Thursday, December 13, 2018

Left, Right, Trump, Jew-hatred, and America

In the wake of the horrendous massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, much has been written about whether President Trump was responsible for the murders, who else might be responsible, is Trump an anti-Semite, how prevalent Jew-hatred is in American society, and what is creating this atmosphere where more blatant expressions of Jew-hatred and even violence are becoming common.

Vandalism to synagogues and other Jewish institutions is making the news. These incidents and other manifestations of anti-Semitism have been going on for years. Now they seem more blatant and frequent and are clearly garnering more attention from the media.

It is likely that but for being turned in by concerned family members, a Jew-hating young man in Washington, D.C. was on the verge of committing another massacre like the one in Pittsburgh.
Just days ago, a Toledo man was arrested for planning a deadly attack on a local synagogue.

In Baltimore a man screaming “Heil Hitler” and “Heil Trump” during the intermission of a performance of Fiddler on the Roof set off an understandable panic as many in the crowd expected bullets to follow. Never mind that it was an impulsive and totally inappropriate outburst borne of frustration with President Trump’s immigration stance. The point is that Jews are seen as such a target in today’s America that the audience thought it meant bullets would fly.

Hate-motivated crimes against Jews have increased substantially, and while Jews represent just 2% of the U.S. population, they are the victims of 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes.

A few commentators have criticized these statistics, saying they create a false impression because they include “non-violent” acts like vandalism. Jews in America should be comforted by that? Swastikas on synagogues, JCC’s, and days schools don’t leave scars? Words like “kike” and “dirty Zionist” scrawled on walls and Internet posts don’t mean people shouldn’t be on guard, that they have no reason to be fearful?

A columnist for the Forward asked Young American Jews whether America is still safe for Jews. There were a mix of answers, some pessimistic, some hopeful. But just the fact that the question was asked and serious, diverse answers ensued tells one a lot about the mental state of American Jews when it comes to Jew-hatred. Most American Jews would have thought the question ludicrous just five or 10 years ago.

The actual Nazi or KKK members in the U.S. is a minuscule percentage of the population. Those that go out and march and scream also represent a very low percentage of the population. But a recent reputable poll found that 9% of Americans think that it is legitimate to hold neo-Nazi views. That's about 22 million people. When you add in the five or 10 or 15 million more who feel that way but are too smart or too embarrassed to admit it, that is a whole bunch of Americans, and that is frightening.

Ultimately, the man who pulled the trigger is responsible for the horrible deaths in Pittsburgh. And, ultimately, the person who spray paints graffiti on a synagogue, or a person who sends bigoted vitriol through cyberspace, is responsible for his or her actions. But, for the atmosphere in the U.S. that has given rise to public expressions of Jew-hatred and gives license to those who are tempted to use violence, for that there is plenty of blame to go around, and it is not exclusive to one side of the political spectrum.

Is President Trump an anti-Semite? Abe Foxman, former long-time head of the Anti-Defamation League and an expert on the issue, thinks he isn’t but that he is nonetheless engaging in dangerous behavior.

President Trump clearly has his stereotypes and prejudices about ethnic groups, so it is very likely he has them about Jews, whether negative or positive.  Is saying that “the only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day” an indication of anti-Semitism?  It certainly represents a stereotype even if it was said with admiration.

How about telling a gathering of Jewish Republicans “This room negotiates deals. Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to.” And "I'm a negotiator, like you folks.” And “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy?”

Certainly, crude and disrespectful and evidencing time-worn stereotypes. Even if done with a positive spin, i.e. your smart, your tough, etc., stereotypes are generally inaccurate and broad brushed, and they can easily be turned into negatives if circumstances change. When and how does smart and tough become sharp and wily become deceitful and dishonest?

Debating whether Trump is an anti-Semite can be interesting, if it is a slow day. But it almost doesn’t matter in deciding if his behavior gives rise to or encourages or provides a comfortable environment for Jew-hatred.

