JCRC Statement on Antisemitism in Public Discourse
Friday, August 23, 2019
The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, which is tasked with advocating on behalf of the Greater Indianapolis Jewish community, continues to be alarmed over increases in antisemitism and violent extremism. Each day we hear more appalling rhetoric and watch it spread through social media; each week we learn of another extremist with designs to target Jewish communities.
Most recently, antisemitic tropes have emanated from our highest national institutions, including the White House and Congress. As we have stated previously, expressions of anti-Jewish stereotypes, whether intentional or not, whether from the right or the left, whether blatant or veiled, must be condemned swiftly and repudiated vigorously. We call on elected officials and candidates for office at all levels of government, from all political parties, including the President of the United States and Members of Congress, not to use words or take actions that use Jews as a political pawn, put members of our community at risk, or drive our community apart by attempting to make antisemitism or Israel a partisan issue.
While the Indianapolis Jewish community is not monolithic, there is overwhelming consensus on the need to proactively combat antisemitism through education and relationship-building, ensure the existence of a democratic, Jewish and secure State of Israel, and strengthen the relationship between Indiana, the United States and Israel. The Indianapolis Jewish community has a strong history of engaging in robust discussions about how to maintain a just, democratic, and pluralistic American society in which Jews are safe and secure.
The stark reality of this moment demands more than words and statements. Our actions, both communally and individually, are critical. The Indy JCRC will hone our focus on bringing thoughtful conversations and engaging programs into both the Jewish and general communities to stem the tide of antisemitism. And we will work even harder to raise awareness and provide the information, support, and tools needed to effectively confront antisemitism.
This therefore is an appropriate time to highlight the multi-faceted work of the Indy JCRC’s Stand Up! Speak Out! initiative, which educates, empowers, and proactively prepares young Jews and their families, along with teachers and allies, to effectively address the realities of 21st-century antisemitism:
- Student to Student – Jewish teens speak to their high school peers about Jewish practices and what it’s like to be Jewish today, helping to break down stereotypes by putting a human face to members of the Jewish community.
- Israel Engagement Fellowship – An intensive 8-week seminar for Jewish teens to learn and have thoughtful conversations about Israel and antisemitism so they can confidently engage on these issues in college.
- Words to Action – JCRC partners with the ADL to facilitate this proven workshop, which empowers Jewish middle and high school students with effective responses to combat antisemitism.
- Accurate Curriculum – Free curricular resources and training so educators can teach accurately about Jews, Judaism, Jewish history, Israel, and antisemitism.
Finally, as always, the JCRC will continue to call on our elected officials and candidates for office, interfaith and intergroup partners, and neighbors and allies to:
- Hear us when we identify language, imagery, or actions as antisemitic or anti-Jewish;
- Be thoughtful about the words you use, because history teaches us that words lead to action;
- Speak out swiftly against antisemitic language and imagery so that it stops being normalized or dismissed;
- Join us in demanding that elected officials who spew antisemitism, or give it a dangerous pass, be held accountable;
- Reach out to the Indy JCRC to learn more about or meet members of the Jewish community; to invite us into your house of worship, classroom, or boardroom; and sadly, yes, to also report an antisemitic incident and get the support you need.