Scores of Jewish community centers across the country received bomb threats… Feel what has just happened to our community.
[/pullquote]Resistance bandwidth is getting stretched pretty thin. We’re fighting our own government, we’re challenging our own American Jewish community’s support for the occupation, and we continue to fight big systems of oppression. Resistance was already exhausting, and then our community came under direct attack in one of the scariest ways in recent memory: scores of Jewish community centers across the country received bomb threats.
On Tuesday, when my mom called me, voice quivering slightly, to tell me that the JCC where I learned to swim had received one of these threats, it took me a few minutes after hanging up to realize that I needed to step away from the flying e-mails and Facebook invitations for protests to think about how my mom must have felt, and to let myself feel.
And now I say to my friends, other Jews in the resistance: hold this moment. Feel what has just happened to our community.
Anti-Semitism functions by allowing Jews to gain a limited amount of security and power
[/pullquote]The gravity of this type of anti-Semitism should scare us and sadden us. And while some of our friends on the front lines of resistance – people of color, Muslims, trans and queer folks, refugees – are under very serious threat (and we will absolutely continue to stand with them), a threat to Jews is not less important. It is not less urgent.
We know that anti-Semitism functions by allowing Jews to gain a limited amount of security and power, making sure that everyone else thinks ‘the Jews are in control,’ and then leveraging this sentiment against Jews when the real ruling class feels threatened. In the meantime, other oppressed groups are encouraged to think that anti-Semitism is over, or at least that it couldn’t exist because, look at the Jews! They’re doing just fine.
But our people are not fine. While we don’t face the same daily threats as other communities — police violence, walls, bans — over sixty-five of our local community centers were notified in the past couple weeks that they would be bombed. A white nationalist and anti-Semite is running the White House. Neo-Nazis publicly planned a march against the Jews of Whitefish, Montana.
We do have allies out there in other movements.
[/pullquote]Rabbi Hillel asks us: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”
We do have allies out there in other movements. But if we don’t pause during this moment and make it clear to our non-Jewish friends in the resistance that we are scared and that we need to stand up to fight anti-Semitism, then they won’t know that they need to stand with us.
And as we start standing up for ourselves, we will begin to have much better responses to Hillel’s second two questions: “If I am only for myself, what am I?” and “If not now, when?” As we build a liberated Jewish movement that stands up for ourselves, and as our allies stand with us, we will all build deeper trust, love, and solidarity. As we heal from our fear and communal trauma, we will cast off the bonds that make our leaders think that the occupation keeps Israelis and Jews safe.
We should build ourselves a movement that stands up for Jews and ask our allies to stand with us
[/pullquote]Indeed, as we fight anti-Semitism, we will deepen our collective understanding of the deep intersections between the oppression of our beloved Jewish community with the oppression of Palestinians, of black people, of indigenous people, and of many more marginalized communities. We will recognize that fear has driven others to oppress all of us. And, most important for our work, we will see that our own community’s fear has too often and for too long given way to standing by or even supporting the occupation.
So my ask for all of us is that we take this moment of attack, build ourselves a movement that stands up for Jews and ask our allies to stand with us, and charge forward standing in solidarity with all oppressed communities, ending the American Jewish community’s support for the Occupation, and fighting for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.