Clearly, anti-Semitism in America was not caused by President Trump. It has a long and inglorious history. But it was largely buried for the last five decades or so. Just as clearly is the fact that with what President Trump has been doing, it was only a matter of time until blatant Jew-hatred raised its ugly head with more strength and visibility than we have seen for a long time, even if he did not specifically advance it.

The mocking of people's looks and their intelligence, particularly members of minority groups; the mocking of a disabled person; attacking the media as the enemy of the people; the demonizing and demeaning of immigrants; the raising of the likelihood of an election being "rigged" if he had lost; the rallies where he offered to pay the legal fees of people who roughed others up; the title of his campaign "Make America Great Again," and on and on and on.

Any involved Jew who has been brought up with a sense of history and culture through the centuries knew as sure as they knew their name that it was just a matter of time before Jew-hatred surfaced. This kind of behavior is a time-tested incubator for scapegoating, and Jews are history’s favorite scapegoats.

Regardless of whether it was the President's intent or not, what he and some of his supporters were doing was a perfect recipe for Jew-hatred to be unleashed. It is a very old movie.

The President never had to mention Jews or use any code words to cause this result. However, he was warned repeatedly and it did not deter him, so he does bear some responsibility for the increase in and the baldness and intensity of what American Jews are now experiencing.

Moreover, he did send dog whistles and indicators to the haters that they could come out of the woodwork. MAGA hearkens back to slogans used previously by fascists who engaged in terrible Jew-hatred. The "fine people on both sides" comment given after people marched with torches chanting " Jews will not replace us" was a bone-chilling signal. The haters feel that they can now come out from under the rocks.

The fact that the President has a Jewish son-in-law, daughter, and grandchildren should provide no comfort. It could be that he never intended any of this and is just too dumb and ignorant to know what he was helping to create, but that is doubtful. More likely, like despots throughout history, he has the ability to compartmentalize and make distinctions that make no sense to most but do to some awful figures in history.

Pharaoh had some Jews in his court. Some Nazis had wives and other relatives with Jewish backgrounds. Stalin had Jewish scientists and others that were close to him while he purged Jewish doctors and others. The list goes on.

Whether he is an anti-Semite or not, whether he has Jewish family or not, the President’s conduct has helped to create an atmosphere where hate and bigotry flourish and where, ultimately, violence and death can take root.

Those on the other side of the aisle should not get overly smug or self-righteous about the culpability of the President and those on the right that defend or rationalize or deny his behavior and its impacts. Until recently, the creation of an atmosphere where Jew-hatred surfaces or flourishes on the left has taken a more subtle, high-brow tone than the Charleston torch-carriers or the Nazi sympathizers winning Republican primaries.

It is often dressed up as criticism of Israel. That makes it no less dangerous. Indeed, subtle, disguised demonizing can be more insidious and dangerous because it can more easily creep into mainstream thought and become part of societal norms.

When Jimmy Carter wrote a book entitled “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” inaccurately but deliberately associating the only Jewish-majority nation in the world with a term that today is no less odious than history’s blood libel, he engaged in an act of anti-Semitism and, in demonizing the Jewish state, he contributed to the demonizing of Jews.

When, on the many occasions when Carter’s point of view toward the Israel-Palestinian dispute did not carry the day in public polls or in Congress and he attributed it to some insidious, super-powerful, vaguely anti-American power in Washington, he fueled a dangerous stereotype rather than simply recognize that his arguments were not persuasive.

George H.W. Bush, a Republican, carried on the habit of raising the specter of some omnipotent, overpowering, somewhat nefarious force when responding to American Jews lobbying in support of an unconditional loan guarantee for Israel. In fact, what those American Jews were doing is what Americans are supposed to do: petition their government about issues they care about.

Instead of sticking to the issue, Bush responded to pro-Israel Americans lobbying with "I'm one lonely little guy" up against "some powerful political forces" made up of "a thousand lobbyists on the Hill." Perhaps an innocuous comment when made regarding pro or anti-abortion forces or the NRA, but a comment he should have known, and probably did know, conjured up centuries-old canards about Jews having too much power and being some kind of a cynical force. Predictably, the seemingly off-handed remark caused a deluge of antisemitic letters and comments. Bush later apologized.

