A silly, naive Jew who participated is shocked, shocked! Nevertheless, Sarah Margles is determined to “reach out” to the Jew haters at NAMF:
“I was recently invited to a speech competition at the North American Muslim Foundation (NAMF). Students in grades 6-10 were invited to speak on the topic “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – Do they face the same challenges and share the same solutions.” There was one Jewish student and about 20 Muslim students. (I know that NAMF had asked many Jewish organizations to participate and all but one had declined.)
Almost all the speeches were misguided about anti-Semitism. Most of them said it was something that happened in the Holocaust but has ended. The most egregious speech quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as if it were true. Many talked about Jewish money and power.
In these weeks since the event, I have been in a process of contacting the organizers and seeking out some of the schools to engage with them about the anti-Semitism in the speeches. But it is not blame that I wish to put on the shoulders of the students or the adults who work with them.
We are in a time of economic troubles. As often happens, anti-Semitism flares up when financial times are tough – particularly anti-Semitism that relates to Jews and money, and to “the global Jewish conspiracy.”
In responding to the speeches I keep trying to figure out how to avoid pointing a finger of blame, but instead to use the opportunity to create allies and to foster closer relationships across lines of difference.
We Jews are very good at pointing fingers when we feel shunned and misunderstood. But that isn’t helpful. We need to reach for closer relationships and figure out how to ask non-Jews to be our allies.
The students at the speech contest were not ill-willed or evil. They were simply misinformed.
In this time of rising anti-Semitism, let us find ways to teach about anti-Semitism in a way that reaches for relationship. This is the most helpful thing we could possibly do.”
Here’s everything you need to know about NAMF.