Our CAST Initiative, (Combatting Anti-Semitism Today)
program aims to prepare individuals to stand up and
fight for true social justice while faced with hostile behavior
in an environment meant for growth and education.
The mission of the CAST initiative is to be the driving force within the Federation to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism by providing relevant information and experiences, both written and oral, to not only our Jewish constituents but to the broader community.
written materials and identify relevant experiences from appropriate sources via newsletters, e-mails, social media.
community to be knowledgeable and up to date on the subject of anti-Semitism and anti- Zionism.
opportunities for students and or young adults to learn
about anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
and partner within the existing partnership structures
(StandWithUS, etc) to enhance our mission.
relationships in the community to develop advocates
to combat anti-Semitism and anti- Zionism.
Over 4 years a go, “Tablet ”, (an online Jewish magazine), ran a powerful piece that precisely reflected our thinking at Federation when it comes to responding to the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities on many college campuses across the country. Written by Liel Leibovitz, a senior writer for Tablet, it was headlined, “Jewish Students, It’s Time to Fight the Haters.” The author notes, that he has “spent the lion’s share of the past two decades on college campuses — first as a graduate student, then as a professor.”
Here is an edited excerpt from what he has concluded: “Too often, we respond to hate the way a hapless nerd might respond to the bully about to stuff him into a locker, with some sad mixture of pride in our intellectual superiority and desperate attempt to be liked no matter what. Know that charm and brains don’t matter much to bullies. The only way to stop bullies is to fight them.”
“First, stop apologizing,” he continued in a message to a Jewish student, “you have much to be proud of: proud of being Jewish, proud of Israel, and proud of understanding the nuanced yet indispensable connection between the two.”
Then he suggests the following: “Cultivate a community predicated on faith, joy, candor, and all the other things that make life rich and nurturing. Once you do that, you’ll discover that the old adage is true: Haters are indeed going to hate. Do not try to debate them or appease them or engage them in any sort of feel-good exercise. Instead, drag their bigotry into the light and make them pay for it.”
It was a powerful piece that COMBATTING ANTI-SEMITISM underscores dramatically the growing anti-Semitic problems Jewish students face on many college campuses. See the entire article posted on our blog or link to Tablet Magazine: www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/191289/ fight-the-haters-on-campus.
Fortunately, these problems are not dominant at all three institutions that we work with at Federation – UCR Riverside, Cal State San Bernardino and College of the Desert. However, there has been troubling anti-Semitic and anti-Israel trends generated by some students and their on-and offcampus supporters at UCR and this has been a problem.
Our Federation has led the effort to address these problems and University administrators have become much more aware of the situation; they now monitor it more closely and we are actively urging Hillel at UCR to institute more proactive measures.
We will continue to remain vigilant and through our CAST project,
we will offer not only Jewish college students, but anyone in our community the opportunity to learn more and how to respond to the issues they might confront on campus or in our community.