Our country has a serious problem. The rising tide of white supremacy and increasingly accessible semi-automatic weapons is a lethal combination that has led repeatedly to tragedy, including this past week at the Chabad Synagogue of Poway.
Six months after the horrific massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, another white nationalist stormed a shul, intentionally targeting Jews. As we mourn the tragic loss of Lori Kaye Gilbert, z”l, and pray for the injured, we also consider what has led to our rising insecurity.
Anti-Semitism takes many forms, and the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) unequivocally opposes all of them. But, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), right-wing extremists were responsible for all of the anti-Semitic incidents with a known perpetrator in 2018. There were 249 anti-Semitic incidents that could be traced back to an individual or group in 2018, and right-wing extremists were responsible for every single one.
This past week, there was consternation directed at the New York Times for its egregious mistake in publishing anti-Semitic images. The New York Times has acknowledged on its error on three occasions, taken swift action to address it, and unequivocally denounced anti-Semitism.
While we wish this incident had not occurred, we also caution against conflating it with the incident in Poway. Just like the murderer of 11 Jewish worshipers in Pittsburgh, the perpetrator of the Poway attack was a white nationalist armed with an AR-15. President Trump and Republicans in Congress have done nothing to combat either element of this lethal equation. This is a real national emergency, and a real and present danger to the Jewish community.
There must be change on both sides of this equation before more people lose their lives at the hands of bigotry and hatred. That means demanding our leaders take meaningful action to fight white supremacy, combat all forms of intolerance, and enact common-sense gun safety legislation. Read on to find out what JDCA did this week, and how you can take action with us, including by becoming a member of JDCA and joining our upcoming conference call with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).
Take Action With JDCA
- On Thursday, May 9, from 4:15-5:00 pm JDCA will host a call with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who will discuss steps Congress is taking to defend our democracy given the findings of the Mueller Report. This call, the second in our “pursuit of justice” call series, is open exclusively to JDCA members, and we encourage you to become a member in order to join the call today.
- Demand the Senate pass universal background checks and enact gun safety reforms by sending a letter to your senators today.
JDCA Speaking Out
- We reaffirmed our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, hate crimes, and gun violence in the aftermath of the Poway shootings.
- We remembered the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Shoah: We will never forget and reaffirm our commitment to “never again.”
- We reflected on the lessons of Passover and asserted that President Trump has made Jews less secure in an op-ed on NBCNews.com. Hours later, a gunman entered the Poway Chabad. For a postscript to the op-ed, see here.
These are just a fraction of our activities. Every week brings challenges, and every week, we meet them. Stay informed in real-time by following JDCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that you don’t miss anything, including briefing calls and events.
Chair, Jewish Democratic Council of America
Executive Director, Jewish Democratic Council of America