We will be back in touch in the not-too-distant future with a new date, but for now, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well,
As any dedicated news junkie knows, people are talking about fake news—and that includes what you think about people from different religions. But have you ever asked yourself…
- Is “fake news” even real?
- Or is it a falsity in itself?
- If it’s real…is it influencing me and what I think?
- Are my opinions really based in fact?
To answer these questions and more (with you!), we’re hosting The (Dis)Information Session: The Impact of Fake News on Religious Communities, a free live webinar conversation and interactive training, on March 19 from 5 – 7 pm EST.
It’s time to think critically but openly about the hard issues that confront us, our communities, and our world.
In a 2005 resolution, the U.N. designated January 27 as Holocaust Remembrance Day—and condemned without reserve all manifestations of religious violence. Today, our remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust is unavoidably followed by more recent memories—of Jersey City, of Halle, of Pittsburgh—but also a convicting desire to combat their source. In a recent evening of our “Courageous Conversations” series, we applied a variety of perspectives—religion, media, ideology, politics—to reach the same conclusive response: a key way to confront anti-Semitism is to start with a conversation.
A bigotry as pervasive as anti-Semitism requires a multi-layered analysis to grasp—and even then, its roots go much deeper than many realize. But the panelists for our Confronting Hate event provided helpful insights to begin this process of understanding.
Georgette Bennett, our President and Founder, opened with a moving speech on the new biography of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum and how Marc’s work fighting hate is relevant to this critical moment in history.
For example, Georgette described Marc’s emphasis on the link between verbal violence and physical violence. She also denounced silence in the face of atrocity as implicit permission for these kinds of hate crimes, and challenged the audience to imitate Marc’s practice of engaging with people holding opposite viewpoints in open—and respectful—conversation. She noted, Marc was slow to call someone an “anti-Semite” but quick to condemn “anti-Semitism.”
A stimulating panel discussion followed. Judy Banki, an expert in Jewish-Catholic relations, discussed her work with Rabbi Tanenbaum including Nostra Aetate at Vatican Council II. TM Garret shared his personal story as a former white supremacist, and Muslim investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed explained how the far-right white supremacist movement affects politics around the world.
Judy spoke of her encounters with Catholic anti-Semitism, both personally and professionally, from pre-Vatican II to now. She explained how it was present in textbooks, films and even prayers, and how Nostre Aetate helped start a process of changes. She detailed how this has changed, how it has not—and the work it took to get here.
TM’s powerful sharing revealed how he progressed from hateful jokes, to hate speech, to white supremacy, and into full-blown anti-Semitism. He made the distinction between leaving a hate group and leaving hate—how his bigotry did not end fully for over a decade after resigning as a leader of a KKK group and leaving the white supremacy community behind. It was only then, that he was finally able to confront his anti-Semitism.
Nafeez discussed how he investigated the shift in far-right movements on both sides of the Atlantic from their traditional anti-Semitism to their adoption of Islamophobic positions as well. He explained that far-right political groups often make a point of publicly denouncing anti-Semitism and Nazism (i.e., publicly disassociating from their historical, anti-Semitic roots), but then continue to support neo-Nazi groups and anti-Semitic stereotypes. Nafeez thus concludes that contemporary prejudice against racial and religious minorities, no matter what is said on the surface, is still deeply rooted in anti-Semitism.
 Confronting Hate: The Untold Story of the Rabbi Who Stood Up for Human Rights, Racial Justice, and Religious Reconciliation is sold by Tanenbaum at a discounted price, to make it available to people who wish to read it.
Tonight is the night to join us at “Confronting Hate: Examining Anti-Semitism Through Religious and Ideological World Views.” Please see below for some important information and reminders.
If you are joining us in person, the doors will open at 6:00 pm. This Courageous Conversation will take place from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at One Spirit Learning Alliance (247 West 36th St, 6th floor). Please check-in at our registration table upon arrival.
If you are joining us remotely, please click the link below to join the webinar via Zoom:
US: +1 646 876 9923
Webinar ID: 637 416 6188
Please be advised that this webinar will be recorded live and will be posted online following the event.
Food for the event is sponsored by Khyber Pass. The Courageous Conversation event series is made possible thanks to our partners at the Nissan Foundation!
Please contact Dasha Tanner, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
In the year since the Tree of Life massacre, 12 white supremacists were arrested for targeting, planning to target or threatening attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions. There were also other threats, as worldwide anti-Semitism continued to multiply.
That is the dark side of a global story that has not stopped unfolding after the deadly shooting in Pittsburgh. But there is another story. The story of international outrage and collective action as allies and upstanders unify against the hatred. We saw it after Tree of Life, and we saw it just few weeks ago yet again. On Yom Kippur, a synagogue in Halle, Germany was targeted by a gunman, and Anti anti-Semitism protests emerged across Germany by the thousands.
We need to stand up together. And to do this we must be armed with the information, and the resources to respond to those who pursue hate. That’s why, as part of Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign, we are honoring Pittsburgh’s tragic anniversary by sharing our newest fact sheet—Anti-Semitism – What, Where and Why.
We ask you to check it out and let us know what you think. And then please share it with friends, allies and those who think differently from you. Because we all have a lot to learn. And together, we are stronger than hate.
