Thursday, February 20, 2020

The message delivered at a recent Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey meeting was clear and to the point.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Elan Carr, the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring Anti-Semitism, told their audience that the rise in U.S. anti-Semitic acts is closely mirroring European violence against Jews.

The congressman, who came to his home district for the meeting, said that “anti-Semitic incidents here at home mimic an alarming, largely worldwide trend. To put it lightly, I think it’s fair to say that we are living in tumultuous times.”

Gottheimer would co-sponsor a House resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction effort, part of a 398-17 tidal wave of bi-partisan votes against the anti-Zionist movement.

It was Carr who so accurately pointed out that there is nothing new about the term “new anti-Semitism.” He would go on to say that the medieval blood libels have been replaced by charges against Israel of “genocide.” The words “dirty Jew,” Carr added, have been replaced by “dirty Zionist.”

Whether it comes as Holocaust denial in textbooks, attacks on synagogue worshippers, the BDS movement, tropes from the far right, the Israel-hating left or militant Islam, there is no “ranking” hatred, Carr added. It is all to be condemned.

His words of condemnation as well as those of other speakers before the Federation were on point and important. Fact is, the warnings of Carr and Gottheimer will sadly never be too old or oft repeated.

The congressman closed his statements that day with the words: a “boycott of Israel is not only bad policy but morally wrong.”

The messages we heard cannot be said enough as long as anti-Semitism continues to rise. Even in Jewish communal space, the message remains as important as ever.

Well done, Rep. Gottheimer and Special Envoy Carr.