When you have a concern about the Jewish community or antisemitism, I am happy to hear from you. A community member recently contacted me because she was upset about what happened on Twitter. She wanted to know what we were doing to deal with this antisemitic concern of hers, and if other organizations were responding as well.
In my research concerning the actions by Twitter, I was forwarded an article from Bloomberg.com titled Twitter Mistakenly Locked Accounts That Tweeted Star of David. In the article, it noted that once the situation was brought to Twitter’s attention, they were quick to respond. Their statement, in part, read, “We categorically do not consider the Star of David as a hateful symbol or hateful image. We have for some time seen the ‘yellow star’ or ‘yellow badge’ symbol being used by those seeking to target Jewish people. While the majority of cases were correctly actioned, some accounts highlighted recently were mistakes and have now been restored. We’re grateful to @antisemitism, @ADL, @CST_UK and others for bringing this to our attention and for their partnership in tackling antisemitism.” This incident reminded me how important it is for us to speak up and advocate for our worldwide Jewish community.
I am often asked how we, as a Federation, respond when situations like the Twitter incident arise. Thankfully, in addition to our own organization, we have incredible partners at the local, state, national, and international levels to help.
When an incident happens in our area, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) respond quickly to educate and bring resolve. For example, at the beginning of June, I was contacted regarding graffiti behind The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek. The graffiti contained swastikas and the Star of David, among other graphic imagery and wording. Our JCRC Director, Marcy L. Paul, Phd, reached out to the mayor of Beavercreek to discuss and follow up on the graffiti. You can read more about this in an article recently published by The Dayton Jewish Observer.
When issues occur on the state level, Ohio Jewish Communities (OJC) is at the forefront. Led by Howie Beigelman, their mission states, “Ohio Jewish Communities is the statewide government advocacy, public affairs, and community relations voice of Ohio’s eight Jewish Federations and their network of 150 nonprofit agencies statewide for the purpose of enhancing the Jewish community’s ability to serve vital human needs.”
OJC stepped in this past April when Senator Andrew Brenner inappropriately used the Holocaust as a comparison in his debate on public policy. They were quick to condemn his comments and offered to meet with Senator Brenner to educate him on the Holocaust and antisemitism. (you can read more about this by clicking here).
Nationally, Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Action Network addresses BDS (boycott-divestment-sanctions) and anti-Israel activity. The Jewish Council on Public Affairs acts as the national hub of the community, representing 125 local Jewish Community Relations Councils and 17 Jewish agencies. They serve as a national representative of the network’s public policy and public affairs platform.
In addition, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) works “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” The ADL has been a great resource for us locally as well. When issues of antisemitism have occurred in Dayton, they have been invaluable in helping or guiding us on how to address the issue.
The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Joint Distribution Committee tackle issues of world Jewry, addressing not only antisemitism, but keeping Jewish people safe wherever they are in the world.
So no matter where in the world there is an issue affecting the Jewish people, we have partners and organizations ready to respond.
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