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Rosensweig: Standing against the anti-Semites at the gates

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Pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Anti-Semitism is on the rise. That is a statement that’s regularly being made around the world – and right here at home.

If anti-Semitism is indeed on the upswing, what are we to do? For one, there is no doubt that our entire community needs to play a role in fighting the Jew-haters. It does not suffice for a few organizations, with the help of the police, to fend off those who are intent on causing us harm.

If Jewish organizations, big and small, take that approach – one in which a handful of professionals and lay leaders spearhead the fight – they will undermine our safety and security, as the response will likely be great and not something they can handle on their own.

Every single Jew must step up to this fight and determine what role he or she can play to undercut the nasty anti-Semitism – whether on campus, on our streets, in our places of work or anywhere else where people draw upon Jewish stereotypes.

The organizations must assist us – the average Canadian Jews – in figuring out how we can counter those who bash Israel and the Jewish people. That should be the task of their leadership – to direct us en masse, so no Jew is helpless or left to feel unprotected; so no Jew is left on the sidelines.

We cannot protest hatred at indoor rallies, as we’ve often done in the past, but must instead go outdoors and look the anti-Semites in the eye. Of course, pregnant mothers, children and the frail should stay home, but they too can orchestrate an arm of the battle – perhaps through communication.

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Non-Jews must also be recruited into our army, as most appreciate the Jewish people and will fight with us, if given the chance to protest the filth spewed by those who despise us and call for the ovens.

Young people who have gone to Israel for free, or those who have travelled to concentration camps, must use the lessons they learned while on those trips to live up to the promise of Never Again.

Our soldiers need to come from all denominations and all crannies of the Canadian Jewish community. Bravery and courage must be at the forefront of our army, even if we have not been trained to be brave and courageous.

The online fight has to include a number of our community members who are technologically savvy. Others must guard our institutions, including shuls, perhaps on a nightly basis.

Many of us have spent decades studying the Holocaust, reading Anne Frank, viewing Schindler’s List, visiting Yad Vashem and listening to the heart-wrenching, heart-breaking stories of survivors. We have attended lectures at shuls, schools and events where the keynote speaker was a Holocaust expert, and we have donated our hard-earned money to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

We did all of this so that we would remember. And part of the reason we knew it was so important to remember, is so we would be ready should the anti-Semites rise up again. That time is now.

In the past, people would hurt us, then other people would hurt us, then they would kill us. We never really had the means to stop them. But now we do.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise, again. It’s up to us to fight the fight. So let’s do it – all of us.