Caption: Steve Schewel (center) with an anti-Israel candidate Nida Allam (left), and city council member Javiera Caballero, who supported the 2018 BDS resolution
Some Antisemitism Bull in Durham
Why would a synagogue invite an antisemitism promulgator onto a panel to instruct the community about antisemitism? Why invite a person who used their position in a duplicitous manner to forward that agenda? When congregants and community members asked these questions of the synagogue leadership, why would they be ignored and even condemned?
These questions are not rhetorical– they reflect real life events here in North Carolina. Judea Reform (JR) synagogue in Durham invited BDS activist and former mayor Steve Schewel onto their panel regarding speaking to kids about antisemitism. While JR leaders may not be aware of Schewel’s history, shutting down objections— rather than learning from them— is antithetical to Jewish tradition, and harmful to the community.
Antisemitism Ignored from Left wing, Islamists, and Minorities
Like so many American synagogues, JR has been prioritizing the needs of everyone except for Jews. When JR member Kathryn Wolf, raised her objection to this problem and Schewel in a letter she sent to the congregation, she was condemned.
The antisemitism panel proceeded as planned. The rabbi and other Jewish leaders appeared proud and happy to join Schewel as they discussed only right-wing antisemitism. Schewel minimized the problem, which may be logical for one who is unable or unwilling to see Jew hatred coming from left wing activists, Islamists or minorities.
Since pleas for discussing the issues have gone ignored, and because our community is under ever increasing threat, NCCI wrote an article published in Jewish Journal, “The Bull in Durham: Jewish Leadership Betrayal”. We hope this will encourage full, fair, and honest conversations about the true extent of antisemitism and the danger it poses to the survival of the Jewish people.
Please watch NCCI board member, Deborah Friedman, summarize the situation in her impassioned video below: