An Open Letter to My Gay Jewish Son

Longtime advocate in the fight against anti-Semitism, Harry Wall, asks why we haven’t worked just as hard to protect LGBT folks and other minorities.

The massacre in Orlando was a heartbreaking and horrific attack, one more in the senseless string of killings that have punctuated our lives. But as your father, it also struck another nerve, not just the one that says it could have been you in the Pulse club. Rather, it was the insidious way the LGBT community is targeted, and how we who are outside that community fail to comprehend the notion and importance of safe spaces.

As someone who has long been professionally involved in fighting anti-Semitism, I know that bigotry and hatred have an ancient history and will be long with us. But I also ask myself if I have been so preoccupied with one form of hatred, anti-Semitism, and the horrible toll it has taken, while downplaying other forms of discrimination, bigotry and oppression. I would like to say no, that I regard all forms of hatred as noxious and dangerous. But that might be too self-serving an answer, and too easily challenged.

As Jews, we have all too much familiarity with terror attacks: a restaurant in Tel Aviv, bus bombings in Jerusalem, a Jewish museum in Brussels, a Chabad center in Mumbai. Each time, we gird ourselves for the worst of casualty counts, while pressing the case to prevent further attacks.

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