Resolution on Antisemitic Incitement and Violence

Posted on: Monday March 15, 2021

רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר: על שלשה דברים העולם עומד. על הדין ועל האמת והשלום ושלשתן דבר אחד הן. נעשה הדין נעשה אמת נעשה שלום. א"ר מנא ושלשתן בפסוק אחד: אמת ומשפט שלום שפטו בשעריכם(זכריה ח: טז):

Rabban Shim’on ben Gamli’el would say: The world rests on three things: justice, truth, and peace. And the three of them are intertwined as one entity. Justice is found where truth is found--when peace is found.  Rabbi Mena would say: The three of them are in one verse: “Truth and justice--adjudicate peace within your gates” (Zechariah 8:16) (Jerusalem Talmud, Ta’anit 4:2, 21a [Petrikov edition]).

One of the historical trends in antisemitism is the use of falsehoods and conspiracy theories to poison the minds of people. 

The Rabbinical Assembly has resolved on past occasions including as recently as this past year, as well as  2017, 2005 and more specifically on global antisemitism in 2019, 2006, and 2003. History has taught us we must never relax our vigilance.

We again face mutations of antisemitism and conspiracy theories such as those of QAnon and blood libels which blame Jews for COVID-19. Jews around the world are experiencing hatred and fear. 2020 saw an increase in hate speech and Holocaust denial around the world. 

Things never acceptable before are readily available on our televisions. Antisemitic merchandise is easily obtainable on mainstream online shopping networks. Communities around the world are under attack by individuals chanting and wearing antisemitic slogans. There have been synagogue attacks in Pittsburgh and Poway in the US and Halle and Hamburg in Germany.

Sadly, social media provides an accessible platform where these dangerous antisemitic lies have even greater reach through ease of use and algorithms, allowing it to be spread at unprecedented rates. The pandemic introduced increased ZOOM bombing incidents.

As we have born witness in every generation, these antisemitic screeds and violence are corelated and therefore must not be ignored nor easily dismissed. Moreover, it has become virtually de rigeur on university campuses and in the halls of the United Nations to express antisemitism by opposing the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

Therefore, we resolve to encourage colleagues to become educated on the most effective ways to actively combat antisemitism on all fronts, including social media and internet commerce;

Be it further resolved that we encourage colleagues to continue to build bridges of tolerance and understanding within our local communities to combat ignorance and falsehood; and

Be it further resolved that we encourage colleagues to work closely with individuals and groups, locally and on a larger scale, who seek to educate and advocate against antisemitism as well as bigotry and hatred against any community in order to maintain a civil society rooted in fact and not in dark conspiracy; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call on university administrations to protect students and other stakeholders on their campuses from harassment, intimidation, and violence on account of their Jewish identity and/or their support for Israel; and

Be it further resolved that we encourage colleagues to press our local, state, and nationally elected officials to recognize that words are not enough; they must not only to denounce hate groups and the malicious ideas that permeate these groups, but address it within their parties and among their peers and condemn and sanction candidates and elected officials who make antisemitic comments or use antisemitic tropes; and

Be it further resolved that we encourage colleagues to continue to insist that all forms of media, including social media channels, hold to the standards set by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission or its international equivalents in regard to discourse regarding Holocaust denial and the dangerous lies of antisemitism and hate; and

Finally, be it resolved that we encourage colleagues to reassure those living in fear of antisemitism and to promote living meaningful Jewish lives as we reaffirm our commitment to the necessity of truth--the best answer to those who would hate is to live proudly and publicly as Jews.