Photo by Stuart Foster
Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed a drastic increase in anti-Semitism worldwide with Europe being particularly affected. Since last year, anti-Semitism has more than doubled in France and quadrupled in the UK. Even in the last few days, a Jewish cemetery in Norway was vandalized and a British man posted anti-Semitic tweets to Labour MP Luciana Berger.
Established Jewish organizations have been slow to address the threat. What efforts they have made, have been largely ineffective as the organizations often lack the tools and wherewithal to tackle anti-Semitism in the digital age.
Fortunately, there is growing trend of young Jews standing up and filling the void. A few examples being the UK’s North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI) and Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Union of Jewish Students of Belgium (UEJB) and the Union of Jewish French Students (UEJF); all innovative organizations unafraid to fight back.
The NWFOI and Campaign Against Antisemitism are both grassroots organizations who put together the 2000 person-strong Manchester rally against anti-Semitism in October, impressively working around established Jewish organizations.
Belgium’ UEJB successfully protested an anti-semitic campus event, leading to its condemnation and cancelation, along with the setting up of a pedagogic team to sensitize students to race issues.
In France, the UEJF sought legal means to go after authors of anti-semitic posts associated with the #UnBonJuif twitter travesty. As a result of the UEJF’s tireless efforts, Twitter and other social media providers have been removing anti-semitic content and have implemented stricter rules against hate speech
These young men and women show us that we DO have the power to change the situation. My hope is that their stories will inspire you and other young Jews to join them in action!
“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent”
– Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook