Monday, August 06, 2012
Ending anti-Semitism, once and for all
My name is Chloe` Valdary. I am a Christian. Although I have kept Shabbat, kosher, and the Holy Days all my life, my religion is not Judaism. Be that as it may, there is a sense of alarm that I have felt during the past year that I cannot seem to stifle. A danger is lurking that has gone unnoticed by most of the world. A cloud of animosity toward a people is rising; indeed, it is the elephant in the international room, and it has gone on for far too long.
I have one question and one question alone. I am not concerned about the cynical pessimists that believe that every state of evil that exists in this world is constant. The incessant drum of the “all is lost” mantra is dull and quite lame, to be frank. Those who dedicate their lives to telling you that all is hopeless create an environment where that lie becomes true. That line is constantly recycled and reprinted in various forms, both subtle and overt.
There is rampant anti-Semitism in Palestine; indeed, there is rampant anti-Semitism in the Middle East in general. Likewise, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. This should not merely be a “cause for concern,” or a great alarm that sends a tingle down your spine, leaving you only to be shocked back into a monotonous, inactive state of coffee-drinking, newspaper-folding, and dillydallying. I have just one question for you, dear reader; search hard within yourself for the answer.
How dedicated are you, indeed, are we to the maxim of “never again?”
Ah, “never again’ — it does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It makes us feel good. We cheer at those words, nod when we see those words printed at the end of old, worn books and testimonies of survivors of that horrible, unfortunate, event. Indeed, we swallow our tears of grief and sigh within ourselves, we say, “Hmm, that was something. I hope that never happens again.” We feel good then, don’t we? We have gone through our ritual catharsis, satisfied by our feelings, and yet, they are hollow, sentimental, empty feelings and nothing more. A feeling is merely that if there is no action that follows it. Reflection and action are two things that are rendered worthless if one is not accompanied by the other.
I am inspired by Yossi Harel, the commander of the ship Exodus, the man upon whom the fictional character of Ari Ben Canaan was based. Indeed, It was because of this novel that I took an interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict. I believe that you and I — we can move mountains. If we are unperturbed by the dissenting voices, the anti-Semitic jackasses (for, alas, this is what they are), the terrified ones afraid of their own shadow, and indeed, our own deceitful fears, we can suppress the growing surge of hatred against Jews.
In case you are unconvinced about the problem that is occurring, let me offer some perspective:
This year, in Greece, the Neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn won 18 seats in the Greek Parliament.
“Mein Kampf” has become a bestseller in the Middle East. It has remained so for quite some time.
Rallies have been held in Egypt that called for “another Holocaust.” Indeed, at Mohamed Morsi’s election celebration, the speaker introducing the newly elected president called for the end “of the sleep of the Jews,’ and chanted, “We are all Hamas.”
In the Gaza Strip, the governing terrorist organization, Hamas, routinely calls for the death of Jews around the world. Hamas also publishes videos asserting that the Holocaust was a lie and that the Jews perpetrated it themselves. In the West Bank, Hitler is praised and the Holocaust is routinely denied. The forged anti-Semitic text “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” is cited as fact by the state-run media. Streets, university centers, and events are named after terrorists.
Iranian heads of states routinely call for the death of Jews. Just recently, the first vice president, Rahimi, stated that Judaism was responsible for illegal drug trafficking around the world and that Zionism was responsible for the death of black babies. As an African-American, this especially sent shivers down my spine. Iran is now developing nuclear weapons in order to make their vitriolic dream a reality.
That is merely the tip of the iceberg. Now is not the time to grow callous. Now is the time to act. In Louisiana, I have started a campaign to counter this growing threat. As a filmmaker, I believe in the power of film and other artistic measures and their capacity to foster awareness, education, and to enable people to get involved. The first thing I would like to do is a music video that conveys the resilience of the Jewish people even in the midst of the growing dangers that threaten to undermine their survival. I have partnered with the British Israel Coalition to help make the video go viral once it is completed.
A task of this proportion has many requirements that need to be fulfilled before the actual filming can take place. For example, preproduction costs include the coverage of equipment, casting, costumes, crew, props, and a song license, to name a few. This is why my team and I have launched the project on a new crowdfunding platform, Jewcer, which is a very resourceful tool to launch initiatives that benefit the Jewish and/or Israeli community.
After the video is completed, my goal is to go on to make more films on this same subject of growing anti-Semitism. Also, lectures and events, both around the country and abroad, should be held to teach others about this injustice. I believe that more dangerous than the presence of racist zealots filled with malicious intent is the much larger uninformed populace of the world. Ignorance has an unfortunate record of yielding the same results as evil aspirations, and is much more pervasive. With these films being made, they will serve as a constant reminder to the world; I will make sure the world never forgets.
In the past, I have done films of this sort. (Here is a music video I directed to pay homage to the Japanese people in the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake that devastated the region in 2011.) I believe that film, more often than not, invokes the conscience, transcends all boundaries, stirs up emotion, and incites mankind to action.
I want to spark a global revolution. Dear reader, as believers in democracy and the rights of mankind, we must unite. We, as Jews and non-Jews, must come together to suppress the evil phenomenon that is anti-Semitism. Businesses and communities and filmmakers and others must come together to stand against this injustice. This must be as popular as NIKE, as hip as Drake, as pervasive as Coca Cola. We must expose the anti-Semitism that is rampant in the Middle East and growing in Europe. We must have lectures, events, outings, Shabbat dinners — and we must educate, cultivate, and change lives. Film is the medium through which this can be accomplished.
I am not concerned about the long, arduous road that is this battle. We must fight with every fiber of our beings. We will win. We have no other choice. We must end anti-Semitism once and for all.
The project will only be funded is $5,000 are pledged by September 22. Join me.