The world’s Jewish community has to “get its act together” if it is to face down its gravest threat since the Second World War.
That’s the stark warning offered by Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, who spoke to the Times of Israel during a trip to the country last week.
In an interview with the online newspaper published on Friday, the senior leader warned global Jewry “is under threat to an extent which it has never been since the end of the Second World War.”
Growing anti-Zionist rhetoric, which has taken root in universities, Goldstein warned, is part of the problem, together with the use of classic antisemitic tropes.
To stamp out the threat, Jewish communities must come together and stand as allies against “a disease which is threatening to be out of control.”
Yet the world’s “many” Jewish organisations are sometimes at “war with each other”, have no “joined up narrative” and are “disparate,” he warned.
Anglo-Jewry, he said, may offer guidance to other diaspora communities on how to band together in the face of anti-Jewish racism. British Jewish groups may not have been “perfect”, he conceded, but “80-90 percent of the time in the last two, three years we’ve travelled as a unit.”
“If you look at American Jewry and you see how split they are, how many different organisations there are, how many different narratives there are. Global Jewry has to somehow get its act together and understand that we are facing a very serious threat and we have to address it on many levels,” he added.
In the UK, the row over antisemitism in the Labour Party overshadowed much of the party’s general election campaign, prompting an extraordinary intervention by the chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who penned an op-ed in The Times on the subject.
But while the results of the 2019 election allayed some critics’ concern, the battle is not won, according to Goldstein. “The danger is to believe ‘okay, we’ve got past that, we can move on with our lives.’ I don’t believe that to be the case,” he said.
An annual report unveiled by the Community Security Trust on Thursday revealed almost four in ten antisemitic incidents recorded in the UK are online.
According to the trust, 2019 saw a record 1,805 incidents, which was the fourth consecutive highest figure. The number of reported online incidents has almost tripled in just two years.