With reflection & hope,
As many of you know, I am Jewish. That’s why I was in Temple on Yom Kippur, when a gunman in Germany again tried to slaughter Jews as they prayed. He did not succeed in getting into the synagogue where over 50 worshippers sat together.
So he took his hate out on others nearby, apparently trying to fulfill the pledge he made in his online manifesto. “If I fail and die, but kill a single Jew, it was worth it…After all, if every White man kills just one, we win.”
My Rabbi condemned this violent act of anti-Semitism, as she remembered Pittsburgh and Poway.
Jews around the world—including in the U.S.—are at risk because of anti-Semitism. And horrifically, so are many others. This hate is not limited to targeting my Jewish community. It affects Muslims and Christians in countries all around the world. It targets Bahá’ís and Sikhs and Hindus.
Anti-Semitism reflects these wider social trends. It is often referred to as the “canary in the coal mine,” and often indicates a rise in stereotyping, demonizing others and widespread bigotry and hate.
And that’s why we are addressing this issue on November 14th, during a courageous conversation called Confronting Hate: Examining Anti-Semitism through Religious and Ideological World Views. It’s time to tackle violence against Jews head-on—and how it can fuel hatred against so many others.
We must stand together as allies to condemn anti-Semitism. And to protect one another.
Joyce S. Dubensky
In the days following September 11, 2001, our nation experienced an outpouring of support, generosity, and empathy from our neighbors and every corner of the globe. Today, there are children for whom September 11th is a moment only experienced through textbooks. But, for many of us, it is still a time to remember the 3,000+ lives lost and to reflect on how our way of life has changed.
I still remember when I could go to a meeting in NYC and not having to go through security. A time when we were not worried about terrorism; when Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Sikh hate crimes were far less out in the open.
September 11th marked a time of change and challenges with which we, as a nation, are still grappling. That’s why it’s important to remember, to learn from that seminal moment, and to move forward together.
I’m proud that Tanenbaum can be a resource as we navigate emerging extremism and hate. For those who still care about the facts, for educators, clergy and community leaders, we offer some easy-to-use materials, including:
- Our September 11 Fact Sheet is an easy-to-use resource highlighting the facts and history of 9/11.
- To understand terrorism, we offer our Talking Terrorism Fact Sheet for more information about global terrorism, as well as our White Supremacy fact sheet (because more Americans have died at the hands of white domestic terrorists since 2001 than any other type of terrorist attack in our country).
With a commitment to truth and justice,
“They want them to put on Chinese clothing and eat Chinese diet, which includes trying to force the Muslims to eat pork,” King said. “That’s actually the only part of that that I agree with, everybody ought to eat pork. If you have a shortage of bacon, you can’t be happy.”
Taken in context, it appears that Rep. King may have thought he was bringing attention to the issue, while also attempting to make an inside joke to his constituents. Iowa is the top pork-producing state in the U.S. However, this is also not the first time King has scorned Islam’s dietary restrictions. In a 2018 Breitbart interview when discussing his district’s meatpacking plants, he objected to the plants employing Somali Muslims, saying,
“I don’t want people doing my pork that won’t eat it, let alone hope I go to hell for eating pork chops.”
While King is not the only American lawmaker who has made Problematic Statements, this is also not the first time that King’s statements have sparked controversy. He has been condemned by his Democratic and Republican colleagues alike for his repeated use of Islamophobia, anti-Semitic, and white supremacist rhetoric.
And that rhetoric is dangerous. At Tanenbaum, we understand the devastating effects rhetoric such as this can cause, often with devastating and deadly consequences.
Tanenbaum unequivocally condemns Islamophobia and all forms of religious bigotry. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and xenophobia, and hold not just our elected representatives—but ourselves and everyone around us—to higher standards.
You can be part of the solution. Together we can create a groundswell of credible, responsible voices against religious hate. One way is to use our Combating Extremism resources, Explaining Extremism and Addressing Islamophobia and Five Ways to Counter Extremism on Social Media for practical approaches to opposing and discussing extremism.
Joyce S. Dubensky
This weekend left no time to grieve. Instead, there was only time for fear. More Americans have died at the hands of white domestic terrorists since 2001 than from any other type of terrorist attack in our country. Men, women and children of every religion, race, nationality, age, gender, ethnicity, sex and class are being gunned down at school, shopping and during prayer. And many of us no longer feel safe.
It’s time to understand the phenomenon that spurs on white terrorism, to recognize the many ways it is fueled (including through social media) and to do something. If you haven’t yet read our overview of White Supremacy, I encourage you to do so now. And when you’re ready to respond, consider our resource 5 Ways to Combat Extremism on Social Media—because we’re all responsible for finding a pathway back to safety and communities where differences are respected.
Did you know that 8 in 10 Americans correctly answer questions about Christian traditions? But that less than 3 out of 10 Americans are familiar with some basic facts about other religions—including Judaism? (See the Pew Research Center’s new poll: What Americans Know about Religion).Given the surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes being reported, those statistics are particularly disturbing. We’d like to know what you think about anti-Semitism: what it is, where it shows up and why there’s so much of it.
Please spend just a few minutes and take our short anti-Semitism survey!
With respectful curiosity,
Joyce S. Dubensky