Using the Anti-Semitism Pamphlet

Dear wide world changers,

Hopefully by now most of you have ordered and received a copy of our new pamphlet: Anti Semitism: Why Is It Everyone’s Concern? If you haven’t ordered it yet, you can order it online. Go to Rational Island Publishers, ; for the subject, type in AntiSemitism (with no hyphen).

The following are two possible ways to use the pamphlet:

1) Use it to discharge in sessions about your early memories of anti-Semitism.

When did you first learn about anti-Semitism? Did those around you (Jews or non-Jews) talk openly about anti-Semitism or hide talking about it? For example, my dad changed our family name from Brownstein to Brown, in 1941—in the middle of the Holocaust and before having children. Yet when I was a teenager and asked him if he’d changed our name because of his fear about anti-Semitism, he denied that it had anything to do with anti-Semitism. He said he just thought it would be easier in school for his children to have a shorter name!

What happened in your family around facing anti-Semitism?

What was an “aha” moment [a moment of sudden comprehension] for you about anti-Semitism—a painful moment when you realized it is real? My “aha” moment was at the United Nations Conference on Racism, in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, when I saw literature tables selling pins that said, “Hitler didn’t do enough of his job.”

2) Give the pamphlet to friends and colleagues, and make sure you set a time after they’ve read it to talk about it.

The following are some of my examples:

  • I gave it to a non-Jewish friend a week ago. She was in France and said that after reading the pamphlet she was seeing anti-Semitism in lots of places whereas before she had been oblivious.
  • My husband’s Co-Counselor left a copy on the coffee table for his daughter’s boyfriend (who lives with them and is not Jewish). The boyfriend read it, and they ended up having a two-hour conversation about anti-Semitism.
  • I sent it to my brother, who is not particularly engaged in being a Jew. He called me last week and said he had read it through twice and had a question: “Why were Jews the ones who got set up to be targeted?” We had our first conversation ever about anti-Semitism.
  • Here is my most exciting example: I will be leading a series of workshops at the end of January for Jewish students, and student government leaders and campus administrators, on a college campus where there has been an outbreak of anti-Semitism following the passage of a BDS resolution. [BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—a movement to put economic and political pressure on Israel to change its policies toward Palestinians.] None of the administrators have known how to deal with the anti-Semitism that has come up. I sent a copy of the pamphlet to the Hillel rabbi who is bringing me to campus. She said that the executive committee of the student government, almost all non-Jews, are drafting a resolution to promote the events I will be leading and are basing three paragraphs on the pamphlet:

Whereas, anti-Semitism is the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of Jews, and over their long history the Jewish people have been the target of both violent and subtle forms of persecution, including discrimination, expulsions, and genocide; AND

Whereas, anti-Semitism is rarely included as a type of oppression or social justice issue and is usually not mentioned in speeches or platforms at political marches and rallies; AND

Whereas, anti-Semitism divides Jews from other groups and slows down the work of many liberation movements . . .

I’m excited about all the ways, big and small, that the pamphlet can help us in our sessions and in all of our liberation work.

I would love to hear how you are using it. What are you discharging on in your sessions? How are you using the pamphlet in RC classes and support groups, and outside RC, to get people working on anti-Semitism? What other ways are you using it? Every contact matters. Just giving the pamphlet to someone and having a conversation about anti-Semitism is important and is good to share.

Let’s make 2018 a year to use the anti-Semitism pamphlet to move all of our liberation work forward.

Cherie Brown

International Liberation Reference Person for Jews

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion lists for leaders of Jews and for leaders of wide world change

(Present Time 191, April 2018)

Last modified: 2018-07-29 12:16:36+00