On April 25th, an anti-Semitic cartoon ran in the international edition of the Times, depicting the Prime Minister of Israel as a dog, leading a blind American president wearing a yarmulke. When I was made aware of this disturbing cartoon, I was deeply bothered.
Two days later, our country found itself again trying to grapple with the realization that another synagogue shooting had occurred, this time in Poway, California. One person was killed and three people were injured. This blatant attack against the Jewish community made my heart sink.
That same day, the Times issued a statement regarding the cartoon, admitting that running the cartoon was a mistake, but they fell short of apologizing. Later they would share their regret and ways in which they plan to prevent such a cartoon from running in the future.
It astonishes me that here we are in 2019, when actions and attitudes that we thought were a part of our history are now happening again. I think we can all agree that we wish we lived in a world where people are able to practice their beliefs without facing hate. Perhaps one day, this wish will come true.
However, the reality is we live in a world where not everyone believes in our right to practice our faith (this rings true for many other faiths as well, including our Muslim friends). In fact, there are people who want to scare us and hurt us solely because we are Jewish. We are very fortunate that our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and our national organization, Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), are there to advocate for our Jewish community when faced with such inciteful prejudice.
On April 29th, the JCPA sent a letter to the Times executive editor, which was signed by 55 JCRCs (including ours), 14 national agencies, and 11 other organizations. You can click here to read of a copy of the letter. It expressed our collective disdain for the Times allowing such hate to be published. It was the catalyst for a meeting between Jewish leaders and the Times publisher and opinion editor.
Although this incident should have never happened, I feel good knowing our campaign dollars support our local JCRC and the JCPA, who were so quick to respond to the Times incident. They advocate on behalf of the Jewish community; work to build bridges and create opportunities with the Muslim, African American, and other diverse communities; and provide the opportunity to promote peace and acceptance.
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