IS “NEVER AGAIN” NOW?

April 30, 2019 at 4:30 am

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.

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>> 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.

Mutual of America PSEG

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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