Ari (Ballaban) Jun — In Conversation
The Urgency of Solidarity
This week, Jeremy and I attended the Eradicate Hate Global Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. Amy Spitalnick, CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, spoke near the beginning of the conference. She observed:
There are some who’d like us to think that the safety and rights of one community somehow come at the expense of another. And that is a deliberate tactic to keep communities apart at a moment when solidarity has never been more urgent.
Amy is correct.
I learned much of interest throughout the conference. We attended panels of extremist violence survivors, law enforcement agents who fought white supremacy, academics who study the issues, and much, much more. We were even offered perspectives from video game creators on online gaming radicalization.
Among it all, Amy’s point stands out.
In the last weeks, we’ve had numerous extremist flyering incidents in Cincinnati. We call these “antisemitic” incidents—because they are. But they’re also more. Such propaganda frequently targets Jews and others, most often Blacks and the LGBTQ community. This is indicative of the nature of hate: The people who hate us also hate others. And the people who hate others also hate us.
That’s why I’m so glad we invest our time in inter-community collaboration, and it’s why many extremists and antisemites want to deliberately (as Amy noted) keep our communities apart. Let’s not let them.
Amy told the ~1,200-person crowd: “My safety as a Jewish woman is inextricably linked with that of the Black, immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ, and so many other communities.” Indeed, this is what we see over and over again, and in our duty to respond to hate, we work within this reality.
Every act of solidarity is an act of defiance, a rebuke of the extremists. Every act of solidarity is an act of hope.