President Obama, an admired figure in much of the American Jewish community, was not immune from engaging in behavior that, intentionally or not, contributes to the impression of the Jew as the “other,” as one who engages in conspiratorial, omnipotent, or questionable behavior.

When, at the outset of the Obama Administration, Middle East adviser Dennis Ross argued that the Administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute needed to take into consideration Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s domestic political sensitivities, an Administration insider leaked to the press that Ross needed to decide if he worked for Netanyahu or the U.S., a not-at-all subtle raising of the dual-loyalty allegation long used by Jew-haters. No one, including the President, rejected the charge. The aide was never identified, never punished.

President Obama engaged in similar behavior to President Bush’s when faced with opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. In contrast to Bush, the approach did not appear to be a one-off, spontaneous quip but, rather, part of a planned strategy.

Virtually from the moment the debate began, the Obama Administration raised the specter of a huge force lined up against the deal. Moreover, it framed the debate as if either one was for the deal or one was in favor of war, i.e. a warmonger. And, of course, in this scenario, the beneficiary of the warmongering was Israel.

In 2016 the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee included two people, Cornell West and James Zogby, who support BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), a movement whose leadership states their objective is the destruction of Israel. This is the height of Jew-hatred.

Some assert that you cannot equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Michelle Goldberg recently made that case in the New York Times. Wrong. Zionism is the Jewish People's Liberation Movement. It represents the right of the Jewish People to self-determination in the land in which they are an indigenous people. When one is anti-Zionist, i.e. when you want to destroy the Jewish people’s nation and deprive Jews of the right to self-determination in the land in which they are an indigenous people, you are engaging in Jew-hatred, aka anti-Semitism, of the worst kind.

People would not think to propose the destruction of Mexico, or of Iran, or of Egypt, or of Ghana, or of France. But somehow when it comes to Jews and the only Jewish-majority nation in the world, it is up for debate. No-- one who does that is a Jew-hater. The world does not get to decide what is Jew-hatred, what is anti-Semitism, what is offensive to Jews. Jews do. Just as African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, et. al. decide what is offensive and hateful towards them, Jews get to decide.

The definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the U.S. State Department and the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, supports the position that opposing Zionism and subjecting Israel to a double standard constitute anti-Semitism. Among the examples of anti-Semitism provided by the IHRA is: “Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” and “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

The fact that Michelle Goldberg, a Jew, feels otherwise demonstrates just how far some members of a minority group can become inculcated with characteristics and perspectives of the dominant culture around them. The fact that the New York Times publishes such views as if they are a credible expression of a legitimate point of view shows just how much Jews and the Jewish nation are treated differently than other minority groups and other nations. As Alan Dershowitz has said, Israel is the Jew of the world’s nations.

Cornell West has explicitly employed time-worn Jew-hating canards, has attributed an alleged lack of “candid dialogue” about Israel (really???!!!) to “money and lobbies.” Gee, I wonder who he was referring to. His speeches and writing demonstrate a fundamental issue with Jews: he attributes the worst evil to their nation.

Virtually no one except Alan Dershowitz objected to West and Zogby being on the 2016 Democratic Platform Committee. Good Democrats, including Jews, said it was necessary to satisfy the Sanders supporters, that it didn’t mean anything. In other words, we could put up with a little discomforting hate toward Jews in order to smooth over differences.

West and Zogby never would have been on the committee if they had made such offensive remarks about another minority group or supported a movement aimed at destroying another people's homeland. And Democrats would have justifiably and vociferously attacked a Republican Platform Committee that included David Duke or Richard Spencer because it was necessary to satisfy a constituency or because they otherwise brought something positive to the committee.

