2016: It’s Been Bad For The Jews

My Rosh HaShanah resolution was to stop reading The Forward and Ha’aretz. The former wants to make news out of anyone Jewish doing something not stereotypically Ashkenazic (Jews playing football!) and the latter wants to make news out of masochism. These get attention along the lines of the old “man bites dog” routine.

But I can’t for the life of me understand the broader Jewish community’s reaction to this year and its events. As I type this, a major party’s candidate for the presidency has invoked language straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and there is not much about it, except a tepid call from the ADL to “avoid such language,” seemingly giving the benefit of the doubt that this was done unintentionally, despite stronger circumstantial evidence to the contrary than is usually given said benefit of the doubt. Yet even if not intentional, it was culpably reckless and taken by many of the white supremecist corners of the Internet very literally. Their hate is unleashed by it regardless of intent.

Yet Pro-Israel websites (rightly—thankfully, they do) point out every time an Arabic language newspaper or newscaster invokes these tropes in a cartoon, writing, or newscast. Today there is nothing I can see on the front page of the ADL’s site about the speech, but there is plenty about UNESCO’s absurd resolution about the Temple Mount and I’ve heard next to nothing in the usual canaries in the coal mine.

It’s not the silence that’s deafening this time, it’s the half-hearted murmur.

Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time? It cannot be—can it—that so many who have no fear of speaking up against any power or slaying any sacred cow to ensure “never again” means “never again”—are afraid to involve themselves in presidential politics? That fear certainly did not seem to be present in 2015 or in 2012. It must be something else.

Make no mistake: there are threats from every direction. A candidate for one party’s nomination placed delegates on a high powered committee who have a track record of incendiary anti-Israel bias. The other party has the CEO of an antisemitic, Jew-baiting Internet website as its nominee’s CEO. Yet it’s telling that Cornell West received more attention than this latest “reckless” speech.

In the last year, we have seen the Labour Party in the UK fail to deal with a pervasive antisemitism problem and the silencing and dismissal of voices of European Jews concerned about the Jew hatred among some of the new immigrants in their communities.

In Israel, numerous stabbings and stabbing attempts are reported abroad only as Israeli policing shooting a Palestinian, failing to mention the “victim” was in the process of an attempted murder.

There is more everywhere you turn. This list is not close to exhaustive.

It’s overwhelming. It’s overloading. I understand if we revert to our well practiced routines of mobilizing against the latest action from the UN, but we can’t let denial or expediency leave us silent in the face of another clear and present danger.