Forum: Community Members Talk About the Current State of Anti-Semitism

9 Jun
In the May issue of the Jewish News, we asked the question: What are your thoughts on the current state of anti-Semitism?

Dr. John Walker

“When evil men plot, good men must plan.  When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.  When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.  Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.” (Dr. Martin L. King Jr.)

   Recently I was blessed with an opportunity to co-moderate a panel on anti-semitism at the Florida Studio Theater.  It afforded me the opportunity to become enlightened with the data provided concerning anti-Semitism around the world and particularly on college campuses right here in these United States of America.
This is the land where humankind is supposed to be treated equally regardless of race, gender, age, portfolio, or faith tradition.
Yet, how can any person with faith or morals continue sit in silence when those who are supposed to be change agents for the new century continue to spread the same hate verbiage regarding people who are different from themselves, specifically, the Jewish community? They are as hypocritical with their statements of justice as those who believe another group in humanity does not have the right to exist.  As a faith community, this is intolerable.  We must stand together to fight such bigotry and strive to build Dr. King’s “Beloved Community”.

As one who belongs to a people who have been disenfranchised since our ancestors’ feet touched this continent, I understand the hurt behind the hatred that ignorance continues to perpetuate among what is supposed to be a civilized society.  Racism, sexism, anti-semitism or any other form of prejudice and/or phobias are all the same. The motive is hatred and the root of hatred is evil.
It’s a sad commentary to hear the young minds of future leaders preach the rhetoric of hatred that existed in past centuries. It should be on college campuses where hope for a new paradigm of a “Beloved Community” finds its genesis among young minds.  By this time in human history, these young minds should see humanity as one, thereby engineering bridges that will bring us together.  However, to suggest and agree that a group of people should not exist not only shows one’s paucity of understanding, it also tells the rest of society one’s lack of capacity to reason.
As anti-Semitic verbiage and violence rise in the world and particularly on college campuses, this is time where “good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”  We must now stand and speak out against injustice and hatred everywhere. Anti-semitism is not a Jewish problem. It is a problem for humanity.

Dr. John Walker is the head pastor at Bethel CME Church in Sarasota. He is a past participant on The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Interfaith Mission to Israel and a member of the Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative Executive Committee.


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