IS “NEVER AGAIN” NOW?

After the murder of an innocent person attending Sabbath prayers, anti-Semitism in the United States continues to rise, and the Jewish community asks, has “Never Again!” turned into “Never Is NOW?”

Aired on April 29, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

WE'RE ALL PARTNERS IN CREATION, NO MATTER WHAT FAITH OR RELIGION YOU'RE FROM, WE ALL HAVE TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO PREVENT THIS FROM EVER HAPPENING AGAIN.

GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

SATURDAY'S ATTACK AT A CHABAD OF POWAY SYNAGOGUE NEAR SAN DIEGO HAPPENED EXACTLY SIX MONTHS TO THE DAY THAT 11 WORSHIPERS WERE KILLED AT THE TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE IN PITTSBURGH.

THE SHOOTING ALSO OCCURRED AS 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' WAS ADMONISHED AND LATER APOLOGIZED FOR PUBLISHING THIS ILLUSTRATION, ONE THAT MANY SAY IS SIMILAR TO ANTI-JEWISH PROPAGANDA SEEN IN NAZI GERMANY.

THE STATISTICS SUPPORT IT.

ANTI-SEMITISM IN AMERICA IS GROWING.

THE QUESTION IS WHY NOW, AND HOW DO WE GET A HANDLE ON THE HATE.

JOINING ME NOW WITH INSIGHT IS RABBI MARK WILDS, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE MANHATTAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE, AND EVAN BERNSTEIN, REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE.

GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO YOU BOTH TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

FIRST, AGAIN, I ALWAYS START BY ASKING WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO HEARING ABOUT THIS LATEST SHOOTING AT A SYNAGOGUE.

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I JUST WANT TO EXPRESS OUR CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF LORI, WHO IS AN EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN IN RABBI GOLDSTEIN'S COMMUNITY, THE SYNAGOGUE THAT WAS ATTACKED.

THE FIRST REACTION OBVIOUSLY IS SHOCK AND HORROR, AGAIN.

THIS KEEPS HAPPENING.

AND AS SOMEONE WHO CONDUCTS SERVICES EVERY SHABBAT, AS I WALK TO SYNAGOGUE, I'M ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT THIS NOW.

IT'S ON MY MIND.

BUT MY REACTION IS THE SAME ONE AS THE VERY HEROIC RABBI, WHO CALLED FOR MORE PEOPLE TO COME TO SERVICES THIS COMING SABBATH, THIS COMING SHABBAT.

HE DIDN'T JUST CALL FOR JEWS BUT MEMBERS OF ALL FAITH TO ATTEND THEIR HOUSES OF WORSHIP, BECAUSE WE CANNOT BE DISMAYED OR DETERRED.

TERRORISM AT THE END OF THE DAY HAS TO BE CONFRONTED AND WE CAN'T BE LIVING IN FEAR.

WE NEED TO DO WHAT THE RABBI CALLED US TO DO WHICH IS COME BACK.

AND THE RABBI HAS SOME INCREDIBLY COMPELLING WORDS AND STORIES ABOUT THAT DAY.

EVAN, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD ABOUT THIS?

GOING INTO SHABBAT WAS PASSOVER.

AFTER WHAT HAPPENED IN PITTSBURGH JUST SIX MONTHS EARLIER, GOING IN, KNOWING IT WAS SIX MONTHS ANNIVERSARY, YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT THOSE THINGS.

AND THE LAST THING YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT IS COMING OUT OF SHABBAT AND HEARING ABOUT ANOTHER SHOOTING, AND ESPECIALLY JUST WE'VE SEEN SO MANY OF THESE KINDS OF ACTS OF HATE IN HOUSES OF WORSHIP AROUND THE GLOBE, IN THE UNITED STATES, FROM THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY TO THE MUSLIM FAITH.

AGAIN, LIKE RABBI SAID, THE CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY, TO THE RABBI, TO LORI'S FAMILY.

IT'S JUST DEVASTATION AGAIN FOR THE JEWISH COMMUNITY, NOT ONLY IN SAN DIEGO, BUT ACROSS THE GLOBE.

I THINK THERE IS JUST A GENERAL FEAR NOW.

SO MANY PEOPLE I'VE SPOKEN TO ARE REALLY THINKING TWICE ABOUT GOING TO SYNAGOGUE ON SHABBAT.

AND THAT'S THE LAST THING THAT RABBI GOLDSTEIN WANTS AND THE LAST THING THE COMMUNITY WANTS.

I THINK WE NEED AS A STRONG COMMUNITY COME TOGETHER AND STAND UP TO THIS KIND OF HATE AND SHOW THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE DETERRED FROM BEING JEWISH AND BEING FAITHFUL TO OUR RELIGION.

