This year has brought a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism’s prevalence and brutality. The nation’s largest pro-Israel organization – Christians United for Israel – brings to light this crisis in their new documentary Never Again?.
NEVER AGAIN? is a feature-length documentary about the horrors of anti-Semitism and the power of survival and redemption. Viewers will journey with a Holocaust survivor (Irving Roth) and a formerly radicalized anti-Semite (Kasim Hafeez) into the depths of darkness, shining a bright light on the world’s greatest genocide and the bigotry alive still today.
His life changed overnight, Irving explained. “One day I’m carrying my friends books and she said ‘I don’t want you to carry my books anymore. My father told me not to be friendly with the Jew, socially it’s unacceptable and it’s evil. You as a Jew are responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world.’ Thus begins the transformation of society on an individual basis. I haven't changed, but the world is changing around me. And thus begins the slippery slope of persecution of Jews.”
As a boy, Kasim grew up in a radical Islamist household in the United Kingdom. He was taught to hate, becoming a radicalized anti-Semite with abhorrence for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Yet, while he sympathized with violent extremists he could not shake his intellectual curiosity and his basic humanity.
Kasim flew to the Holy Land in Israel to confirm his hate, but he quickly discovered the Jewish state was not inhabited by accursed, inhumane monsters. Instead, he found a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society that welcomed him on his journey to find the truth.
Meeting with archeologists, historians and religious leaders throughout Israel, Kasim finds a new passion: love. On his personal journey he meets Irving Roth, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, with a personal mission to carry his story to the next generation. As Kasim and Irving’s divergent paths come together, Irving’s ability to forgive and Kasim’s ability to change bring these two very different men to a common purpose: to stand united, to educate others, and to speak the truth.
“What terrifies me is the level of apathy among ordinary people. Good people who care about their communities and causes that don’t directly relate to them but want the world to become a better place,” said Kasim. “There’s such great apathy when it comes to the Jewish people and Jews being attacked. I don’t understand why. I’m not going to brand every person as an anti-Semite, and I also think people just don’t know and that’s something I can’t remain silent about because it’s wrong. Whether you believe in God or not, you are accountable for what you do.”
“Viewers will learn about the history of anti-Semitism and come to understand why all of us, regardless of faith or political persuasion, have a responsibility to keep the promise of NEVER AGAIN?,” said Producer Rick Eldridge, CEO of ReelWorks Studios
Teaming up with leading experts and filmmakers from Dr. Deborah Lipstat to Ambassador Michael Oren to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Christians United for Israel tells these two stories, to change the racist systems and patterns the Jewish community endures, and say “never again.”
“It meets the audience where they are, engaging them in a modern and cutting-edge manner. If we’re not to see history repeat itself, we must ensure the next generation learns the lessons of the past,” said CUFI co-executive director Shari Dollinger.
Today on Connections, Kasim shares his story and the importance of discussing antisemitism.