On the eve of Passover, this year, like years past hasn’t been an easy one for Israel and the Jewish community. From the Iran threat to “friends” like J Street and Peter Beinart, the continued United Nations condemnations, or the latest boycott of dance and theatre companies like The Double Standard of Boycotting Batsheva or the European Anti-Semitism of 2 time Oscar winner actress Emma Thompson calling this week for Israel’s national theater company Habima to be withdrawn from the upcoming Globe Shakespeare Festival.
Thompson says Habima should be withdrawn due to “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory”, and she signed a letter asking that the invitation be withdrawn “..so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonization of occupied land.” Thompson has “no problem” with Hebrew being showcased as one of the 37 languages being highlighted at the play.
The fool Thompson, and her other colleagues who signed the letter are simply clear Anti-Semites. Banning dance and theatre? And the sheer gall to say they have “no problem” with Hebrew? Who are they to question Israel as they are silent about the involvement of groups from countries including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Russia and China all places where human rights are less than stellar. Hypocritical Thompson and her ilk are still silent about the thousands of Syrians who have been killed in the street by their government - it’s the “anti-Semitism of Men” as the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky stated so clearly.
Some in Europe kill Jews at schools in Toulouse, France – and others like Emma Thompson provide them support by calling for Jewish boycotts less than 70 years after 6 million of our people were killed in Europe. As Jabotinsky said at the Shaw Commission in 1930, and it’s still true today, Europe is that “zone of incurable anti-Semitism.” “A subjective revulsion against the Jew, powerful and permanent enough to become anything from a hobby to a religion.”
On the eve of Passover, it’s so important for the Jewish people to realize the answer to Anti-Semitism is to be proud, strong Jews in all we do. As Passover celebrates the miraculous exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Ancient Egypt, millions of Jews worldwide will celebrate Passover – including courtesy of Chabad in more than 80 countries, including two of the world's largest Seders in Katmandu, Nepal and Cusco, Peru.
In 1905 in “What are we to do?” Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote of "… one permanent assignment that is entrusted to each of us, old and young, men and women, educated and ignorant, as a group and as individuals; this assignment is the defence of our people's honor.”
The answer to the defense of our people's honor comes in so many ways today – the growth and strength of Chabad-Lubavitch, the world’s largest Jewish organization to ensure Jews have stronger observance and knowledge of our traditions to the vast success of programs like Birthright, to the fact that as Jews worldwide have Seders which end with “Next Year in Jerusalem”, we know that Jerusalem is a Jewish city controlled by a Jewish Israeli government – with the great Israel Defense Forces standing by and defending our people’s honor.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency.