Dozens of Jewish groups plan Washington rally to raise awareness of antisemitism
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Fighting AntisemitismRally to be held Sunday, July 11, at 1 p.m.

Dozens of Jewish groups plan Washington rally to raise awareness of antisemitism

Tree of Life's Rabbi Jeffrey Myers will be one of the featured speakers at the rally on Capitol Hill.

Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers speaking at a vigil for the Tree of Life victims at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Photo by Joshua Franzos)
Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers speaking at a vigil for the Tree of Life victims at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Photo by Joshua Franzos)

Dozens of national and local Jewish organizations are banning together for “No Fear: A Rally in Solidarity With the Jewish People,” to be held on July 11 in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about growing antisemitism in person and online.

The rally will feature Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation; Israeli actress and author Noa Tishby; and Elisha Wiesel, son of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. Groups from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other major metropolitan areas plan to attend the 1 p.m. event on the west side of Capitol Hill. Free busing is being provided from several East Coast cities.

Myers — whose congregation was one of three targeted in an antisemitic massacre here on Oct. 27, 2018 — lamented the fact that a rally against antisemitism is necessary in 21st-century America.

“How tragic that we have to have a rally for this,” he told the Chronicle. “In America of all places, aren’t we done with antisemitism and so forth? The answer is ‘no.’”

The perpetuation of antisemitism, as well as other forms of racism and bigotry, “speaks to the failure of America to welcome immigrants,” Myers continued. “This goes back to the earliest days. America never welcomed immigrants.”

While Myers hesitated prior to accepting the invitation to speak at the rally — it’s a long drive, he said, and he will only be speaking for approximately five minutes — he recognized he had a responsibility to share words with those present, and to say “Dayenu.”

“I recognize that what happened at Tree of Life is a national symbol, a national horror, that this could happen in this day and age,” he said. “This is not just about Jews. This is about all minorities.”

When an “oppressive group goes after Jews,” Myers continued, history shows that other groups are also in danger, and that there is “moral decay in the country. We need to put our voices out there and reach out in friendship to other maligned groups to work together to end this infection.”

“As antisemitic attacks have become more frequent without commensurate responses from elected officials or other leaders, concern in the Jewish community and among our allies has reached a fever pitch,” said Melissa Landa, director of Alliance for Israel, which is spearheading the rally. “In my role as the director of a grassroots organization, I am contacted by people all over the country sharing their experiences with antisemitism and their frustrations that not enough is being done. So I decided to do something about it and call for a rally.”

She added that the Sunday gathering “represents a broad coalition of organizations that oppose antisemitism—crossing religious, racial, political and denominational boundaries, bringing together all who want their voices to be heard in the nation’s capital.”

Among the co-sponsors are the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith International, Jewish National Fund, Hadassah, Israel Forever Foundation, the Jewish Federation of North America, StandWithUs, World Jewish Congress of North America, Birthright Israel and the Combat Antisemitism Movement.

The Orthodox Union, Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogues of Conservative Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism and dozens of other organizations are also lending their support. PJC

Toby Tabachnick can be reached at ttabachnick@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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