By Doris Strub Epstein - 03 February, 2021
“EJH is the first-ever Jewish civil rights movement.”
Grassroots activists Doris Epstein, Vivienne Ziner, Andria Spindel, Mark Zimmerman and Tara Steinberg brought the End Jewish Hate campaign straight to the Toronto office of Twitter. (Photo: Doris Strub Epstein)
Last week, memorials for Holocaust Remembrance Day were held all over the world. The liberation of Auschwitz took place 76 years ago, yet today, while Holocaust survivors still live, Statistics Canada showed a marked increase in antisemitic incidents; in fact Jews are the most targeted group in Canada. In Toronto alone, hate crimes against Jews rose by 42 per cent.
Co -Chair of End Jewish Hatred (EJH) , Anita Bromberg, announced the launching of the new group at the memorial.
“We will not be passive in the face of the resurgence of the oldest hatred, antisemitism,” she told the group. “We will carry out peaceful direct action. We invite all Jews and our allies to join and help End Jew Hatred in this generation.”
“Remembrance is not enough,” said Andria Spindel, the other Co-Chair of the grassroots movement. “We must do more than remember, we must stop Jew hatred now.”
While the sources of this hate can generally be defined as having three sources – of far left movements, radical Islam and the far right – much overlooked is the virulent antisemitism coming from the far left, evident especially on campuses. Jewish students and faculty are being victimized by events such as Israel Apartheid Week and campaigns such as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
They claim Jews are part of the privileged, white, racist system that must be eliminated. White supremacists flaunt Nazi ideology and symbols. Islamic antisemitism continues to spread lies and distortions about the Jewish people. As extensively reported in TheJ.ca, Al Quds Day events are held in major centres around the world to delegitimize and demonize Israel.
Conspiracy theories targeting Jews are spreading globally:
The President of Lithuania blames Jews for the Holocaust.
There are at least six theories accusing Jews of the 9/11 tragedy.
Canada is still funding UNRWA, a UN agency that uses textbooks that call for the destruction of the Jewish State.
Social media allows vilification of Jews and Israel and gives Holocaust deniers a public platform.
Lack of consequences for social media has resulted in a proliferation of toxic material on all social platforms, including instigating the riot against the Capitol Building in Washington. Whereas European countries have already taken steps toward policing internet content.
There are no repercussions for the perpetrators of these travesties of justice. “We always stand up for everybody else’s civil liberties – Black civil rights, LGBTQ civil rights , women’s rights…and we will continue to do so. But no one stands up for us” said member EJH, Dr. Judith Weinroth.
Canada, like all democracies, has hate laws, and laws against slander and libel. But there is no teeth in them. They are usually not enforced. As a result, the Al Quds Day hate fest has taken place on the grounds of the Parliament building in Toronto.
Human rights lawyer Brooke Goldstein, who was born and raised in Toronto, started EJH in New York last fall. She heads the New York chapter of a global network of legal professionals that defend the civil and human rights of the Jewish people.
“Our movement is not even six months old,” she writes, “and yet we hosted vigils in eight cities worldwide. We are changing the conversation about how Jews are treated, demanding Jewish civil rights and igniting a long dormant passion for justice throughout the Jewish world… Please know that this is just the beginning.”
With regards to the Canadian Co-chairs, Anita Bromberg has spent decades battling prejudice. She was for many years legal counsel on human rights for B’nai Brith Canada, later becoming the Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. When asked why she joined this group, she answered, “There are lots of good organizations out there. But EJH is unique – the first Jewish grassroots civil rights movement, unapologetic and action oriented. When we don’t take action we lose. This is a movement that is right for our times.“
CAEF Executive Director Andria Spindel, Co-chair of EJH, addresses Jewish human rights activists outside the Twitter office on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Photo: Doris Strub Epstein)
Andria Spindel is the Executive Director of CAEF, the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, and was immediately enthused when she heard about the concept. “It is the first grassroots, Jewish civil rights movement that believes in peaceful direct action. It is entirely apolitical. These principles are what makes it different from other groups,” Bromberg’s co-chair said.
Sponsored by CAEF, their first event was to join with the eight other EJH groups, across the US, Israel and Germany, in commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day. Covid-mindful, all wore masks with the EJH logo, and socially distanced. They began at the Holocaust Memorial in Earl Bales Park and proceeded in a “funeral” motorcade led by a hearse, downtown to the Twitter office building of CEO Jack Dorsey. There, they delivered a strong message: “Mr. Dorsey, do not allow Holocaust deniers and antisemites to promote their hate on your Twitter platform.”
“Let all Canadians of good will unite under the banner of End Jew Hatred… NOW!” Spindel declared.
This article by THEJ.ca was first published on February 3, 2021
Born in Hamilton, Doris has many years of experience as a multimedia journalist. She has worked in radio, television and print journalism and written on a variety of topics especially the crucial issues in Canadian and Jewish life today. She is also Co Chair of the Canadian Institute of Jewish Research in Toronto.
This article was originally published on THEJ.ca on February 3, 2021, and can be viewed on their site by clicking here.