As anti-Semitism rears its ugly head and poses a growing threat to the well-being of Jewish people word-wide, JIMENA has taken efforts to formalize our portfolio of projects that are working to combat antisemitism. JIMENA is firmly committed to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, that includes anti-Zionism. As an organization representing Jewish refugees who were ethnically cleansed or fled anti-Semitic persecution in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, members of our communities have a visceral understanding that anti-Zionism is not simply a mask for anti-Semitism, but a dangerous manifestation and promulgation of it. Furthermore, our communities have a unique role in countering revisionist narratives of the Middle East, which erase the histories of Jewish refugees from the region in an effort to delegitimize Israel and Jewish people’s historical claims in the region.
In 2019 our portfolio of projects to combat anti-Semitism included:
- Organized a collation of 40 international Sephardic and Mizrahi organizations and synagogues to serve as a rapid-response unit to anti-Semitic campaigns. Examples of our campaigns included:
- Demanding Jewish Voice for Peace remove all references to Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews from their materials.
- Responding to the California Ethnic Studies debacle.
- Pressuring the U.S. Department of State not to heed the cultural property requests of Arab governments who strive to take ownership of confiscated Jewish property.
- JIMENA continues to bring the personal stories of Jewish refugees and their descendants to college campuses and mainstream public spaces. JIMENA speakers strive to combat anti-Semitic propaganda which erases the heritage and history of Middle Eastern Jews in an effort to delegitimize Israel and erase Jewish people’s ongoing presence and indigeneity in the Middle East.
- Speakers share their personal stories at an average of 20 college campuses per year.
- In 2019, JIMENA hosted a Mizrahi Commemoration program at the United Nations, which brought foreign diplomats from over 20 countries to hear the testimonies of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish leaders – including Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Danny Danon (Egypt) and U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Elan Carr (Iraq).
- Through our Arabic Outreach work, JIMENA workS with partners and volunteers in the Middle East and North Africa to directly challenge pervasive antisemitic beliefs in the region.