New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently apologized for comments he made on April 28, 2020, singling out and chastising the Jewish-American community for failing to follow his social-distancing decrees during the funeral of a prominent rabbi, Chaim Mertz. New Yorkers are at a loss to explain how the leader of the city with the largest Jewish population in the world could seize the opportunity to slam such a wide portion of his constituency. However, after a closer look, the mayor might deserve some latitude. His snub to Jews, after all, seems to follow in the tried and true historic path of Democratic policy-makers who’ve quite successfully garnered wide support among the Jewish-American electorate for at least the last half-century—by insulting them.
When the Democrats became the party offering a home to the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanction movement, one of the world’s most prominent anti-Israeli organizations, 75% of Jewish-Americans voted Democrat. When the DNC held up a sea of “Free Palestine!” placards at their 2016 convention in front of a nationwide television audience, 75% of Jewish-Americans voted for them. When they enlisted Keith Ellison as their Deputy Chair in 2017, someone CNN and other media have identified as having “decades-long involvement with the Nation of Islam,” three-quarters of Jewish-American voters turned out for them in 2018. When Rev. Louis Farrakhan loudly declared that Jews were “termites” in front of a massive audience in Detroit— three days before someone took him at his word and opened fire at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh— Jewish-Americans only three months later got in line for the Democrat “Women’s March,” headed up by leaders who adamantly refused to shed their allegiance to Louis Farrakhan.
It’s not exaggeration then to consider that de Blasio’s gaffe should be considered hardly an outlier; Democrats have taken pains to make it plain that whoever has a grievance with Jews, theirs is the party of choice.
But aside from Jewish-Americans actively courting a bloc that overtly slights them, it’s just as remarkable that the Democrats also are a faction that couldn’t adhere less to the core values held by Jews for the last four thousand years.
Jews’ steadfast qualities maintained across millennia—hard work, patriotism, religious piety, intense focus on family—are in direct contradiction to planks in a Democrat platform that vigorously points in the opposite direction. Progressivism worries far less about jobs, and much more over providing doles for idleness. It struggles to remove even the allusion to God from society’s currency, monuments and public life. Patriotism is maudlin nonsense for more than a few in the Democratic Party, having made a tradition of apologizing ad nauseam, in any and every venue throughout the world, for everything and anything for which the West has stood and fought.
And, as far as family is concerned, among the extremists lurking at the far-fringe of this party is the odium against family tradition so virulent as to condemn half of humanity as carriers of “toxic masculinity,” a neurotic misandry so rampant as to even sanction powerful hormones being administered to underage boys to chemically castrate them. All of that and more is the face of a party in the throes of what seems nothing less than a cognitive breakdown concerning especially the family, peddling dozens of genders, for example, instead of the plain old XX and XY chromosomes of genetics. Those base pairs and genes, having functioned for the entirety of the history of mammals on planet Earth, now simply and perfunctorily pushed out the door, superseded by partisanship run amok.
The extreme Democrat wing is home to all stripes of radicals, among which are those who’d also like very much to see the nation of Israel erased from the Earth. The question then is quite germane: What are Jewish-Americans doing in the ranks of such a party?
There are supposed reasons, but just not ones much more convincing than harking back to someone’s great, great, grandfather having voted Democratic. Or there’s the other dog-eared pretext— Jewish-Americans traditionally favoring the party that purports to represent the underdog. Yet, the era of fighting to someday bring to fruition the dream of an eight-hour workday, weekends off, child laborers freed from factories, free public schools, and maybe even to end the Vietnam War, is long since past.
No justification exists, however, for any people to blind themselves to the overt hostilities of enemies in their midst, to ignore the primal and universal biological law that underpins all life, that of self-preservation. Forgetting what all histories teach in this regard elicits new and harsh lessons every time. And the Jewish people are hardly alone here; this echoes throughout the chronicles of every nation and every age.
I had that lesson refreshed for me very recently with an African Studies professor at an Ivy League university in the United States, one of the leading experts in the world on the Rwandan genocide. I broached a question I’d never seen asked or answered about the nightmarish turning of neighbor against neighbor from the 1990s. Was there any segment of the Tutsi population, I inquired, any political stripe among that tribe, who had suicidally aligned themselves in some way with their Hutu adversaries, unable to see their own coming annihilation?
His eye-brow raising response was that, indeed, amid a “very complicated” interaction between Tutsi and Hutu and their political parties that “it was not that uncommon to find Tutsis participating, at various levels and with diverse motives, in the activities associated with the genocide,” an event in which 800,000 of their fellow Tutsis were hacked to death by Hutus with machetes over a gruesome 103-day period.
But that was Africa 26 years ago and not America in the present it could be said by those who may see no relevance in the comparison. Besides, the Democratic Party, through the auspices of its flagship mayor of New York, having taken yet another swipe at Jews, is sorry. It won’t happen again; this is the last time. Yet it’s hardly cynicism to assume some unspoken part of that apology is to feign the smiling pretense put on every few years in the direction of Jewish-Americans, for a little while anyway, as the next election approaches. It is that time again next November.