Antisemitism has been used for centuries to divert the anger of oppressed people from the powerful elite and towards Jews. It has also been used to divide progressive movements. It plays a constant and a changing role, a role that gains in visibility and traction as wealth and income gaps widen. Today we see the rise of rhetorical and violent antisemitism on the right, and within the left, divisions are erupting about real and perceived antisemitism. To be successful, a progressive movement will need to address antisemitism. This evening will engage that exploration.
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling is founder and director of the Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Prior to this he was the Executive Vice-President of Jewish Funds for Justice. Locally, he serves on the steering committee of Green Justice Philly, a coalition of 20 environmental organizations, community groups, and labor unions, and is co-chairing a task force for POWER on their renewal process. He is part of a four-person team that leads workshops on “Racism, Antisemitism and Christian Hegemony” for Faith in Action, the largest congregation-based organizing network in the country, of which POWER is an affiliate. He responded to the clergy calls to show up in Ferguson, Standing Rock, and Charlottesville.