MTV, the cable channel that usually devotes its programming to the latest trends in popular music, got more serious for Jewish American Heritage Month. The channel, owned by the same company as Paramount Pictures and the CBS television network, aired a documentary during the heritage month of May that can still be viewed about hate in America and what a group of young Jews is doing about it.
The hour-long documentary, titled “With One Voice: Fighting Hatred Together,” was aimed at reminding the mostly youthful viewers of the channel of the consequences of all forms of hatred, but specially the hatred that was directed at Jews by Nazi Germany.
Laurie Segall, who hosted the program and is also a correspondent on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” reminded MTV’s young audience that one young person in 10 claimed they had never heard the word Holocaust. Those that had, Segall pointed out, knew little more.
“Two thirds of young people have no idea how many Jews died in the Holocaust. Almost half couldn’t name a single concentration camp. Seventeen percent said it was acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views. Time and time again historians and survivors have urged us to never forget that we’re in danger of doing just that.”
That is why the local office of the ADL has accelerated its programs in schools across the country and in Atlanta, where the Southeast region of the organization is headquartered.
Heading the office here is Allison Padilla-Goodman, vice president of ADL Southern division. She pointed out that one of the group’s most important programs is found in thousands of schools across the country. The ADL’s No Place for Hate campaign can be found in 250 schools in the Southeast, including the Atlanta-Fulton County School system and Newton County schools in the metropolitan area.
“The No Place for Hate program is an educational framework that really guides schools on increasing dialogue and discussion around diversity and identity, whether it be anti-Semitism in Judaism or race or gender or sexual orientation or whatever it might be.”
It is that broader framework that the MTV program explores as it follows four young Jewish community activists in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Miami. Significantly, they are all racially diverse and several either are gay or lesbians actively working on gender rights issues.
In fact, host Segall recorded her remarks standing in front of the Torah ark of Beth Chayim Chadashim, the Los Angeles synagogue that in 1972 became what it claims is the first congregation founded by and for the LGBTQ+ community.
She described it as “a physical embodiment of the longstanding Jewish tradition of creating safe intersectional spaces for marginalized groups.”
For Gen Slosberg, an Asian American Jew living in Los Angeles, seeing what she describes as the “deep seated hatred of Jews” in this country is what motivated her to create LUNAR, The Jewish-Asian Film Project. It’s a Los Angeles-based film production group affiliated with Be’chol Lashon, the online community of globaljews.org.
Yet despite her deep commitment to that work, she mentioned that it still took her some time to react when she learned that six Asian women had been murdered in Atlanta in March.
“I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. Then finally, I just cried. I couldn’t stop crying. And I knew I had to be with my people, Asian-American Jews. I got to work organizing a healing Shabbat for Asian American Jews. I called up all the major leaders in the Jewish community who are Asian-Americans and asked will you give a d’var Torah, would you come do a prayer, would you come speak to the community? We need you, all of us. We need each other because if we have each other, we will get through this.”
As the narrator, Segall pointed out “our best weapon against hate is connection, compassion and common ground.”
According to Padilla-Goodman, the ADL is working to do just that by harnessing the power of social media to target young people. It opened the Center For Technology and Society in California’s Silicon Valley and launched a campaign to Stop Hate for Profit with a coalition of social media providers and others. The ADL has been particularly active in recent weeks to stop online platforms that have incited hate during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas extremists in Gaza.
“We were just seeing anti-Semitism surge on social media, and many platforms are not responding appropriately and regulating the hatred. And we know that young people have more access and reliance and are growing up with social media being part of their day to day. And so, you know, we need 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.”
“With One Voice” is now available in the U.S. on MTV.com, MTV apps and MTV VOD. MTV Canada, MTV Australia and MTV Israel will also be airing the program later this summer.
- Bob Bahr
- Jewish American Heritage Month
- Paramount Pictures
- 60 Minutes
- Nazi Germany
- Laurie Segall
- Anti-Defamation League Atlanta
- Anti-Defamation League Southeast
- Allison Padilla-Goodman
- Fulton County School System
- Newton County School
- The No Place for Hate program
- Los Angeles
- Beth Chayim Chadashim
- Gen Slosberg
- Bechol Lashon
- Asian-American Jews
- Stop Hate for Profit
- social media