Somehow most on the liberal side of the spectrum think people on the left who would deny Jews their homeland or who use century old canards against Jews are less harmful than those on the right who express hatred toward Jews. When it came time for Democrats to stand up against hate, to choose principles over political expediency, they failed the test.

The left is justified in its criticism of the focus by the right on George Soros. Why vilify the billionaire Jewish liberal who supports political and charitable causes around the world when there are plenty of non-Jewish rich people doing the same thing? Not difficult to figure out the answer.

However, one wonders why those same people on the left have vilified Sheldon Adelson when there are so many non-Jewish rich people who give to right-wing causes. Because he is not a particularly good looking individual? Because his wife is Israeli and he strongly supports Israel? Because it conjures up stereotypes of the controlling, deceitful Jew that have underpinned Jew-hatred coming from both the left and the right for centuries?

More recently, before the terrible killings in Pittsburgh, the hate from the left took a turn from the relatively more sophisticated and subtler variety, often dressed up in anti-Israel language, to the more explicit.

Flags with Star of David at Chicago’s Dykes March banned because they “offend” someone. Despite a 25% minority population, and despite half of its Jewish population being of non-Ashkenazi heritage, Israel is demonized on college campuses as the poster-child of white, colonial usurpers, often by white, wealthy, supposedly tolerant and inclusive and educated young Americans who are descendants of white, colonial usurpers.

Jewish and pro-Israel college students who are subjected to “intersectionality,” a clever but transparent tool to isolate those who support Israel, are intimidated, isolated, and barred from participating in “progressive” campus initiatives unless they denounce their support for the Jewish people’s homeland. And, now, not a day goes by without some kind of hateful incident, in the form of graffiti, posters, or shouting, at some “tolerant, inclusive” American campus.

Recently professors at several well-known universities have made the news because of their refusal to write recommendations for students who wish to study abroad in. . . Cuba? Russia? China? Iran? Venezuela? Vietnam? Laos? Saudi Arabia? Yemen? Egypt? Turkey? Syria? Nope. The only country to which they felt that their “progressive” and “inclusive” and “diverse” and “academic freedom” approach to the world does not apply just happens to be the only Jewish-majority country in the world.

For the annual tuition of $48,670 at Pitzer College in Southern California a bright, inquisitive student gets all the academic freedom and stimulation he or she desires unless, that is, that bright, inquisitive student would like to study in Israel. In that case, the student is informed that the progressive, tolerant, academic freedom loving faculty voted to end the college’s study abroad program in Israel and only in Israel. Even if the administration ignores that vote, the student knows that his or her choice to study in the Jewish state will be looked upon with disfavor by faculty members who wield power over the student.

The left-wing professors and their disciples who are promoting intersectionality and an image of Israel as a white colonial enterprise suppressing and committing genocide against an indigenous people are engaging in the worst kind of Jew-hatred. Are they boycotting China, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, or Russia? Of course not. Just the Jewish state.

Through some convoluted intellectual gymnastics involving colonialism and white supremacy, with a good pinch of stated or unstated Jew-hatred thrown in, they may have convinced themselves and a lot of gullible people that it is has nothing to do with Jews. Yet it has everything to do with Jews.
Linda Sarsour, Linda Mallory, and other leaders of the Women’s March have made it clear that Zionists, i.e. Jews and others that believe Jews are entitled to a state, are not welcome in the movement.

Sarsour has now taken any wraps off of her bigotry and has descended into no-holds barred, full Jew-hating mode, pulling out one of the old standards: accusing American Jews of dual loyalty.  The protests from her compatriots? Not many.

Sarsour, Mallory, and a few Democratic members of Congress have been unwilling to completely disassociate from and unequivocally condemn Louis Farrakhan because, despite him being a proud and raging Jew-hater (as well as a hater of LGBTQ persons), he supposedly has qualities that redeem him in some way.

Presidents Obama and Clinton stood next to Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin's funeral and, as far as was discernible on television, made no effort to distance themselves from this first-class Jew-hater. No, they certainly did not ask to be sitting next to Farrakhan. But they could have moved. They’re former presidents. They can pretty much call the shots, even at a funeral.

