By Stephen E. Lipken
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Temple Sholom, Greenwich, CT presented ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt, (NYC) who spoke on “A 360-Degree View of Anti-Semitism in 2017” on Thursday, October 19th.
“We are very glad to have Jonathan Greenblatt speaking tonight…” Temple Sholom President Ben Kriegler stated to an audience of over 100. “The topic of discussion is one of utmost importance, to talk about the uncertainty in the environment with groups politicizing hate, bigotry, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, fighting immigration issues…
“These are all hot topics today… things we need to be aware of to push back as hard as we can, to call people out for this type of hate and support ADL…”
Introducing Greenblatt, Dr. Dale Atkins Rosen noted that she grew up in a prejudiced, anti-Semitic community. “I have been involved with ADL for the last 30 years,” Rosen said.
Greenblatt began by contrasting the October 19th Richard Spencer Neo-Nazi demonstration at University of Florida, Gainesville with former President George W. Bush’s stirring speech in Columbus Circle, NYC where he called bigotry or white supremacy “blasphemy against the American creed.”
“My story goes back to my grandfather Bernhard Grunblatt…His store was destroyed and he fled East Germany with a fake passport. He lost almost his entire family in the Shoah.
“Even though my grandfather came to this country without any money or connections to language, he carved a middle class life in Bridgeport, CT. He had me, my brother and cousins marching down Park Avenue in the late ‘70’s in rallies to free the Soviet Jews.
“Amazingly, the Jews were freed. They were able to escape the Soviet Union. As a little boy, this lit something in me…”
He pointed out that ADL speaks out against anti-Semitism and BDS, advocates for immigrants and tracks twitter posts, revealing a shocking amount of anti-Semitism, mentioning that anti-Semitism exists on both the Radical Left and Right.
Greenblatt emphasized educating law enforcement officers; anti-hate crime training is mandatory in the FBI.
“The front line in fighting hate is Facebook. I don’t care how you vote. I do care about what you value,” Greenblatt repeatedly stressed.