Photo Credit: Ray Dehn | by Tony Webster

Photo Credit: Ray Dehn | by Tony Webster

February 13, 2019

Mehlaqa Samdani

A brief note on how one tweet gave rise to multiple opportunities:

1.    The opportunity to recognize that there will always be anti-Semites around us and among us who use Israel to spew their hatred of Jews. Similarly, there will always be those around us and among us who use every legitimate and justified criticism of the Israeli Occupation, Israeli policies, and of AIPAC as a way to label people as anti-Semites. It is up to us to find the peacemakers in our respective communities who are interested in making real progress—in this case, it would be the “Jewish allies and colleagues” that Ilhan Omar referred to in her apology for educating her on anti-Semitic tropes, and the Jewish leaders AOC admired for the way they “brought her (Omar) in, not push her out, to heal." These are the kinds of people we should be seeking out within our own communities for wisdom and guidance. 

2.    The opportunity to recognize that a true leader demonstrates that there is no shame in an apology, there is no shame in accepting we have room to grow—it is possible to call out the corrupting influence of lobbyists in ways that are constructive, effective, and sensitive

3.    The opportunity to recognize that many of us do not know enough about anti-Semitic tropes and would do well to learn more about them by reaching out to our Jewish friends. This is especially important when attacks against the Jewish community have dramatically increased and the Jewish community feels increasingly vulnerable. 

4.    The opportunity for all of us to stand up to bullying in whatever shape or form it occurs, whether it is attempts to criminalize/penalize BDS or the incessant attacks on Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib for their pro-BDS stance. 

5.    Finally, this is an opportunity to recognize that if seized effectively, such moments can result in greater engagement, greater learning, and ultimately transformation among well-intentioned people.