JEWISH PRIDE-DO WE HAVE IT?
Recently two major events were held in Toronto featuring courageous, intelligent, activist Jewish women who are making a difference; one locally and one internationally. Both Lauren Isaacs, Director of Herut Canada, and Brooke Goldstein, Founder and Executive Director of The Lawfare Project based in New York, provided significant historical information on the rights of Jews to Israel, the fact that Zionism is an expression of Jewish civil rights, and most notably it is the oldest civil rights movement in the world. Since Torah times, Zionism, the belief in a Jewish national identity and homeland has formed a part of Jewish identity. Zion is another name for Jerusalem. Interestingly, the two women each articulated a vision of fighting antisemtism by declaring Jewish Pride, educating our children to be proud Jews, and defending Jewish rights, including Jewish historical and legal rights to the land of Israel.
Lauren Isaacs is a vivacious 23-year-old, who is an unapologetic Jabotinsky Zionist, who is working hard to re-establish Herut Canada, and to engage young people in supporting Israel’s case. She offers educational events and views Herut as an alternative to what she calls “fringe groups” that capture the attention of young Jews. In her October 24th presentation for The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, co-sponsored by CAEF, Isaacs presented factual information via slides on Israel’s history, geography and demographics in support of the case for Israel having strong security, land rights, and bans against the lies and bigotry expressed by the BDS movement and other Israel-deniers.
Isaacs was demonstrative in exposing the lies of the antisemitic BDS Movement, from claiming there is a Palestinian People to claims of an occupation. Isaacs who had personally experienced the hostility and harassment of anti-Israel, mostly Muslim, students at York University while sitting at a Herut Canada information table on campus, was adamant about fighting for freedom of speech, the rights of Jewish students on campu,s and the denigration of these rights by a silent majority and a hostile minority.
In summing up her presentation, Lauren Isaacs struck a chord with the audience of about 100 people, calling for a re-invigoration of Jewish Pride.
On October 28, Brooke Goldstein made a powerfully presented speech at an event sponsored by Adath Israel, with support from CAEF and Canadians for the Rule of Law (CFTRL). Brooke Goldstein, who as well as her many legal accomplishments in defense of Israel and the Jewish people, earned awards for the making of an historic and award winning film, The Making of a Martyr. She based the film on personal interviews with jihadists in terrorist organizations in several countries and in Israeli prisons.
Goldstein heads the only pro-Israel international organization fighting lawfare that has been initiated by Muslim extremists who are intent on stopping pro-Israel activity. Several Muslim organizations and individuals have brought law suits against other individuals and organizations in the US, Canada and Europe to silence criticism, to stop interference in their extremist agenda, and to label non-Muslims as Islamophobes. The intent of lawfare is to halt all actions that interfere with the Islamist political agenda. By even raising questions about Islam, about Sharia Law, about Islamists or their terrorist behavior. In other words, there is a desire to paint all who question Islam as biased, intolerant, judgmental or even “racist,” though Islam is not a race. Indicative of the real bias of those who would consider criticism to be Islamophobic, is the support such people have for the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
Goldstein pointed out that suicide/homicide bombers are often children and youth and this is child abuse. Yet these so-called child martyrs are indoctrinated with hatred, loving death over life. She asked pointedly, how is this Pro-Muslim? In exposing Muslim terror, she and others are threatened with silencing, court challenges, and even personal harm. Surely, it is obvious that those who oppose such abuse, and defend the rights of children are doing more for Islam than those who, to quote Goldstein, “are theologically motivated terrorists,” sending children to their death!
Despite the history of the founding of Israel, despite their being no country called Palestine, despite the Rome Statute and many recognized legally valid Israeli institutions, Goldstein pointed out that many democracies in the West have legal cases against Israel or take actions that harm Israel; our own Canadian example is the recent case of withdrawing wines from the LCBO that are labelled “product of Israel,” that are produced in Judea or Samaria. There is now a court challenge on this matter, and equally, Jewish organizations are contesting the listing of wines labelled, “product of Palestine” since there is no such country. The Lawfare Project will either defend a case for Israel or provide advice to lawyers in the jurisdiction in which a case will be heard. There is a network of lawyers working with The Lawfare Project across the globe. Brooke herself is an advisor to Canadians for the Rule of Law, an NGO founded only 2 years ago to do similar work in Canada.
An important insight shared by Ms Goldstein is that liberal democracies are founded on Judeo-Christian values and ethics. Citizens have the power to change governments every 4 or so years in democracies, and to challenge governments in court, and have often done so in the case of minority rights. Jews have been at the forefront in defending the rights of all minorities in these democracies and generally succeeded in collaboration with others, but have not taken advantage of the same legal systems to fight antisemitism and defend Jewish rights. She expressed the view that the traditional Jewish organizations feel it is too aggressive to do so, and prefer to work behind the scene. She pointed to the need to be seen to defend Jewish civil rights. Goldstein illustrated this by commenting on the general tendency of all the established organizations to prepare students to defend Israel on campus, or to walk away and do nothing about the perpetrators of hate. In doing nothing this just emboldens the antisemites. Instead, Brooke argued there should be legal action. The burden should not fall on the students alone to defend Israel; adults have the job of defending Israel.
Combat Antisemitism Movement
CAEF is proud to have joined a global effort to combat antisemitism. The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is described as “a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending antisemitism. This is the goal of many great organizations, but this is the creation of a movement with over 125,000 people having signed the pledge to fight antisemitism and over 150 organizations.”
It’s very important and gratifying to see that organizational partners include a total range of organizations, from those familiar advocates on campuses such as Hasbara Fellowships, Hillel, and Stand with Us, to varying denominations of Judaism such as Aish, Sinai Temple, United Orthodox Synagogues, and a huge range of activist groups and allies from non-Jewish communities such as the Muslim Reform Movement, Philos Project, to leaders like the Simon Wiesenthal Center, ZOA, the Lawfare Project, and new comers like the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and many more.
Most importantly, YOU can join, sign the pledge and promote the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and the list of specific behaviours that are used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel. Jewish Pride requires that you sign. Join the movement.
Combat Anti-Semitism Creative Contest
Four categories of project activities have been designed and creative submissions are invited, with a Round 1 deadline of December 1, 2019. This contest is crowd-sourcing new solutions to help end “the world’s oldest hatred.” The contest is sponsored by several partners of the CombatAntiSemitism.org coalition. People of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities are encouraged to participate by creatively addressing one of the categories.
More than $100,000 in prizes will be awarded by Natan Sharanksy and other high-profile, notable judges so read, innovate, and submit your ideas now.