The Times of Israel published my new article “A Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism? Get Real”
Creating “a global inter-parliamentary task force to combat digital antisemitism” a few weeks before a presidential election isn’t credible, and that’s putting it mildly. And besides, what can any task force do against hatred that comes from the kernel of human nature? It would be more successful fighting against gravity than against antisemitism.
On September 29, Jewish Insider published a story titled “Members of Congress launch international task force to combat online antisemitism.” According to the story, the task force is to focus on “raising awareness about online antisemitism and establishing a consistent message in legislatures across the world to hold social media platforms accountable.” It is a hopeless task, and right before the elections, it is nothing more than lip-service.
You can’t eliminate antisemitism just as you cannot eliminate pain until you heal the sore that causes it. In the case of antisemitism, the sore is the fact that Jews aren’t uniting among themselves and leading the world after them to unity and solidarity.
That sore was not born in America, nor in Nazi Germany, or even in Christian Europe. It dates back to the beginning of the Jewish people, when the fugitives from Egypt pledged to unite “as one man with one heart,” established their nationhood, and were immediately tasked with being “a light unto nations,” meaning with sharing their unity by way of example.
For nearly two millennia afterwards, our ancestors struggled with their internal conflicts and frictions. They were exiled and returned, fought each other and reunited, until they finally lost the battle against internal hatred and were banished from their land.
But the mission they had been given back at Mt. Sinai was never abrogated. Two thousand years ago, The Book of Zohar wrote about how the Jews should bring about world peace by setting an example: “‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together.’ These are the friends as they sit together, and are not separated from one another. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another … then they return to being in brotherly love. …And … as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part from one another … and by your merit, there will be peace in the world.”
Whenever and wherever there is division, the Jews are blamed for it because people feel (even if they can’t verbalize it) that had the Jews done their job, they wouldn’t be fighting one another. Even our own Talmud admits that “No calamity comes to the world but because of Israel” (Yevamot 63a), so what can we expect from other nations?
If we want to eliminate antisemitism, we should do our task, unite above all our (countless) divisions, and be a role model to humanity. Then the force that drives antisemitism will turn the hatred around as the nations will see that they are finally getting from the Jews what they always felt the Jews should have given them: an example of unity and solidarity.