The March is Over, But the Fight Continues: 10 Steps to Protect American Jews

Nov 20, 2023 | Read Now, Voices

[Newsweek Op-ed by Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish Committee.]

Amid a global wave of antisemitic harassment, intimidation, and violence, more than 290,000 people from across the United States came together on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. to make clear that Americans stand with Israel and the Jewish community. The March for Israel made clear that we are united against terrorism, against antisemitism, and in our dedication to bring home every hostage being held by Hamas.

Now it’s time to match those voices with action.

We have no time to lose; antisemitic incidents have more than tripled year-over-year in the United States since Hamas’s October 7 massacre, and no region was spared.

New York City, home to the world’s largest Jewish community outside of Israel, experienced more than three times the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes this year than in October 2022. Jewish students at Ohio State University were attacked and the school’s Hillel was vandalized. Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish Israel supporter died from injuries sustained when a protester at a Los Angeles-area rally in support of Palestinians became violent and attacked him. At a pro-Palestinian march in Washington, D.C., we saw a protester carrying a sign equating the Star of David with a Nazi swastika and nearby, at George Washington University we saw projections of “glory to our martyrs” on a university library. This is blatant Jew-hatred.

Antisemitism is an intergenerational, coast-to-coast, left to right phenomenon. Fighting it requires comprehensive buy-in from every facet of society.

It must involve government officials at the federal, state, and local levels. It must involve our university presidents and professors, educators, students, and civil society organizations. And given the skyrocketing increase in antisemitic incidents, this work must begin immediately.

Here are ten ways we should capitalize on the momentum generated by the March for Israel to strike a major blow against antisemitism.

[An excerpt of the ten points to combat antisemitism in Ted Deutsch’s Op-ed follows:]

1. A good starting point is to fully implement the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which takes a comprehensive, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.

2. Some of the most vicious antisemitic incidents of late have taken place at high schools and on college campuses.

3. An understanding of Judaism and American Jewry must be integrated into school and higher education curricula and training materials.

4. For their part, students should encourage universities to address their safety, speak out about antisemitic incidents, and educate themselves about Israel

5. We all must call on elected officials to condemn Hamas’s brutal terror attack, provide Israel the support necessary to defend its citizens and win its war against Hamas terrorists, and demand the release of all hostages.

6. Elected officials, for their part, must unequivocally condemn antisemitic incidents wherever and whenever they occur.

7. Local elected officials can appoint local Jewish community liaisons so that their constituents feel cared for and secure.

8. Tech and social media companies need to take prompt and effective action to counter the surge in online hate and content celebrating Hamas and its terror attack against Israel on October 7, 2023.

9. As many American Jews feel alone or ostracized, government and educational institutions should lift up Jewish-American heritage and the considerable contributions of Jews to American life and our nation’s history.

10. Lastly, hate does not exist in a vacuum. Interfaith dialogue and inter-community work can help build a more secure America for all.

[Ted Deutsch concludes his Op-ed:]

Fighting antisemitism takes all of us, and there is no time to waste.

[Read the entire Nov. 15, 2023 Op-ed by AJC CEO Ted Deutsch in Newsweek]