Some on the left have said that the Franklin family had every right to invite whoever they wanted to Franklin’s funeral. That is true. But the fact that Farrakhan and his hate are so insinuated into society that it did not occur to them that it would be offensive to invite him and to sit him next to former presidents in a public funeral says a lot about how Jew-hatred has become accepted in some parts of American society.

To her credit, Chelsea Clinton has unequivocally condemned Farrakhan’s Jew-hatred and has made it clear there is no place for him in the public arena. Hers has been a lone voice.

Would this type of compartmentalization ever be used to give a David Duke or Richard Spencer a pass? Of course not, and rightfully so. The left would be the first to condemn such behavior. And, yet, when it comes to Sarsour and Mallory and others finding some worth in Farrakhan, the response is mostly silence.

Somehow when it comes to Jews, it is acceptable.

Democrats in Michigan elected to Congress a woman, Rashida Tlaib, who supports a one-state solution, another way of saying she supports eliminating the Jewish people's homeland--the height of Jew-hatred.

Virtually the first thing Congresswoman-elect Tlaib plans to do to represent her district of Southwest Detroit/Dearborn is to organize a trip for her fellow members of Congress. No, the trip is not to see the many serious problems in her district but, rather, is to the West Bank. Because, she says, she doesn’t think that “AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue." Here’s betting she has never been on a trip sponsored by AIPAC’s affiliate that provides such trips.

Tlaib says she wants her fellow members to “see that segregation [between Israelis and Palestinians] and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region.” One wonders if, in her interest to ensure that her colleagues thoroughly understand the situation, she will be showing them the graves of kids, teens, mothers, dads, sabas and saftas, the scarred faces, the bloody lost limbs, the blown-up buses, restaurants, and nightclubs, and all the other evidence of the terrorism that required Israel to institute security measures?

Will she show them the signs that warn Israeli citizens not to go to towns and areas because they might be kidnapped or killed? Will she show them the factories and stores where Palestinians and Israelis work together while terrorists try to murder the Israelis? Will she show them the jails where Palestinian journalists and those that dare to oppose Abbas or Hamas are detained and sometimes tortured? Doubtful.

The new Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar, led the Jewish community in her district to believe she was not a supporter of BDS, a movement whose leaders plainly state that their objective is the destruction of Israel. Once she won the nomination, she “clarified” that she supports BDS.

She once tweeted "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel," clearly alluding to old, hateful canards about some vast Jewish conspiracy and control over the world. She has inaccurately labeled Israel an apartheid regime. Ilhan Omar Once Tweeted Disdain For 'Apartheid Israel Regime'

Apparently, to the voters in the 13th district of Minnesota, none of this disqualifies one from serving as their representative.

Future Speaker of the House Pelosi has issued assurances that most congressional Democrats remain solidly committed to Israel, that these few anti-Israel voices are isolated to the “extreme left,” and that appointments to leadership positions on committees key to Israel will be solidly pro-Israel Democrats.

Good, but not good enough. Necessary, but not sufficient. This is not just politics. This is demonizing of the only Jewish country in the world. This is part of a campaign of delegitimating and eventually eliminating the state of the Jewish people in the land in which they are an indigenous people. Doing the right thing politically is great, but it is not enough.

Just as Pelosi expects the Republican Party to completely condemn and disassociate themselves from the Nazi sympathizers that captured Republican nominations for Congress, she and other Democrats should be completely isolating and disassociating themselves from people who hate and seek to demonize and destroy the Jewish people’s state. This is certainly what Mrs. Pelosi and other Democrats would do if someone among them called for the destruction of homeland of the Italian people, or the Irish people, or the Mexican people, or the Indian people. Somehow, with Jews, it’s just politics.

Will the Democrats loudly and clearly denounce this hatred and bigotry, these calls to eliminate the country that is the manifestation of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination? Will they unequivocally repudiate and disassociate from people who throw around some of the Jew-hating canards that have been used for centuries to demonize and persecute Jews?

