Shine A Light is a national initiative to spotlight modern-day antisemitism, including anti-Zionism.
It draws inspiration from the story of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, to champion the message that one small light can dispel darkness and hatred.
Anti-Zionism is the belief that Israel does not have a right to exist as the Jewish homeland.
It is not the same as criticizing the Israeli government. Calling for the destruction of Israel, denying Jews a permanent homeland, or holding Israel to a double standard are forms of antisemitism.
Zionism is the belief that the Jewish people have a right to a homeland in the State of Israel.
It is based on the Jewish people’s deep historical connection to the land of Zion (ancient Jerusalem) and their right be free from persecution, exile, and the threat of extermination.
Antisemitism is the hatred of Jews.
It targets Jews, individually and collectively, and can include the Jewish State. It has adapted over time to link Jews to societal ills and harmful stereotypes.
Antisemitism did not end with the Holocaust.
Today, it can be seen in a shooting at a synagogue, a swastika on a building, the use of Jewish stereotypes or retaliation against Jews globally for the acts of the Israeli government.
You are not antisemitic if you don't support actions and policies of the Israeli government.
However, if you use anti-Israel sentiments to justify the hatred of Jews or prejudices against Jews to demonize the State of Israel, these are both forms of antisemitism.
Antisemitism is a sign of an intolerant society.
By ignoring it, we grant society a broader license to hate. Everyone should care about antisemitism to build a compassionate society committed to the value of human dignity.
© Frederic Brenner, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery New York