movement and Zioness have grafted their own logos onto the UJA mailing and sent it to their own lists.  Camera has just issued its own call to join this Solidarity March. Missing entirely (at least so far) from the lineup of marchers is the Zionist Organization of America and Americans for a Safe Israel, groups that have usually been right on the issues. Maybe they are planning do do something other than march.

List making is not my genius. But the times are grim. In addition to marching, here are some of my ideas.

1) Visit the people who have been attacked. Sit with them. Console them. Tell them that they are not alone. Ask what you can do to help them. 

2) Remind the Orthodox and religious Jews that we are religiously commanded to defend ourselves when we are about to be or are under attack. 

3) Immediately begin self-defense training—why not krav maga?—for Orthodox and haredi communities, for both girls and boys, women and men.  

4) Carry loud whistles with you when you are out. Carry whatever is legal—not a gun, not Mace—perhaps red pepper, tactical gloves, and the right kind of legal canes, umbrellas, and keychains that can be used to defend yourself. Obtaining a legal permit to carry a gun that you’ve been trained to use is a major headache.

5)  Fundraise like crazy for additional security for Jewish sites. However, we may soon need IDF-like security for individual Jews who are visibly Jewish. Can any community afford that?

6) Support the Lawfare Project, under the baton of Brooke Goldstein, who is defending Lihi Aharon’s case, the young Israeli woman who was verbally and physically assaulted on the subway—and which the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, decided not to prosecute as a hate crime. Perhaps Vance will be persuaded to change his mind.

7) We should try to persuade the only possible “influencers” of the angry, under serviced, probably unemployable, and mentally ill black underclass in New York City to meet with them and try to sort this thing out (as the British say). I am talking about rap, hip-hop and other musical performers. I somehow doubt that junior or high school teachers, social workers, psychiatrists, spiritual and religious leaders, parole officers, wardens, or employers have as much influence as do Drake, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, J-Z, Khalid, Meek Mill, Travis Scott, Gucci Mane OR as Nicky Minaj, Cardi B, Missy Elliot, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, Kehlani, 070 Shake, and Rico Nasty.

8) Sponsor curriculum content about Jew hating for inner city junior high schools, high schools, and colleges.

9) Look: I’m listing only what’s legal. As tempting as vigilante actions are; as necessary as they may be; the danger is too great for individual civilians to risk.

10) Please fill in this Tenth Commandment.

First published in Israel National News


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