September 14, 2023
In conversation after conversation, we have heard members of our Jewish community express alarm over the spread of antisemitism - regionally, nationally, and internationally. The warning signs are apparent: the proliferation of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, violent attacks, the growth of antisemitic extremist groups, the spread of demonizing ideas online, the uninformed enthusiasm with which some people flock to toxic anti-Israel movements. This and more has led many to ask whether we are entering into a period, like the 1930’s, when anti-Jewish activism had few restraints.
This concern underscores a basic reality. Antisemitism has been a fixture of Jewish life for centuries. It waxes and wanes, but it does not go away. Unlike in past eras, however, our Jewish community is not powerless. We have the resources, organization, and motivation to fight back, and we are doing just that.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) is leading global efforts to isolate and marginalize the proponents of antisemitism. In May, we helped bring to fruition the first U.S. national plan to fight antisemitism; something several other countries had achieved with AJC’s help. AJC’s Leaders for Tomorrow program is preparing teens to engage constructively with anti-Jewish activism. Major efforts are underway by AJC and others to introduce workforce training that heightens awareness of antisemitism. And we have been working with states, municipalities, and organizations around the country that are endorsing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism, a critical resource in the fight against anti-Jewish activism.
An informed and mobilized community can create a robust and influential response to anti-Jewish hate. In the year to come our efforts will continue and grow. This will be possible because our Jewish community is reaching beyond fear and becoming participants in efforts that are helping us fight back.
So, this Rosh Hashanah, as we reflect on the passing of one year and the onset of another, let’s seize upon the opportunities that life in a democracy affords, and resolve to secure our Jewish future – regionally, nationally, and internationally. Become a part of this historic effort. AJC, the Jewish people’s only truly global advocacy organization (25 offices across the US, 14 posts around the world and 38 international partnerships on 6 continents), can provide you this opportunity. Join us.
We wish you, your family and all your loved ones a sweet and healthy New Year.
Shana tova u’metuka,
Gerald D. Cohen, President, AJC New England
Robert Leikind, Regional Director, AJC New England