Resolution on Antisemitism

Posted on: Wednesday May 6, 2020

Whereas, antisemitism is the most ancient form of hatred, manifesting itself in different cultures and civilizations and has reached a record high in the 40 years that the ADL has been tracking such incidents; and

Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out extreme expressions of antisemitism; and

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has passed several resolutions addressing various aspects of antisemitism in the past (2019, 2017, 2006, 2005); and

Whereas, in the 21st century, only a generation following the Shoah, we have witnessed the recrudescence of antisemitism in Europe and North America, taking the form of verbal abuse, crude graffiti, violent attacks and killings; and

Whereas the hatred of Jews across the globe has manifested itself in attacks on synagogues, Jewish institutions, stores, and individuals; and

Whereas, Jews have been hated because we were identified as communists and capitalists, as being overly cosmopolitan and for being too insular, as elitists and social outcasts, for blending in too easily and for being different, for being homeless and now for having a powerful state; and

Whereas contemporary antisemitic language, threats and attacks draw upon historic antisemitic tropes and have been linked to various forms of religious and racial supremacism; and

Whereas research has revealed that many Americans and Canadians, particularly millennials between ages 18 to 34, do not know basic facts about the Holocaust, such as where it took place, how many Jews died, or the names of key people and places; and

Whereas, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues, and has international standing to deal with the issue of antisemitism as embedded in its founding document, the Stockholm Declaration (2000), which notes that “With humanity still scarred by …antisemitism and xenophobia the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils”; and

Whereas, in 2016 IHRA adopted a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism that states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”; and

Whereas this working definition has been adopted or endorsed by twenty governments and other international bodies; and

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly and its rabbis are encouraged to reach out to other faith communities and minority communities to build bridges and forge alliances to combat hate, racism and antisemitism.

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly partner with Jewish organizations of all political and religious orientations to create a high energy, global, digital effort to fight antisemitism in high schools, on university campuses, and among young adults; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly commend IHRA for its important work, and recommend that our communities look to this basic definition for our own efforts to educate about the dangers of antisemitism, while also preserving our commitment to the freedom of speech; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon local, state, provincial, and national governments around the world to bolster their efforts to protect the Jewish community; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge the United States Department of Homeland Security and similar agencies world-wide to make security funding for synagogues and Jewish institutions a priority by simplified application processes; and

Be it further resolved that enhancing security protection for these institutions is intended to maintain, as central features of Jewish life, the ritual, educational, social deepening and growth of the Jewish community; and

Be it further resolved that our Rabbinical Assembly remain in contact with colleagues around the world and relevant international organizations to remain attuned to global trends regarding antisemitism and to keep our members informed about these issues.