Why Do Jews Have To Be Murdered For You To Admit Anti-Semitism Is Real?

April 29, 2019

For the second time this year, a white supremacist marched into a synagogue and shot it up. On the six-month anniversary of the deadly shooting in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a copycat inspired by that attack marched into the Chabad of Poway and opened fire.
In the wake of the horrific attack, many were the forceful condemnations of hate. I’ve read meaningful, painful expressions of solidarity.
But one disturbing phrase kept popping up. Everyone from Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, Republican Senator Tim Scott, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, and even Jewish writers and activists felt the need to announce: “anti-Semitism is real.”
Hearing this didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel worse.
Of course, anti-Semitism is real. That should go without saying. According to the Anti-Defamation League, over one billion people in the world harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. These hateful thoughts are leading to real atrocities; 2017 was plagued by 1,986 anti-Semitic hate crimes, plus a march where hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis came together to chant that “Jews will not replace us.”

This problem isn’t confined to South Carolina. I went to high school in New York and college in Los Angeles; both of the buildings where I went to school have been branded with spray-paint swastikas.
When the Chabad of Poway was attacked, American Jews hadn’t gone six months since a white supremacist last stormed into a synagogue and killed the Jews inside. We hadn’t gone a full day since The New York Times had to apologize for publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon.
I shouldn’t be able to roll out these statistics and offenses off the top of my head. But I, like most Jews I know, am constantly forced to “prove” that my community is under siege.
Every time I speak up about anti-Semitism, I’m gaslit by people who deny it exists. They even go so far as to accuse me of fabricating false allegations of hate in bad faith.
In other words, not only is there a furious spike in hatred against Jews in this world; there is also a ferocious movement to deny that it is happening.
Jews no longer just face a fringe squad of maniacs who pretend the Holocaust was a hoax; anti-Semitism denial is a widespread epidemic.
This morning, my mother told me that she’s too afraid to step into a temple again. She has good reason to panic. Lori Gilbert Kaye, the woman who was shot dead in Poway, is right around her age. She left behind a daughter who’s mine. They could have been us; in some ways, they were.
Instead of crying with my mother, I spent tonight regurgitating statistics, pointing to today’s tragedy as evidence that our panic isn’t paranoia, that it shouldn’t take Jews getting murdered for people to recognize anti-Semitism.
But it does. So every time an anti-Semitic tragedy strikes, I feel compelled to broadcast it as evidence of the atrocities Jews face. I’m not the only one who so feels that way. Even Audrey Jacobs, a close friend of Kaye who expressed her loss in a Facebook post, took the time to repeat “anti-Semitism is real” in its final lines.
We wouldn’t be compelled to state that “anti-Semitism is real” if people weren’t actively declaring that it wasn’t.
Like Jacobs, I mourn for Kaye, who was executed for the crime of being a Jew. I mourn for my entire community, who don’t feel safe in our own houses of faith or supported, neither by our President nor by the social justice organizations that oppose him. But I also mourn for our ability to process our pain privately and on a personal level.
Anti-Semitism has become so normalized that we have to paint the picture of Jew-hatred with fresh Jewish blood. There’s no time to grieve. We’re forced to immediately turn every act of anti-Semitism into a teaching moment. When the world offers their condolences, Jews utilize the brief attention from being murdered to shout out “See? We weren’t making it up!”
Hatred of Jews is palpable, widespread, and increasingly lethal.
The people who need to see Jewish corpses on the ground to believe “anti-Semitism is real” are part of the problem.
Ariel Sobel is a nationally-recognized writer-director, activist, and TED speaker. Follow her on Twitter @arielsobelle.
This story "Why Do Jews Have To Be Murdered For You To Admit Anti-Semitism Is Real?" was written by Ariel Sobel. and was publish on Forward

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We thank Mr. Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky , State Secretary for Civil and Social Affairs at the Office of Prime Minister of Hungary , H.E. Mr. Tamás Iván Kovács, Hungary's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,  H.E. Mr. Olivér Varhelyi, Hungary's Ambassador to the European Union, Permanent Representative for their time.

