Moments of Truth: Climate, Antisemitism, & Justice

Oct 26, 2021

We arrive at a moment of truth, and we must push through.

World leaders are gathering for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland (COP26). Many say this is our last chance to avoid runaway climate change and the pain and suffering, social and economic upheaval it will bring.

Join us for a COP26 Conversation with the Jewish Youth Climate Movement on Thur 10/28 at 8 pm. Then, Nigel Savage and I will be broadcasting a Sound the Call podcast series from the conference in Scotland, sharing highlights and interviewing leaders of our multifaith climate movement. After COP26 ends, join us to debrief and process through a Conversation with elders Sunday evening, November 14th. Together we will gain perspective from veterans of our movement, with breakout rooms for more intimate small group discussion.

And there is another truth we must face together: antisemitism on the rise and in our midst. A week ago, the DC Chapter of the Sunrise Movement – a climate justice activism and advocacy network with over 400 hubs nationwide – attacked the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), the Religious Action Center (RAC), and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), arguing that as “Zionist organizations” they should not be allowed to participate in a broad coalition of progressive organizations working together to advocate for voting rights and democracy reform.


These are three of the most impactful progressive Jewish organizations in the history of our country, fighting for social justice on a broad range of important issues impacting all Americans. All three merit our support now more than ever before. They each do critically important work every day, and we must stand by their side. Please donate and/or get involved!  I encourage you to read the concise and powerful RAC response to this incident. Eventually, national Sunrise leadership released a statement condemning antisemitism and censuring the DC chapter. Here is a helpful summary of where we stand.

Just yesterday I spoke with Dr. Tareq Abuhamed, an Arab Israeli scientist and renewable energy engineer who is now the Executive Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, an amazing partner organization of Hazon’s, located in the Arava Valley working for Middle East peace through dialogue, relationship, and environmental cooperation. Dr. Abuhamed writes:

“The Middle East is a hotspot when it comes to climate change and we urgently need solutions. Despite the conflict, we recognize the importance of dialogue, especially in civil matters. Dialogue and trust are what we need to contribute to the creation of a more stable and resilient Middle East, to help restore confidence in future political negotiations, and to serve as an inspiration for other areas in the world.”

Fundamentally, these times present a profound challenge – and opportunity – to our capacity for building inclusive community, and more broadly to our sense of Jewish peoplehood. We all have so much to learn from each other! And we all need to come together to summon our greatest strengths in order to confront the climate crisis.

In the end, We Are One. Not just the Jewish people, but all People. One People and One Planet, facing the most existential crisis in human history. So, in this moment of truth, I encourage you to take time to reflect, to meditate, to cry, to pray – and then let us all recommit to building a sustainable future for ALL people. Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.

Because that’s who we are.  We choose life. We choose peace. We choose love.


jakir's e-signature

Jakir Manela

Chief Executive Officer