“Anti-Semitism is not just a Republican problem or a Democrat problem … the fight against anti-Semitism bridges the political divide. United we stand, divided we fall,” said Republican Jewish Coalition chairman and former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman.
(JNS) More than 3,000 people from across the country gathered near the U.S. Capitol on Sunday to stand in solidarity against the rising tide of anti-Semitism across the United States.
“No Fear: A Rally in Solidarity With the Jewish People” was organized by more than 100 Jewish and interfaith organizations from across the political and religious spectrum, under the leadership of business executive Elisha Wiesel, son of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.
“Looking out at all of you today, it becomes clear that instead of dividing us, the enemies of the Jewish people—whether from the right or the left, at home or abroad—have instead united us,” Wiesel told the crowd.
“Here we stand, a coalition of Jews and our allies from all backgrounds, all political beliefs and all religious affiliations, who have come together to stand up to anti-Semitism,” he said. “This coalition will not be silenced whether Jews are facing violence in Los Angeles, or Brooklyn, or Paris or Tel Aviv. It won’t be silent whether Jews are being attacked in our synagogues, on our streets, on our campuses or on the floor of the House of Representatives.”
In a show of unity, Joshua Washington, executive director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, and Rabbi Menachem Creditor, UJA Federation of New York scholar in residence, appeared on stage together and led the crowd in singing, “Kol Ha’Olam Kulo Gesher Tzar Meod,” meaning, “The whole entire world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is to have no fear at all.”
The event included speeches from Deputy Assistant to the President Biden Erika Moritsugu; TV host Meghan McCain; Israeli actress and author Noa Tishby; Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) chairman and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.); Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) chairman and former Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.); former U.S. Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein; Arizona State Rep. Alma Hernandez; and numerous faith and grassroots leaders.
“As President [Joe] Biden so often says, ‘silence is complicity,’ ” said Moritsugu. “Each and every one of you attending this rally today in person or virtually understands that shared responsibility to come together, speak out and fight the evil of anti-Semitism. The Biden-Harris administration stands with you and the Jewish community.”
Wiesel thanked the Biden administration for sending Moritsugu and “for the way that the White House stood with Israel” during the recent hostilities with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “I think the president and the White House deserve our appreciation,” he added.
Sharing the stage with Klein, Coleman declared, “Anti-Semitism is not just a Republican problem or a Democrat problem, and Republicans and Democrats share a common interest in calling it out when we see it, even when it’s in our own backyard … the fight against anti-Semitism bridges the political divide. United we stand, divided we fall.”
“It cannot be a norm in America for Jews or any other religion, racial or ethnic group to be slandered, libeled or physically assaulted,” said Klein. “Today, we stand together as elected leaders from both political parties, faith leaders, business and community leaders, to send a message that anti-Semitism has no place in America or anywhere in the world.”
Participants also heard from victims of anti-Semitism, including Tree of Life Synagogue’s Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Pittsburgh; Illinois students Daniel and Talia Raab; Los Angeles resident Matthew Haverim; and Boston Rabbi Shlomo Noginski, who survived a stabbing attack outside a Jewish day school just 10 days ago.
“Last week, my body was injured, and I still need a lot of medication and treatment, but my soul and my spirit are strong,” said the rabbi. “We will defend ourselves, we will fight anti-Semitism, we will emerge with our heads held high … but our true answer is that we will love one another through expressions and acts of consideration and kindness.”
Noginski pledged to open a new Jewish education center where he will ordain eight new rabbis. “For every one of the eight stabs that the terrorist managed to penetrate into my body, we will ordain a new rabbi to serve hundreds … he wanted to kill one rabbi, we will make sure to [add] eight more.”
A number of major Jewish and interfaith organizations participated as presenting sponsors, including the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Alliance for Israel, American Zionist Movement, B’nai B’rith International, Baltimore Zionist District, Birthright Israel Foundation, Combat Antisemitism Movement, Hadassah, Hillel, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan D.C., Jewish Council Public Affairs, Jewish Democratic Council of America, Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish National Fund USA, Mercaz USA, Orthodox Union, Rabbinical Assembly, Republican Jewish Coalition, StandWithUs, the Israel Forever Foundation, the Jewish Agency for Israel, UJA-Federation of New York, Union for Reforwashingm Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, World Jewish Congress–North America, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Israel Bonds, Zionist Rabbinic Coalition, International March of the Living, Jewish Future Pledge, MASA, Simon Wiesenthal Center, JCC Association and National Coalition Supporting European Jewry.
Elisha Wiesel, business executive and the son of the late Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, speaks at the “No Fear: A Rally in Solidarity With the Jewish People” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 11, 2021. Credit: Chris Kleponis.
Rabbi Shlomo Noginski, who was targeted by a terrorist in Boston for being a Jew, speaks at the “No Fear: A Rally in Solidarity With the Jewish People” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 11, 2021. Credit: Chris Kleponis.