BUT THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID ABOUT THE RISE IN WHITE NATIONALISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM AT THE SAME TIME IN THIS COUNTRY.

AS I MENTIONED IN THE LEAD, THERE WAS A VERY UNFORTUNATE, I DON'T EVEN KNOW, DISGUSTING IMAGE THAT WAS PUBLISHED IN 'THE NEW YORK TIMES,' AND THAT SEEMS TO BE FEEDING INTO THE SAME SORT OF NARRATIVE AS IT'S BECOMING, I DON'T WANT TO SAY NORMALIZED, BUT WE'RE SEEING IT MORE AND MORE.

SO I'M WONDERING FOR BOTH OF YOU, WHERE ARE YOU SEEING THE AMERICAN ZEITGEIST FOR LACK OF BETTER DESCRIPTION AROUND THE SUBJECT OF HATE?

FOR 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' TO PUBLISH BOTH IN PRINT AND ONLINE A CARTOON LIKE THAT, THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRIME MINISTER OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL, WHETHER YOU LIKE HIM OR NOT, HE IS A LEADER, AND HE WAS ELECTED BY A MAJORITY VOTE AND HIS PEOPLE.

AND FOR 'THE NEW YORK TIMES,' THAT KIND OF PUBLICATION TO PRINT SUCH A REALLY DISGUSTING AND DISGRACEFUL CARTOON, IT JUST BEGINS TO LEGITMATE AND TO MAKE IT OKAY TO DEPICT CERTAIN LEADERS IN A CERTAIN KIND OF WAY.

I'M ALL FOR FREE SPEECH.

FREE SPEECH IS AN INCREDIBLE PILLAR OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY, AS IT IS IN ISRAEL AND OTHER DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

WE CANNOT GIVE UP ON FREE SPEECH, BUT WE HAVE TO BE RESPECTFUL BECAUSE THERE ARE CRAZIES THROUGHOUT WHO SOMEHOW CAN PERHAPS BE INSPIRED BY WHAT BECOMES A NORMALIZATION OF HATE.

AND EVAN, YOUR THOUGHTS.

SO MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE PERPETRATING THESE ACTS OF HATE ARE LONE WOLVES.

THEY'RE NOT PART OF ONE PARTICULAR GROUP, AND THEY ARE BEING RADICALIZED, ONI KNOW, WITH WHAT THEY'RE READING, WHAT THEY'RE SEEING.

'THE NEW YORK TIMES' PUBLISHED SUCH A HORRIFIC ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOON, THE KIND OF CARTOONS WE SEE RIGHT NOW IN MIDDLE EASTERN NEWSPAPERS, WHAT WE SAW DURING THE AGE OF THE HOLOCAUST IN EUROPE, IT WAS APPALLING, AND WE'RE SHOCKED BY IT.

BUT I THINK IT PLAYS TO WHAT'S GOING ON ALSO ON THE INTERNET.

WE'RE SEEING MANY MORE OF THESE KINDS OF MEMES AND IMAGES PUT OUT THERE.

WE HAVE TO HOLD PLATFORMS ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT'S GOING ON.

WE NEED TO HOLD 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' ACCOUNTABLE.

THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME SERIOUS LOOKING INTO, WHAT TOOK PLACE AND HOW THAT HAPPENED AND HOW THE EDITORIAL BOARD LET THAT HAPPEN.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME.

IT'S MAYBE ONE OF THE MOST PROM MEANT TIME.

PEOPLE ARE SEEING THIS.

THEY'RE SEEING THESE KINDS OF ADS AND IT'S BECOMING NORMALIZED AND IT'S NORMAL FOR THEM TO ACT OUT ON IT.

PEOPLE ARE ACT OUT WITH WORDS ON BLOGS AND ON FACEBOOK AND ON TWITTER, BUT NOW CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE ACTING OUT WITH HATE AND WITH GUNS.

AND WE CANNOT ALLOW FOR THAT TO CONTINUE TO METASTASIZE ANY FURTHER THAN IT HAS.

I COULD GO SO MUCH DEEPER INTO THE PROBLEM OF THE RADICALIZATION ONLINE.

HOWEVER, I DO WANT TO TURN TO THE EXAMPLE THAT WE SAW ONE OF THE STORIES THAT CAME OUT OF THIS SHOOTING WAS THE EXAMPLE OF MS. KAYE, LORI KAYE WHO LOST HER LIFE.

