EDITORIAL: Shame On You, Takoma Park

Protestors of the film “The Occupation of the American Mind” stood outside the event with signs. (Picture by Samatha Cooper of Mid-Atlantic Media)

Dear Mayor and City Council members of Takoma Park,

It is with great disappointment and resentment, as a Jew, that I write you in regard to the Takoma Park government-sponsored, and evidently taxpayer-supported, proposed showing of the anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic film “Occupation of The American Mind” on July 23.

“Occupation of The American Mind” is a propaganda film bankrolled, produced, choreographed and narrated by rabid supporters of the movement to boycott the Jews of Israel and to bring about the financial ruin of the Jewish State.

Israel’s Arab neighbors have sought to destroy it through the decades of military aggression and terrorism. Having failed in those efforts they are now marketing propaganda films, like the one you will be hosting, in an effort to influence the ignorant to support them in their efforts to demonize Israel.

Boycotts of the Jews is certainly nothing new and has been a routine go-to over the centuries for the anti-Semites. Your promotion of this movie will certainly help connect them to their 12th-century roots and their ignorant ancestors who believed in the blood-libel.

Filled with anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the media and the minds of the unwitting, its only shortcoming is to not connect the dots as to how the Jew manipulate the weather. I can only, but assume, that your actions to sponsor a film of this great offense would never occur (and hasn’t) with any other religious or ethnic people. Evidently, the City of Takoma Park has deemed this inexcusable and offensive behavior to be acceptable because … it is just Jews that will be harmed.

This film and the boycott it seeks to elicit is targeted at the minds of the ill-[in]formed, misinformed, willfully ignorant and the full-fledged, all-in Jew-haters.

Clearly, people are welcome to be as anti-Semitic as they choose and that is what makes this a great nation. However, government promotion of anti-Semitic propaganda films crosses the line and cannot be tolerated. What is next on the agenda? Should we reflect on 1933 Germany for just a little guidance? Perhaps soon you will require your Jewish business owners to place Stars of David on their storefronts so that later it will be easier to identify them and smash their windows, or perhaps just a government promoted synagogue burning or two. After all, it’s just the Jews.

You have the legal right to market anti-Semitic stereotypes to your residents, but it is clear that the moral and ethical side of the equation is of no interest. Representations that have a “panel discussion,” after the showing, somehow mollify your actions is as equally insulting as the showing of the film itself … “Hey, Jews, we are going to show as part of our Takoma Park Culture and Arts Festival, a film filled with anti-Israel propaganda and anti-Semitic tropes, when it’s over, we are going to let you Jews tell us why it isn’t accurate.” Forgive me if I am missing the part where this makes it all ok.

Your complete lack of sensitivity to this issue is appalling, especially in light of the dramatic increases in hate-motivated crimes across our state, many of which have targeted Jews. Please don’t hide behind the excuse that there exists a small number of Jews who support boycotting other Jews. That doesn’t make it any more acceptable or less offensive.

You have chosen to disregard the Jewish community organizations that have tried to educate you with regard to the harm and ill-will that your government-sanctioned viewing of this film will have on our Jewish residents and community as a whole.

In closing, I will share with you that I am a proud Jew and I will never hide from my Judaism. I am comforted by the knowledge that a Jewish homeland exists where Jews can live as Jews, even if not in peace as a consequence of the nation’s neighbors who are committed to its destruction. I will leave the governance of Israel to the people of its democratic society, which offers its residents, Jew, Arab, Christian or otherwise, the same rights and freedoms that we have in this nation.

Israel, a nation where women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community serve openly together in all walks of life, unlike Israel’s neighbors that your movie promotes.

It is no coincidence that the makers of this movie seek to boycott the only nation in the world where the majority population is Jewish.

If it smells like anti-Semitism, looks like anti-Semitism and walks and talks like anti-Semitism, I will call it out every time.

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