Just seven decades since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, the world is witnessing an alarming rise in global anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities.
Standing strong together against these threats, thousands of Jews and Gentiles gathered for “Never Again: A Community Rally in Response to the Rise in Worldwide Anti-Semitism and the Campaign Against Israel’s Right to Exist” on Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach.
The community rally was sponsored by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, its Jewish Community Relations Council, the Holocaust Memorial, the Consulate General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami, in partnership with 78 other organizations from throughout South Florida.
Speakers included U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL); U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL); U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL); Hon. Chaim Shacham, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, and Pastor Victor Styrsky, Christians United for Israel.
“Since the Holocaust, we have vowed, ‘Never again’ to anti-Semitism and hatred,” said Jacob Solomon, Greater Miami Jewish Federation president and CEO. “Yet, we are seeing daily terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in Israel; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at de-legitimizing and isolating Israel; the United Nation’s cynical and disproportionate condemnation of the Jewish homeland; attacks on Jews in Europe and North America, and Iran’s Holocaust denial and venomous declarations to wipe Israel off the map. This is not 1938. But ‘never again’ are not just words. We are all obligated to act.”
The rally also was presented in commemoration of the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
“As we recall Kristallnacht, the event that symbolized the beginning of the Holocaust, we call on all people of goodwill to join Holocaust survivors and a united community to stand strong against anti- Semitism,” said Andrew C. Hall, chair of the Holocaust Memorial and also a child survivor of the Holocaust. “We stand together to recall the lessons of the Holocaust and to declare to the world that we will not be silent in the face of new dangers facing the Jewish people.”
Kristallnacht was marked by a series of coordinated attacks in Germany and parts of Austria on Nov. 9-10, 1938, which caused the deaths of 91 Jews and the incarceration of 30,000 in concentration camps. The streets were covered with broken glass from the shattered windows of Jewish-owned homes, stores and synagogues that were vandalized and looted during the attacks.
“Memory must live and serve as a lesson of what can happen when evil is allowed to prevail,” said Robert Berrin, board chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. “Anti-Semitism remains a very real and potent threat to Jews around the world today. We gathered to speak out as a concerned community and to let the world know we will not stand idly by whenever and wherever hatred rears its ugly head.”
Area cantors and clergy began the event with the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah (Israel’s national anthem) and concluded the event on a positive note, with musical selections, Am Israel Chai and Oseh Shalom with spirited and vigorous audience participation.