By Melanie Roth Gorelick
The growth of global anti-Semitism and the rise of militarized Islamic fundamentalists carrying out barbaric acts in Europe and against Western and Jewish targets are filling our community with feelings of horror and fear. We are still grieving for the loss of innocent lives taken in Paris last week resulting in the death of 17 victims and their families. The deadly attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo underscores the threat that the attackers’ ideology makes to our basic democratic freedoms. The murderers who killed Yoav Hattab, Phillip Braham, Yohan Cohen, and Francois-Michel Saada deliberately targeted them because they were Jewish. This comes amidst a wave of anti-Semitic violence against Jews — especially in Europe — in recent years, a result, in part, of the demonization of Israel, including by some in positions of authority.
We were heartened to see the international community come together in a show of unity on Sunday. It is imperative that world leaders speak out with zero tolerance for global incitement of any kind.
We must continue to build this unity here at home, ensuring that people in the non-Jewish community and positions of power are not susceptible to the false accusations and misinformation about Israel and blaming it for the problems taking place in the Middle East today. We need to thank the Obama administration for not supporting the Palestinian request for statehood at the UN Security Council and the strong position they are taking against the Palestinian Authority becoming a member of the International Criminal Court. It is time for Abbas to come to the peace table with Israel to move forward a two-state solution. It is only through negotiations of two peoples who share their borders and histories that true peace can be attained.
In Greater MetroWest we will continue our work to build coalitions with our non-Jewish friends, partners, and legislators, and ask them to join us in speaking out to the media and on our concern about global anti-Semitism and our quest for peace and security in the Middle East and Israel, the only democracy in that part of the world.
For those who would like greater involvement, we invite you to attend a program, “Rising Anti-Semitism Around the World,” that the CRC is cosponsoring with Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael and the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the synagogue at 177 Speedwell Ave. Guest speakers are Mark Weitzman, director of Government Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Barbara Wind, director of the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.
You can also send out a letter to show your solidarity to the Jewish people in France by clicking here.
The Community Relations Committee will continue to work with the Greater MetroWest community to speak out and take action the best way we can against this global threat. To become more involved with the CRC, please be in touch. We have an upcoming Israel & World Affairs meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
We join with you to share our deepest condolences to the Jewish community in France. And we mourn for the 17 victims and grieve with their families.