One small step


The opening remarks of Anne Bayefsky, addressing the U.N. Conference on Confronting Anti-Semitism, are sharp, direct, and provide a much-needed reality check:

I won’t post excerpts because I urge everyone to read the entire thing. (Via Meryl Yourish).

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 josh 06.23.04 at 5:11 PM

(sorry to let my pessimism show again, but)
So what?

Will the UN change? No. Will the countries care? No. Will anyone listen to our endless search for acceptance? Sorry, No.

So how do we fight it instead of just whining about it to a blank wall since no one cares, especially the ‘liberals’ that should?

This was reported yesterday. Two synagogue arsons in London. And the response?

He said, however, that there is no alarm in the community about anti-Semitic incidents. “We’re not France yet,” he said.

Another two isolated incidents?

If anything, assimilation is not the answer and I’m willing to say it is a major part of the problem.


2 Jonny 06.23.04 at 6:05 PM

I don’t really expect anything to change.


3 S 06.23.04 at 6:33 PM

I think segacs really answered the “so what?” question in the title of her post. She’s not suggesting that this remarkable address will change the world, or the U.N., or that the world at large will even notice it. segacs doesn’t make any claims at all, in fact.

The point of her posting, I imagine, is to spread the word. Ms. Bayefsky said some impoprtant things that should be widely read. They should not be passed off to the dust bin. Next time we’re tempted to whine, “someone should tell that damn U.N….” well, now we know that somebody did. And they won’t listen, we know that, but she did the right thing anyway.

Ms. Bayefsky will no doubt get a lot of heat for this, everyone who stands up against anti-semitism does, but she did it anyway. Her actions took a little more courage and moral clarity than mere “whining.”

It’s certainly more than you or I have done to combat anti-semitism today.


4 segacs 06.23.04 at 6:42 PM

“Were I to sum up the Basle congress in a word which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly it would be this: at Basle I founded the Jewish State…If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years and certainly in fifty everyone will know it”.
– Theodor Herzl, at the First Zionist Congress in Basle.

Herzl knew that nothing happens overnight. It takes a series of steps.

So maybe this was the first such address to the UN, and nothing will change overnight there either. But if enough prominent people keep repeating it often enough, then maybe in five years, or fifty, it will make a difference.


5 Jonny 06.23.04 at 8:10 PM

OT: Jackie Mason will be appearing at the “just for laughs” festival in Montreal.


6 josh 06.24.04 at 12:25 PM

It’s certainly more than you or I have done to combat anti-semitism today.

I’m sorry if you feel this way.
IMO, everyone can fight anti-semitism in their own way, everyday, and it doesn’t need to involve ‘fighting’ against anti-semitism, but also promoting ‘semitism’ through tikkun olam at home and outside. A Jew (if you are) was not created to ‘enjoy life’, surf the net, watch TV, and drink latte. Though these are all valid recesses, the pursuit of happiness is not the meaning of a Jew’s life. Our purpose is to advance towards perfection by building, not sitting on our tuchus.

Want to fight anti-semitism? Say ‘good morning’ to more people. On top of that, try to be sincere. Even if you don’t wear a kippah, payas, or a skirt, or even if the other side does not know that your Jewish, making the world a ‘nicer’ place to live in reduces anti-semitism.


7 S 06.24.04 at 3:05 PM

Telling segacs and Anne Bayefsky that their actions deserve a big, fat “so what” is certainly not consistient with a philosophy of each improving the world in his own way.

Surely, Anne Bayefsky’s brave words deserve as much respect as a “good morning.”


8 albert anthony 07.05.04 at 10:13 AM

Thanks. I hope other people test it too.


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