Alan Newman

Mob mentality

Image from Wikipedia
Image from Wikipedia

Jews are all too familiar with mobs. Deep in their DNA is the inherited trauma recalling antisemitic pogroms with Cossacks ripping through their ancestor’s grim little shtetl screeching about “Christ killers.” Jews, in their mind’s eye, flashback to black and white images of Kristallnacht’s Nazi mobs rampaging through German cities shouting about a shooting in Paris. Persecutions and expulsions across the centuries are imbedded in collective repressed fears. Train tracks and chimneys belching smoke are there too.

When you are a minority, you feel the crush of the masses bearing down on your small numbers. When you are that “few,” you are vulnerable to lies and distortions, because truth and justice are rarely your protectors.

Now, we see pro-Palestinian mobs raging on American streets and disrupting elite college campuses. The news cycle captures their noisy marches, clashes with police and sit-in performances. Despite living in today’s “modern” society with all the communications and access to tera-bytes of information, the ignorance of the masses and failure of our educational systems is a large part of the problem. The demonstrator’s indignation about Jews and Israelis and even America, and support of Palestinians and Hamas, mirrors the rabid, irrational, unschooled fury of their Cossack and Nazi forerunners.

A Chinese proverb tells us, “A wise man makes his own decisions, but an ignorant man mindlessly follows the crowd.” A cynical, jocular observation captures the ignorance of pro-Palestinian protestors shouting “…from the river to the sea.” The punchline is they don’t know what is the river and what is the seaand they can’t find Israel on a map.

The thousands of marchers carry placards that appear too mass-produced for a grass roots movement. The tents in their “Zionist Free Zone” encampments look like a bulk purchase from Patagonia or REI. Are the mobs from central casting and the cause dialed up au courant perhaps reminiscent of BLM-George Floyd or January 6?

But, putting aside the pregnant question of who funds the mob, we should wonder how knowledgeable is the assembled. What history have they studied about the issues that they find so unjust? Why has the American education system failed so badly? What might the Jewish community have done better to educate? Apparently, the billions of dollars invested by Arab nations into our educational systems is paying very big dividends and hollowing out of our great educational institutions and brainwashing our youth.

The profound ignorance of the mob regarding the very complex Middle East geopolitics is not surprising and is worsened by the dumbing down of American education process that has replaced rigorous academic learning with bumper-sticker propaganda supporting left-leaning, DEI corrupted, virtue signaling dogma. The belief that each of us can have their own “truth” defies basic precept of knowledge, hence undermining the rule of law and precepts of learning.

NPR CEO Katherine Maher has been recently criticized for suspending editor Uri Berliner. He pointed out in an essay for “Free Press” that the entire staff of NPR were Democrats, and none were Republicans.  In 2022, Maher revealed her disregard for the truth by saying, “Our reverence for the truth might be a distraction that is getting in the way of finding common ground and getting things done…” Like the Harvard president who invoked “context” to sidestep what ought to be clarity about the hate speech aimed at Jews, their Orwellian doublethink makes one dizzy.

The Palestinian keffiyeh, worn by the marchers, is a broadly recognized symbol. Beyond this stylish garb, who in the crowd knows about the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the 1920 San Remo Agreement, the 1922 Treaty of Rapallo, the 1947 UN Resolution 181 Partition Plan, the UNSC Resolution 242 at the end of the 1967 war, the 2006 Gaza disengagement, or the multiple generous offers by Israel for division of the land to the Palestinian Authority? These are some of the relevant, legally binding, lawful facts of the last century’s documented international diplomacy.

A review of many millennia-old biblical texts referencing Samaria and Judea is another basis for learning. So too is the contrast of the behavior, over the same piece of land, of the Jordanians, with their Judenfrei policies and desecrations, to Israel’s Protection of Holy Places Law ensuring ready access to all the holy sites. Most recently, the Hamas GoPro footage, documenting the barbaric massacre is self-incriminating evidence. The mob’s usurping the “genocide” charge begs contrast to the ever-expanding Palestinian population.

Bottom line: If the marchers submitted to a Middle East IQ test or sat down with a Number Two Eberhart pencil for an Israel-Palestine Conflict SAT exam, we can predict failing grades. The dearth of substantiated knowledge has led the mob to inconvenient replacement of “facts” with “feelings.” Their keffiyehs would be replaced with a dunce caps.

Today’s American Jews, ranging from the few remaining of the “greatest generation” to the greying baby-boomer generation to those who enjoy the accrued benefits of the Jewish Golden Age, watch anxiously as the pro-Palestinian protestors take to the streets. The irony of the antisemitic eruption on the very university campuses that they support and that represent hard-earned academic achievement shouldn’t be lost on them.  If Einstein had to leave Germany, what’s in store for their college-bound grandchild?

President Biden has been disappointingly quiet about the antisemitic mobs and campus unrest. In his sparse commentary he has equivocated and invoked a balancing concern for Palestinians. Is it the 2024 Dearborn strategy? American Jews and pro-Israel Christians should maximize the pressure on the Biden administration to halt the unrest. The anti-Israel Squad in Congress must be defeated in upcoming elections.

American Jews and pro-Israel Christians shouldn’t be bullied by the foolish protestors and can also apply pressure on the universities by withholding contributions. They can demand universities crack down on protesters by calling out the police and having them arrested. Professional agitator should immediately be banned from campuses. Foreign students with visas should be deported from our country if they call for “death to America.” American students should be expelled from college if they participated unlawful protests.  Lastly, the National Guard should be called out to restore order.

Do Jews need another Peter Bergson to rouse major Jewish organizations? These legacy organizations need to show the impact of the billions of dollars annually donated and to step up their game advocating for support, accurate reporting, and eradication of the mobs.

About the Author
Alan Newman is a life-long supporter of the Jewish community and Israel. His commitment is evident with his hands-on approach and leadership positions at AIPAC, StandWithUs, Ben-Gurion University, Ethiopian National Project and Federation’s JCRC. He has traveled to Israel almost two dozen times and is an enthusiastic supporter of pro-Israel Christians including critical organizations like CUFI, ICEJ, USIEA and Genesis 123 Foundation. Alan’s compelling novel, GOOD HEART, published by Gefen Publishing House, is a multi-generational story about a Christian and Jewish family. He was a senior executive at Citigroup and holds two US Patents. He lives with his wife in West Palm Beach and enjoys time with his two sons and their families.
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