Progressive Jewish Leaders To Headline Upcoming Anti-Semitism Panel
December 10, 2020
On December 16th the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM), in partnership with The Tel Aviv Institute, will host an empowering program entitled, Dismantling Anti-Semitism: Jews Talk Justice. The discussion will provide an accurate account of anti-Semitism in the progressive and political spheres by amplifying the voices of progressive Jewish leaders.
As contemporary forms of anti-Semitism spread across the ideological spectrum, certain progressive movements have stoked anti-Semitism and are trying to evade accountability by redefining the term – anti-Semitism.
In response, an inspiring and diverse group of progressive Jewish activists will address the right of Jews to define oppression against them. In their panel discussion, the speakers will illustrate the harm that is caused by anti-Semites who highlight only fringe Jewish voices while ignoring mainstream Jewish experiences of discrimination.
The Jewish panel discussion speakers represent a diverse cross-section of contemporary progressive Jewish voices from the United States and Israel.
Meet the Jewish Panel Discussion Speakers:
Hen Mazzig, Senior Fellow at The Tel Aviv Institute
Hen Mazzig is an international speaker, writer, social media activist and advocate who combats anti-Semitism around the globe. Born and raised in Israel, he was a humanitarian officer in the Israel Defense Forces before embarking on speaking tours to educate students around the world about his native country. In the U.K. in particular he encountered unimaginable hostility to his pro-Israel and Jewish identity. CAM recently interviewed Mazzig about how his past experiences on the frontlines of campus anti-Semitism have impacted his work in engaging new allies in the fight against Jew-hatred today.
Hen’s family originally came from Iraq and North Africa (Berber Jews from Tunisia), giving him a unique background for his talks, in which he shares his family’s story and the story of 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Hen served in the IDF for almost five years as an openly gay commander. His award winning articles and op-eds can be found in Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel and more. He has shared his story with thousands of students throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
Hen has a proven track record of creating dialogue where it seems impossible and is a rare voice in this divisive day and age that can unite people for a common cause.
Rep. Alma Hernandez, Arizona State House
In January 2019 Alma Hernandez became the first Jewish Latina lawmaker ever elected in the United States, serving in the Arizona House of Representatives representing District 3. She is currently the youngest legislator in Arizona at age 25.
As a part of her humanitarian work as a Public Health professional, Alma has traveled to developing countries including Ghana and Panama where she helped provide medical and public health services through free clinics.
She served as a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention and as the chair of the College Young Democrats of Arizona. While studying at the University of Arizona, Hernandez was President of CatPAC Wildcats for Israel. She has worked hard to elect Progressive Democrats to offices throughout Southern Arizona for the last decade. Recently, Hernandez introduced legislation in the Arizona State House to define anti-Semitism in accordance with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition.
Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life at Elon University
Rabbi Sandra Lawson is a rabbi, an activist, a public speaker, and musician. Also known as the Snapchat Rabbi, Rabbi Lawson has been featured in the JTA as one of 10 Jews you should follow on Snapchat and The 50 Jews everyone should follow on Twitter. She was ordained as a rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Currently, she lives in North Carolina with her wife Susan and their three dogs Bridget, Izzy and Simon
Rabbi Lawson became the first openly gay, female, black rabbi in the world in 2018. She is also a U.S. army veteran, vegan, sociologist, personal trainer, food activist, weightlifter and writer.
Ashager Araro, Founder of Battae- Ethiopian Israeli Heritage Center
Ashager Ararao is a prominent Ethiopian Israeli antiracism activist who was born in Gondar, Ethiopia, and immigrated to Israel as an infant during the 1991 “Operation Solomon.” Araro grew up in central Israel and is one of eight siblings. Araro excelled in her military service in the Israeli Defense Forces, where she rose to the rank of Lieutenant in the Paratroopers Brigade. Following military service, Araro studied government, diplomacy, and strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, enabling her to pursue a career in Public Diplomacy. Araro’s career has brought her to countries throughout Europe, North America, and Africa, where she has engaged audiences on issues pertinent to Israel and the Jewish people. Alongside her fulfilling work in public diplomacy, Araro has recently established an Ethiopian Heritage center called Bettea.
Ashager Araro is sometimes referred to as a candidate to be the future first Black Prime Minister of Israel – perhaps because it seems there are no heights the 29-year-old “social media queen of Israel” cannot scale. Ashager speaks out about her background, the history of Jews of Ethiopian descent in Israel, police brutality and structural racism in Israel and the United States. Watch Ashager speak out about anti-Semitism in the video below.
Mahrinah Shije, Executive Director of Pueblo Development Commission
Mahrinah Shije is an an indigenous advocate belonging to the Tewa people of the Northern Rio Grande Pueblos and a Sephardic Jew. Shije is a development consultant with Zia Impact and a United Nations NGO representative who also serves on the Ethnic Coordinating Council of the Democratic Party.
In addition to the panel, guest speakers will also join the conversation including:
- – Natan Sharansky, Human Rights Activist and Former Soviet Refusenik
- – Ellie Cohanim, US Assistant Special Envoy to Monitor & Combat Anti-Semitism and Former Iranian-Jewish Refugee
- – Craig Dershowitz, CEO of Artists 4 Israel and President of the Healing Arts Kits and Healing Ink
- – Anila Ali, President & Founder of the American Muslim & Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council
During the event, JUURI, an internationally renowned Japanese-American artist will live paint a piece of art featuring Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved 6,000 Jews fleeing Europe during WWII. The painting will be presented at the end of the event.
As Jews are increasingly pushed out of progressive spaces, we urge all who wish to promote civil rights to join us for an inspiring conversation with progressive Jewish leaders who are committed to pursuing social justice and dismantling anti-Semitism, not distorting its definition.