But, those on the left side of the spectrum say, this is different, you are expecting too much, you are being extreme. Therein lies the problem. It is not different. The Democrats should do what they demand of those on the other side of the spectrum. The expectation that the left and the Democrats unequivocally repudiate and disassociate from the anti-Semites in their midst seems extreme only because they do not recognize in their own camp which they can so easily recognize in their opposition’s camp. Or they do not want to recognize, or they want to ignore, the hate in their own camp because it requires a response that involves political costs.

We most often hear rationalizations, distinctions, compartmentalization. “I condemn that statement.” “I think he/she meant to say.” “While I disagree with that there are other positive things we work on together.” “We must try to find common ground.”

None of these excuses, distinctions, and rationalizations would be accepted if the hatred were coming from the right. No one would go near someone who called for the destruction of Mexico, or Guatemala or whatever is left of the Indian Nations. No one would tolerate someone who said African-Americans or Asians or whoever have “hypnotized the world.” Yet, when it comes to Jews, it has become acceptable for many on the left.

If liberals and the Democratic Party do not unequivocally put the brakes on this Jew-hatred and demonizing of Israel insinuating itself into the party, it could wind up like the England’s Labor Party: overwhelmed with anti-Semitism, led by a barely-disguised Trotskyite, what’s left of British Jews abandoning it. Think it cannot happen? Ask British Jews if they ever thought the party of Tony Blair would come to be what it is today.

Airbnb announces that it will not do business with Jews who live in Jewish communities in the disputed West Bank. The boycott only applies against properties owned by Jews. Where else in the world, with all of the territorial disputes, with all of the occupations and alleged occupations, does Airbnb choose to not do business, and not do business with one religious group? Nowhere else.

Among Airbnb’s rationales for its bigotry was its statement that it does not want to do business where people are suffering as the result of displacement. But they chose to only not do business with Jews in the area. Moreover, should we expect they will soon cease business in the U.S. The last time I checked a hell of a lot of Native Americans were still suffering from being displaced.

Airbnb says that it will be assessing its business activities in other areas where territory is disputed. Cyprus? Ukraine? Tibet? Western Sahara? Northern Ireland? With all of these great candidates and more, one wonders how Airbnb chose to start with Jews. Don’t hold your breath for those other areas to be targeted.

Where is the outrage that would be evident if it was any other religious group being targeted? Where are the condemnations? The silence is deafening.

To treat Jews and the Jewish nation differently, to apply a double-standard to them, to say things about them and to take action against them that would not be said or taken against others, has become normalized and accepted. That which was once held in the closet is now out in the open.

Those on the right are quick to call out Jew-hatred and those who create the environment for it to surface on the left, while those on the left are quick to point it out on the right. That’s easy. The people who deserve respect are those who unequivocally call out reprehensible behavior in their own camp. There are very few of them these days. Ideology seems to trump (pardon me) standing up to hate.

Hate is hate is hate. Good people with good motivations should stand up to it without qualification or partisanship. And good smart people should recognize when seemingly innocuous or “political” comments and actions help contribute to the stereotypes and the atmosphere that allow Jew-hatred to surface, ultimately to the point of violence. They should not minimize or discount it, or explain it away, or make distinctions without a difference.

For the victims of Jew-hatred, there is no gain or comfort in comparisons or calculations of who is worse or more of a danger when it comes to hate or anti-democratic action. Regardless of whether it comes from the left or the right, it is equally disturbing and dangerous. Decent people should be condemning it regardless of its source.

President Trump has definitely contributed to an atmosphere where those harboring Jew-hatred feel more comfortable acting on their worst impulses, to the point of violence. But there is a long history of forces and voices from across the spectrum contributing to the stereotypes, conspiracy theories, and resentments that have gotten the U.S. to this ugly point.

