Two weeks ago, I called on everyone, especially those who are frequent letter writers to the paper, to write to the Committee on Character and Fitness if you are opposed to Fatima Mousa Mohammed being admitted as an attorney. I wrote:
“If you have time to write to the paper, you have the time to write to a committee chair to state your opposition. Also, why am I the only columnist writing about this? Some of my fellow columnists are involved in important organizations. Why aren’t their organizations saying anything? Why are so few Jewish organizations, especially organizations of Jewish lawyers, not doing anything? If we are silent, then we have no right to blame others for doing nothing. If it is not important enough for us to take even minimal action of writing to the committee head, then why should it be important to them.”
There was a better response to this column than to my first column on the topic. One of the regular letter writers wrote to me requesting the address. Here is it:
Veronica Guerrero, Counsel to the Committee on Character and Fitness, Appellate Division, First Department 41 Madison Avenue, 26th Floor, New York, New York 10010;
Second Department: Muriel L. Gennosa, Executive Director for Attorney Matters, Committee on Character & Fitness, 335 Adams Street Suite 2404, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
However, my regular critics were silent by failing to respond to me or put anything in the paper indicating that they were going to write to the committee. There were two letters; one gave the low-hanging fruit excuse for doing nothing and the other just attacked me. Neither one mentioned that they were writing to the committee. There is an irony that the first writer mentioned about low-hanging fruit. I would argue that attacking me in this paper, which they believe the majority of the readership disagrees with my political views, is low-hanging fruit. None of the other writers mentioned the topic or indicated that they were going to write to the committee.
They are not the only ones. I have asked other people, including lawyers, if they feel that Ms. Mohammed should not be admitted to the bar. No one has said that she should. Then, when I ask whether they are going to write, all of a sudden the excuses come. It is not everyone, though. There have been individuals who said that they would write.
The response to Mohammed’s comments is an example of a broader problem. It is easy to criticize others for their inaction. We need to look at ourselves. Are we doing enough, or can we do more to become involved in issues that are important to us and the Jewish community? It is easy to give excuses to avoid doing something. Even when we decide to become involved, do we do as much as we can, or are we just doing the minimum? We can delude ourselves that it is proper with the justification that we are doing something. Something is better than nothing.
Our inaction has real-world consequences. Ms. Mohammed’s speech did not occur in a vacuum. For years, there has been a campaign to delegitimize Israel using tactics such as BDS and engage in anti-Semitic conduct under the guise of criticizing Israel. What have we done to combat it? For example, have we written to members of Congress, gone to the Celebrate Israel Parade, or a rally to show support? Have we praised members of Congress who are pro-Israel even if they are not members of the party with which we identify? Writing letters blasting one political party is not going to cut it. Here is a chance to have our voice heard with tangible results.
To those who believe that she is low-hanging fruit, you need to start somewhere. Success begets success. This will send a message to others that you cannot engage in this type of conduct without any consequences.