Antisemitism must not be the reason for Jewish unity

Are antisemites the only ones who can bring Jews together? If that is the case, we should hang our heads in shame.Op-ed.

Harry Saul Markham ,

Violent antisemitic incidents
Violent antisemitic incidents
Kantor Center

We Jews love a broigus – whether it be a falling out in shul, an argument over Israeli policy or a haredi versus religious Zionism dispute– my goodness, our divisions would be so funny if they were not so tragic. But they are.

It seems only antisemites can break down barriers between fellow Jews and create a more unified Jewry. They see Jews as Jews. They do not ask a Jew what denomination he or she belongs to, what they think of the rabbi who did this and that, or what their view on Mr Netenyahu is – antisemites hate Jews regardless of individual theological and ideological beliefs.

And therefore if the solution to one of our community’s greatest challenges, namely ending this toxic sectarian and label-based Judaism, comes from antisemitic hate, rather than Jewish love, then we should hang our heads in shame.

However, I believe world Jewry can change. Future generations demand we change. We can no longer tolerate this contemptible state of affairs where we allow petty divisions with other Jews to divide our people. Such disunity only serves as a distraction from what really matters - ahavas Yisroel – the love of every Jew.

And real love is to set aside `the-self` for the `other`; it is to overcome a personal frustration with another Jew for a greater purpose. And I ask you, what could matter more than the Jewish people, not a nation, but a family, reuniting?

Let’s unite proactively, not as a reaction to antisemitism. Always remember the adage – “Labels are for shoes, not Jews.”

Harry Saul Markham is the National Director of Herut UK. Herut UK is the educational movement of unapologetic Zionism in the UK. He is also writing a book on Jewish responses to antisemitism. Harry can be followed on Twitter at @markhamharrygo1