This week I saw a post by Adam Milstein, one of the few conventional Jewish American activists that I do follow where he lamented the rumoured closing of the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor Antisemitism (SEAS) of the US State Department and pondered why Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump were “turning a blind eye” to anti-Semitism. I almost choked on my drink from laughter. Our State Department concluded an agreement with Iran two years ago, arguably the most anti-Jew nation today that basically gave them everything but a new Hyundai just to pretend to disarm their nuclear weapons. An office to MONITOR anything, including anti-Semitism which I prefer to call anti-Jew activity because it really isn’t much of an -ism, can DO only one thing and that’s as the title suggests point at something that’s happening and gripe pathetically. The fact of the matter is that like many state-run institutions SEAS is actually less effective than private counterparts like CAMERA and MEMRI, and its official standing is more of an obstacle than it is an advantage. My impression is that Milstein may be a nice person, and a generous philanthropist, but he really is feeling around in the dark not just about how to solve the problem, but even knowing what’s going on.
This reminds me of one of the best movie moments I’ve seen in the past few years was from The Interview when James Franco’s character Dave Skylark shouts out “they hate us ‘cuz they ain’t us”, with the “ain’t us” sounding like “anus”. Many of the more mature readers probably are not fans of that movie, but for some Jews reacting to anti-Jew rhetoric it’s a convenient way to absorb the phenomenon. They believe that much of the Jew hatred is created out of jealousy. And of course there are the common mumbles about racial attitudes, the Christian belief that the Jews murdered Christ, and the more recent Israel-Palestine conflict.
Those are all fine answers, but they also rationalize a phenomenon that in many ways defies reason. I once had a Bengali Hindu friend in college that said blatantly and directly anti-Jew things to me. You might ask, “do you really keep friends like that?” I can’t say we’re besties, but he wasn’t a unique case. My attitude towards anti-Jewish activities is one that you may take time to process, but the sooner you do the better: ACCEPT IT. No, I don’t mean just be a doormat, but this is a part of our destiny and we have to deal with it as opposed to lamenting about it.
A much more well-regarded individual wrote this passage about the Jews:
“I will pursue them with the sword, with the famine, and with plague. I will make them a horror for all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and a desolation, an object of hissing and scorn among all the nations to which I exiled them”.
The person that wrote this was not Goebbels, or Emperor Titus, or one of the Tsars. It was Jeremiah the Prophet (29:18), a Jewish priest born in the town of Anathoth north of Jerusalem around 636 BC (or 3298 AM if you’re touchy). And he was basically predicting the condition under which his compatriots and their descendants would live after the destruction of the First Temple and exile to Babylon, but implicitly extending until today.
Jeremiah also went into the reasons for this tragic occurrence, which are tied to the continuation of idolatry and lack of faith among the people of Judea, as well as the refusal of King Zedekiah to accept the Lord’s mandate that Judea be subjugated as a Babylonian vassal as he had prophesied. For those of you that call Jeremiah the first self-hating Jew, you might want to read the last 10 chapters all of which condemn to ruin practically every other nation in the known world. His message was bleak but honest.
In the past few weeks I’ve watched the Jewish progressive circles go into histrionics for various bizarre reasons. First there was the complaint by the progressive whine tasters that Gal Gadot was not “diverse” enough of a casting call for Wonder Woman, which was met by the ludicrous case in many places including this platform that Ashkenazi Jews are “people of colour”. For people who think that I’m reacting strangely to anti-Jew activity, please follow the link in the previous sentence, and I’ll appear relatively normal. In fact you can read my reply here to these Phenotype Phiction Authors. After that was the bizarre case of four lesbians that were ejected from the Chicago Dyke March due to other marchers not feeling safe when they flew a Star of David rainbow flag. I’ve addressed that issue as well, noting that these people knew exactly what they were doing and who they were dealing with, and therefore I don’t see why this is such a surprise.
But on a deeper level, it is harder to address the people that are in positions of responsibility (I will not call it leadership), the ones that do speak to people that have influence, because they are often deluded by their own power and comfort. I include Milstein in this group, and I am trying for once to be respectful: They really are in over their heads. People are going to hate us, and it’s not going to stop, but there’s ways to deal with it and then there’s ways to make it worse. So here are a few points that I submit for your consideration that maybe you should forward to them:
- Jewish Orgs: These bodies represent the economic strength of the Jews, but they don’t represent the theology, traditions, or even the mindset of a gradually dispersing Jewish America. I know they claim that they have common values, but if you ask the common person whatever denomination they belong to, most people will say either they have no clue what these so-called values are, or even that they disagree with them. There’s a local museum of Jewish heritage here that’s all the rage with the press and Jewish orgs, but I haven’t visited it because it completely and almost intentionally ignores not only religion but religious communities. It’s not that I’m making a statement; there’s just nothing there to interest me.
- Tragic Identity: The Holocaust is considered the worst tragedy that occurred to the Jews, at least in recent memory. But it’s not the end all and be all of our history. Some people treat it as such. For those few that are alive and have survived the Holocaust, it’s easy to understand why they so strongly seek to keep its memory alive. However, it’s not something to build an identity upon. I’ve had arguments with people over and over again that seem to go to Holocaust commemoration events literally all the time and don’t understand why I don’t. Let me ask those of you that are of a like mind to them, how many of you were aware from the verse in Jeremiah that I described. Better yet, how many of you have actually attempted to read the Bible at all? Those of you that don’t understand how a Holocaust can happen should probably realize that the world has never been and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future a place where such events are out of the ordinary.
- Biblical illiteracy: I’m not gonna mince words, a lot of Jews simply haven’t read any of the Bible (I’m not telling you to read it all) and couldn’t care less about it.
- Victim mentality or enabling: Like the whine tasters, Jewish progressives have been enculturated with the values of multiculturalism. I’ll make it short and sweet: Multiculturalism is No-Culture-ism. Recently this bus with no brakes has arrived at its final stop: Cultural appropriation is now a no-no among progressives whereas past iterations of that community would gleefully join yoga circles and visit ashrams while wearing kasayas. Now there are BLM activists chasing down white people wearing dreadlocks and basically berating them as criminals. Sounds like a happy life, no? Well the Jews among that community, including the ones at the Chicago Dyke March, are not immune from the consequences of this vapid and pointless subculture. Nobody in the progressive community will stand up for them when they’re called out, and the general public looks upon them with ridicule anyway.
- Emphasize the individual: Something positive for everyone. Your Judaism is not defined by an organization, a congregation, or even your genetic persuasion (channeling Johnnie Cochran). We do have a common tradition and religion, yet much of mainstream American Jewry rejects them in organized form because they do not accurately reflect their beliefs. So why do they think that their political and social opinions are well-represented in an aggregated, composite, asphalt form by organizations like AJC, ADL, or AIPAC?
Lastly, one more piece of advice. If the latest wave of anti-Semitism is really as bad as it’s being made out to be, and threatens the lives and welfare of Jewish communities, then Jews as individuals should be willing to take their defense into their own hands. This includes self-defense training and firearms. Jewish institutions in France are now often under armed military guard. How long do you think that can last? This belief that those that do right by the world will by done right in return has never held true throughout history.