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President Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi

President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi
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The president thanked Mr Chatila for his important act and for the significant thought that stood behind it, saying “your donation is of great importance at this time, when people are trying to deny historical truth. These artifacts, which you are generously making available to Yad Vashem, will help convey the legacy of the Holocaust to the next generation who will not meet survivors.”
The president added, “what you did was seemingly so simple, but this act of grace shows the whole world how to fight the glorification of hatred and incitement against other people. It was a truly human act. I know you have been thanked many times, but it was important for me to say it loud and clear here at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem – we appreciate it and thank you for it very much.”
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EJA chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said during the meeting that “In a cynical world, such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity bowled him over”. "it is the first time in years" He continued " that someone is properly hearing our pain and is taking action because of it."
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Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod: "What you have done by this action is take a very dark chapter from Jewish history and the history of humanity, and shed light on it by andvancing tolerance and hope. You reminded humanity that there are good and decent people in the world who seek tolerance and justice".

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The ordinariness of Auschwitz

As a dear colleague put it, “Where is the monster? It would be easier to deal with if there was a monster here.”

I’m just back from a delegation that we at the European Jewish Association organized to Auschwitz for around 150 ministers and parliamentarians from across Europe. In the days leading up to Holocaust Remembrance Day and the poignant 75th anniversary of the liberation of the most infamous death camp of all, we read the harrowing statements of the last few witnesses, and pledges from the great and the good “never again.”
I’m still trying to process what I saw, to reconcile what in my mind Auschwitz means with what it actually is when you walk through the gates. The word that best sums it up, the word that makes me sick in the very deepest pit of my stomach, is how ordinary it is.
I don’t know what the gates of hell should look like, but if you, like me, try to imagine it, you don’t picture bucolic countryside surrounding it, a McDonald’s drive-thru close by, parents pushing their children up the street, kids loitering around bus stops trying to look cool, and old people chatting outside the shops.
As a dear colleague put it, “Where is the monster? It would be easier to deal with if there was a monster here.”
That perfectly encapsulates what is so scary and upsetting about the place: There’s no monster.
The gates of hell have a parking lot, a pizzeria over the road, and students in tight jeans and Ugg boots chewing gum while waiting to have a look inside. Our Jewish ground zero, literally the sight of our worst nightmare, the scar that each and every one carries in our heart, is an ordinary place.
Now I have to tell you that the staff there are incredible people. Our guide Michal believes with every ounce of his being that it is his duty as a resident to tell the story and history of the place. His knowledge is terrible and devastating. He paints a visual Guernica with his words: the 7 tons of human hair that they found packed and ready to be stuffed into God knows what; the fact that they found traces of Zyklon B in the hair; the number of people who shoveled bodies into the crematoria. I could go on but I won’t.

A few hundred meters from Auschwitz is Birkenau. If Auschwitz is hell’s waiting room, Birkenau is where the doctor, quite literally, would see you. Selection, and then into the flames. Gone for eternity.
And yet again, so close by, you find houses with swings in the yard, bored dogs barking at cars, the half-constructed BBQ made of bricks that was never quite finished (maybe next year when the rain lets up).
Auschwitz is so terrifying to me, not because of what happened inside those gates. I know the horrors, I’ve been raised on them. No, it’s so terrifying because of what goes outside of them, so close, so palpably close. A town where life 80 years ago continued its slow, mundane pace.
While the crematoria burned and the latest shipment of Greek Jews arrived to be murdered, two old men sank a pint in the nearby pub. A baby cried because its toy broke. Teenagers fumbled awkwardly away from watching eyes.
I can’t reconcile at all how ordinary life could continue. And worse, I’m scared. I’m scared that people can tuck into their Margherita pizza after the tour is over, the same way that you can swim with Jaws at Universal Studios then tuck into wings and fries.
I’m scared too that surrounded by this ordinariness, just as it was all those years ago, antisemitism can keep rising and keep rising while tourists keep on going through those gates having learned nothing, and worse, get back to the football and order another drink while the kindle for the fires of hell is slowly being gathered again, right under their noses, and ordinary life continues.
The writer, Alex Benjamin, is the director of public affairs at the European Jewish Association.
The article was published by the JPost

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