While the hatred coming from the right has been more explicit, e.g. Charleston, neo-Nazis winning nominations for offices, until recently that coming from the left has been subtler, wrapped in academic arguments, and often taking the form of “criticism” of Israel. No more. Now some on the left have also become more explicit.

Does every single one of this litany of slights, incidents, and insults contribute to a direct, solid line to the explicit expressions of Jew-hatred seen in the Charleston March or the swastikas painted on dorm rooms and synagogues throughout the nation, or ultimately to the horror in Pittsburgh and the thwarted murders in D.C. and Toledo? Of course not.

But cumulatively they create images, conspiracy theories, and stereotypes, and they break down conventions and norms of society that have held the disease of anti-Semitism in check. They have slowly but surely, with a toxic drip-drip-drip, contributed to an environment where, when the right trigger appears, Jew-hatred escapes the closets that kept it in check.

A President that trades in fear, in targeting the other, in mocking the disabled, in viciously attacking the press and the opposition, clearly helped trigger that which had been nurtured and had become more acceptable in the environment.

The line might not be direct, and it might be dotted rather than solid, but it clearly exists.

Unless good people across the political spectrum speak up loudly, quickly, and without hesitation to the Jew-hatred whatever its origins or forms, the future for American Jews, and for America, will not be pretty.

(Originally published in The Times of Israel)


  1. Thank you. A complicated essay that speaks truth.

  2. You took the circuitous Trump-bashing route to finally get to your underlying point, and that is that the committed Left are truly the most numerous and now explicitly anti-Semites in the West.

    While I think your characterizations of Trump and the so-called hateful environment he has created are wildly exaggerated and off-the-mark vis-a-vis anti-semitism, I do think it’s possible Trump does think some of his base (particularly in the South) harbor racist leanings. And therefore he hesitates to condemn such bigotry. That’s shameless but it doesn’t show that he harbors such hate. If anything it indicates his loathing of those who do, that he has to condescend to them. But it is political cowardice, most assuredly.

    Regardless, there is no comparing the amount of anti-Zionist hatred — in terms of degree and scope — of the Left and Right. One doesn’t have to read into the heart of each man/woman to see actual governing decisions and policy prescriptions called for by the two opposing sides that either favor the protection of Israel (conservative/Right) or its utter destruction (collectivist/Left).

    And while on the subject of the Left/Right (collectivist/individualistic) dichotomy, the so-called “Alt Right” neo-Nazi movement in America is much more closely aligned to Leftwing ideology than conservative principles. Don’t believe me? Watch this two minute interview of Richard Spencer, the “David Duke” of this generation’s racists:
    I appreciate you calling out the growing Jew-hatred among the committed Left, because that far exceeds whatever remnants of such bigotry exists among those on the Right. They control most universities’ humanities departments and administrative offices and they are deeply engrained within the power structures and grassroots of the Democrat Party. Just ask Alan Dershowitz.

    I imagine this column will get more vitriol than any you’ve written, since it goes after both sides. But your attempt at moral equivalence isn’t justified by concrete facts and the publicly embraced policies of the two political sides (and not just the extremes in their midsts).

  3. As usual, very thoughtful commentary. I do, however, feel that Trump’s own commentary is most responsible for unleashing not only anti-Semitic shouting, but, in general, an outpouring of hateful commentary. Those who fear, hate and are angry — generally ignorant/less educated — are what I would consider Trump’s base. His failure to condemn in no uncertain terms the outpouring of hate is critical. (His only accomplishment — having the US recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel! Next we should either go after the UN’s continued anti-Israel positions or drop out of the UN altogether! It is a totally useless organization!

  4. I wonder and wonder…what does the Man Upstairs want from us?

  5. Thanks for your article, always insightful and food for thought.

  6. Excellent, excellent balanced article and agree with all. That being said, the far left and not so far left worry me much, much more than the far right. Did the terrible events in Israel over the last week even make it to the US main stream media let alone in Europe. Hamas takes responsibility for shooting a pregnant woman and celebrates this?!?! We are in deep dark trouble.

  7. We do not like what is going on. Period.