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Intifada in North Carolina

In the face of violent Jew-hatred, Jewish leaders are silent.

What does Jew-hatred feel like? A punch in the gut. Literally. Let me explain.

On May 13, a “Nakba Day” rally was held in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was only one of many such rallies held throughout the U.S., including in Washington, D.C. and New York. These events are notorious for promoting Jew-hatred and genocide, so much so that Berlin banned “Nakba Day” demonstrations this year.

“Nakba” is Arabic for “catastrophe.” The word reflects Arab anguish over the establishment of the State of Israel and the Arabs’ failure to slaughter the Jews of Palestine in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

However, the “Nakba Day” rallies do not express mourning, but rather anger and hatred towards Jews. Participants shout lies about Jews and deny Jewish ties to the Land of Israel, the Jews’ right to self-determination and Israel’s right to exist. The intent of these rallies is to reduce American support for Israel, which the haters hope will ultimately lead to Israel’s destruction.

The North Carolina Coalition for Israel thought it was important to counter these lies and Jew-hatred. We reached out to local Jewish organizations, seeking their support and assistance. We received none.

Jewish leaders should have been aware of the rally in advance, alerted and educated their members, and mobilized the community against it. Unfortunately, there was no indication that any Jewish organization was aware of the event or concerned enough to act.

We contacted the CEO of the Jewish Federation in Raleigh asking if the organization had any plans to address the issue. We received no response. The Raleigh JCRC was aware of the rally but did nothing. We reached out to the liaison at Jewish for Good—formerly the Durham/Chapel Hill Jewish Federation—and were told that they don’t participate in political protests and instead focus on positive Israel education. As for the local synagogues and rabbis, none mentioned the event in advance.

Our state also has a North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association, established in April 2022. Surely this group, led by Rabbis Eric Solomon and Judith Schindler, would protect the Jewish community.

No. Last month they held an event to celebrate themselves, hosting speakers from the Democratic Party honoring their first-year anniversary. Then, as almost 2,000 rockets were fired at Israel, they were silent. Not a word about the Raleigh rally either.

We asked for support from fellow Jews. Some said they would not attend because the event was on Shabbat. It’s typical for antisemitic anti-Israel events to be scheduled on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, as the organizers know it will limit pro-Israel attendees. Others advised us to stay away, saying that paying attention to the perpetrators would only strengthen them.

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