top of page
Search

San Diego Jewish World Honors Community Leaders From the ‘Outside’ and ‘Inside’

August 2, 2022

San Diego Jewish World By Donald H. Harrison


(Left to right) San Diego Jewish World Editor Emeritus Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World’s new owner and Editor Jacob Kamaras, and StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein at the publication’s first annual event on Sunday, July 31, in La Jolla. Credit: Ben Dishman.



SAN DIEGO — This publication held its first annual event on Sunday, July 31, at an afternoon reception in a private home with a sweeping panoramic view of the La Jolla coastline. Jacob Kamaras, San Diego Jewish World’s editor and publisher, emceed the affair at which Roz Rothstein, a co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, was the featured honoree.

In an “outside” and “inside” approach to honors, Kamaras also presented the first annual award to someone “inside” the San Diego Jewish World organization — in this case to me (blush!) as the publication’s founding editor and publisher, now retired except for writing book reviews and occasional articles.


Rothstein was introduced to a house full of guests by Yael Steinberg, the director of the San Diego region of StandWithUs, who spoke of the close relationship that developed over the years between StandWithUs and San Diego Jewish World in their common opposition to antisemites, wherever they may be found.


The StandWithUs co-founder told how active well-financed and organized antisemitic forces have become, in places as diverse as the United Nations, in school districts that adopt discriminatory curricula, and on college campuses across the country. I might add that they are in Congress as well. Rothstein said when the violence of the intifada resulted more than 20 years ago in hundreds and hundreds of Israelis being murdered by bombings of buses, restaurants, and other public places, Jewish organizations in the United States at that time were unprepared to generate demonstrations in support of Israel. It wasn’t that they didn’t care; it was because they had been organized for different purposes. That’s when Rothstein realized that an organization with an express purpose of defending Israel against hateful propaganda and menacing vandalism was needed in America. She formed StandWithUs, which since has become an international organization.


(Left to right) San Diego Jewish World Editor Emeritus Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World’s new owner and Editor Jacob Kamaras, and StandWithUs co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein at the publication’s first annual event on Sunday, July 31, in La Jolla. Credit: Ben Dishman.


In my own comments, I recalled that ever since 1980 I had been convinced that the Jewish press should refrain from seeking to become 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. 1980 was the year that Tom Metzger, a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, captured a local congressional nomination from a sleeping Democratic party organization. I became press advisor to incumbent Congressman Clair W. Burgener, R-San Diego, even though at the time I was registered as a Democrat. (For many years since, I have been registered as an independent.) The campaign we mounted against Metzger involved a Hatfield-McCoy strategy (named for famous feuding mountaineers.) We brought together known political rivals to the same podium to tell the news media that, whatever their own political differences, they agreed that a racist, antisemitic Klansman does not belong in Congress. Burgener won handily, as expected, and the general public also was alerted to the danger of right-wing extremists winning public office.


The thorn that came with that bouquet of roses was the realization that because of their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, Jewish organizations could not endorse Burgener in that race, even though his opponent’s viewpoints were inimical to our community. They would not dare to jeopardize their tax-exempt status. The newspaper with which I later became associated, the now defunct San Diego Jewish Press-Heritage, on the other hand, as an independent voice for the Jewish community, spoke out loudly and clearly in Burgener’s behalf and in opposition to Metzger. When I founded San Diego Jewish World in 2007, I vowed to follow that good example.


Today, Roz Rothstein and StandWithUs colleagues deal with far more sophisticated, well-financed opponents who favor the dreadful campaign of militant Palestinians and leftist allies to eliminate Israel from the map of the Middle East. That’s why I consider it a great honor —humbling in fact — to have shared the spotlight with Rothstein.


Jacob Kamaras described me during the program as his “mentor.” That was an exaggeration because he was a fully formed and well-known journalist, having served as the inaugural editor-in-chief of Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) before moving to La Jolla, the hometown of his wife Megan. What I can take pride in is helping to persuade Jacob that the San Diego Jewish community needs an independent Jewish voice that can report the news and defend our community’s interest on a near daily basis.


Under his leadership, that is what San Diego Jewish World will continue to be.


Read the full article here.

תגובות


bottom of page