In the aftermath of the October 7th Hamas massacre in Israel and the ensuing war, disagreement with or contempt for Israel has become a pretext to attack Jews worldwide. We are witnessing physical violence, intimidation, and vandalism targeting Jewish individuals and institutions, and many Jews are rightfully concerned about their personal safety. As clearly laid out in the IHRA definition of antisemitism, when those protesting the actions of the Israeli government attack Jews on their college campuses and in the street, target Jewish businesses, and vandalize synagogues and Jewish institutions – that is antisemitism, plain and simple. The past two months leave no doubt that antisemitism and anti-Zionism, the denial of the right to self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, are inherently intertwined.
We therefore reaffirm that Jews and Judaism are inextricably linked to the land of Israel and that the Jewish people are thus discriminated against and threatened by speech and actions that delegitimize and demonize Israel, hold Israel to double standards demanded of no other, and deny the connection of Judaism to the land of Israel.
While we appreciate those allies who have spoken out, the dangerous rise in antisemitism and anti-Zionism must be combatted by all levels of government – from cities, to states, to Congress and the President – by civic leaders and champions of civil and human rights, by those in academia, by influencers of public opinion, and by all people of good conscience.
We therefore call on all responsible leaders to:
- recognize the dangers posed by anti-Zionism and antisemitism;
- reject inflammatory and ahistorical slogans and rhetoric;
- celebrate political disagreement while condemning the violent and intimidating forms of anti-Israel protests that are taking place daily;
- address anti-Zionist incitement against Jews and Israelis with the same urgency as other forms of hate and discrimination; and
- make clear that there is no excuse or rationale for harassing, intimidating, threatening, or assaulting Jews, Jewish institutions, Jewish students, or Jewish-owned businesses.
Harriet P. Schleifer William C. Daroff