I'M WONDERING IF THERE IS SOMETHING POSITIVE THAT WE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THIS STORY, AS HORRIFIC AS IT WAS, THE WAY THIS WOMAN LIVED HER LIFE, THE WAY SHE WAS ACTUALLY THE ONE WHO STEPPED IN FRONT OF THE BULLETS TO SAVE HER RABBI.

WHAT EVAN JUST MENTIONED BEFORE ABOUT COMING ON PASSOVER, WHICH IS THE CELEBRATION OF OUR FREEDOM.

AND NOT ONLY THAT, BUT LORI CAME TO SYNAGOGUE TO RECITE A SPECIAL PRAYER THAT'S SAID ON THE LAST DAY OF THE HOLIDAY, TO REMEMBER HER FAMILY THAT IS NOT WITH HER.

AND I THINK AS THE RABBI SAID, RABBI GOLDSTEIN OF THE SYNAGOGUE, WE WANT TO DO SOMETHING POSITIVE WITH SOMETHING NEGATIVE.

WE WANT TO REACT.

IN JUDAISM, THEOLOGICALLY, WE DON'T PRETEND TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS FOR EVERYTHING.

ONE OF MY TEACHERS USED TO SAY WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS, THE JEW DOESN'T ASK WHY, BECAUSE SOMETIMES THAT'S AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY.

WE DON'T ALWAYS REALLY KNOW WHY, BUT WE ALWAYS ASK WHAT.

WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THE SWAYS.

AND WHAT CAN WE DO THE W THE LEGACY AND MEMORY OF THIS GREAT WOMAN, WHO BY THE WAY WAS THE ONE WHO SECURED THE LOAN FOR THIS SYNAGOGUE THAT WAS ATTACKED, 35 YEARS AGO.

THIS WOMAN WAS DEVOTED TO HER COMMUNITY FOR GIVING AND TO STANDING UP AND PROTECTING HER RABBI AND HER TEACHER.

IF WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO SOMETHING POSITIVE WITH THAT, THAT WOULD JUST BE A TERRIBLE SHAME.

SHE DID NOT DIE IN VAIN.

AND ONE OF THE WAYS TO MAKE SURE SHE DIDN'T IS TO COME OUT MORE TO OUR HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND TO DO RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS AND TO LIVE THE KIND OF LIFE THAT LORI LIVED.

EVAN, VERY QUICKLY, BECAUSE WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

I KNOW YOU HAVE DONE SO MUCH WORK ABOUT REACHING OUT TO OTHER FAITH-BASED GROUPS TO TRY TO CREATE THOSE CONNECTIONS AND CREATE THOSE CONVERSATIONS.

IS THAT THE DIRECTION THAT WE NEED TO BE HEADED?

WE NEED TO FIND EVERY DIRECTION POSSIBLE.

WHERE DOES HATE COME FROM?

ANTI-SEMITISM DOESN'T PARTICULARLY COME FROM INSIDE THE JEWISH COMMUNITY.

IT COMES FROM OUTSIDE THE JEWISH COMMUNITY.

A LOT OF TIMES WE TRY TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM IN AN ECHO CHAMBER.

WHAT WE NEED TO THE IS GET OUT TO THE OTHER WHETHER IT'S THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY, OTHER COMMUNITIES, SEEK COMMUNITIES AND HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON.

HATE IS A LEARNED BEHAVIOR.

UNLESS WE HAVE CONVERSATIONS WER WITH OTHER PEOPLE, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO PUSH BACK IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.

WE NEED TO START IN SCHOOLS AND OTHER HOUSES OF WORSHIP OTHER THAN OUR OWN SO THESE KIND OF THINGS DON'T HAPPEN AND WE CONTINUE TO STAND TOGETHER.

I THINK ONE THING THAT CAN HAPPEN FROM THIS IS THERE HAS BEEN SO MANY OF THESE KINDS OF SHOOTINGS THAT THERE IS A FATIGUE AS YOU MENTIONED EARLIER ABOUT THESE KIND OF THINGS HAPPENING.

THE ONLY WAY THAT WE KNOW WE HAVE THAT FATIGUE IS WHEN WE ALL STAND TOGETHER.

UNIFIED, ONE STRONG VOICE, AND I THINK BASED ON THIS HORRIFIC ACT THAT TOOK PLACE IN SAN DIEGO, WE'VE SEEN THAT KIND OF OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT, ESPECIALLY IN THE SAN DIEGO COMMUNITY.

BUT WE NEED TO CONTINUE THAT ACROSS THIS COUNTRY.

I THINK THAT'S AN EXCELLENT NOTE TO LEAVE IT ON.

GENTLEMEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US ON 'METROFOCUS' TO DISCUSS ANOTHER HARD, HARD WEEKEND WE'VE BEEN THROUGH.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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