By Amy Zewe—
Well, some if it is, and demonstratively so!
Whether or not you personally agree with the environmental movement—of which there are many degrees—when environmentalists veer into antisemitic behavior, we need to pay attention.
Conservation of the earth is indeed a mandate to us from God. We are to be proper stewards of the earth, but we are not to worship it or put the perceived needs of nature above human wellness. This is a debate I can have with far-left environmentalists all day long. However, this is not the purpose of this report.
Regardless of the particular vantage point and level of outspoken activism an environmental group has and what it is protesting, excluding Jewish organizations that may have the same adgenda is a form of antisemitism. In a classic demonstration of intersectionality, the Sunrise DC group, a progressive climate activist group, called to ban three “Zionists” groups from a voting right rally.
“Zionism is incompatible with statehood and political sovereignty.” They said its statement: Sunrise DC called for the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition to consider removing the three Jewish groups from its member list.
Sunrise DC, an affiliate of the national group the Sunrise Movement, aims to organize youth to protest against climate change. They tweeted a statement last week stating that it has declined its speaking slot at an October Freedom to Vote Rally in DC because of the inclusion of Jewish organizations. The statement singled out the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA), National Council of Jewish Women and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC): All of whom were scheduled to participate at the rally and each of these groups support Zionism and the State of Israel.
The Sunrise DC statement includes notions about Israel that are one-sided and incorrect:
- Israel’s “occupation of the land of Palestine and its people.”
- Israel’s engagement in “violent oppressive tactics.”
- “As a colonial project, Israel routinely displaces Palestinians….”
- “It also treats all Palestinians, as well as black and brown Jewish-Israelis, as second-class citizens who have virtually no responsive representation in government.”
- They also take a side in the issue: “We stand with the people of Palestine and not with those who defend Israeli violence.”
- …the diatribe goes on.
The statement itself is filled with lies and mischaracterizations of the issues of region.
Moreover, this Sunrise organization works with American youth: this should be as alarming as the antisemitism it is openly espousing.
What is ironic is that Israel, as tiny as it is and sitting amidst hostile neighbors who wish to remove it from the map, has innovated some of the most environmental and climate-protecting innovations and solutions known to humanity. Compared to other first world nations, Israel uses its brain power and work ethic to innovate things like water desalination, water from air technology, electric airplanes, and many other environmental-friendly advancements. If you go to any of the neighboring nations, including Egypt and Lebanon and others, no other community takes as painstakingly good care of its greenspace, engages in pollution mitigation, conservation measures, and more.
Not only that, when it comes to voting rights, Israeli citizens of any ethnic origin are also free to vote in elections. Moreover, free to run and win elections. American Jews who support Israel and its right to exist are the embodiment of what the core values this Declaration for American Democracy coalition is supposed to be standing for.
So why else is Sunrise DC’s statement antisemitic? Let’s examine the response from Jewish groups:
The American Jewish Congress, in a statement, called Sunrise DC’s statement an “anti-democratic act”:
This move by the Sunrise Movement, a prominent organization dedicated to combating the dangers of climate change, is a brazen political power move. By making this decision, it is attempting to intimidate the organizers of the Freedom to Vote Rally into banning these Jewish organizations. This is deeply dangerous, as American Jews have fought for civil rights, civil liberties, the separation of church and state, and multiple other positions that have helped to make America a more just society. We American Jews have an equal right to share our voices, just as all Americans do. Silencing our voices, as the Sunrise Movement demands, is the antithesis of democracy.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington also put out a statement the day after the tweet, saying they were outraged at the situation and called the statement antisemitic, as the Sunrise DC’s opposition to Zionism is “a fundamental denial of the Jewish self-determination.”
I question the very core intent of Sunrise and Declaration for American Democracy as neither group has yet released any statements on the controversy.
The purpose of sharing this demonstration of antisemitism with you is not because you might agree or disagree with the voting rights or climate issues, but that this group that wants to “kick out the Zionists,” from participating in the causes. This reveals to you that antisemitism literally seeps into every agenda you can think of—far right to far left. Our celebrities and our news. Our Congress and social media. Be vigilant to recognize it and call it out. And be careful that when you engage in your own agenda and work with affiliate groups, vet them carefully. If you see but one ounce of antisemitism, do not excuse it or let it go for a greater cause. Call it out and remove yourself from that affiliation. Moreover, check out the organizations that are engaging your children and the young adults in your life. Many social issues need to be addressed in our society. And you may find a cause that your heart is drawn to. May your endeavors for any social issue be pure and driven by a biblically sound doctrine that includes no discrimination or antisemitism of any kind. Your cause may be advocated by a secular organization—which is fine as long as its tenets do not go against any of your core values and principles. Whether you are advocating for voting rights, race relations, environmental topics or more, intersectionality is rampant and we must only align ourselves with groups that do not violate any of our core Biblical values.
Shavua Tov, have a great week.