The radical leftist reaction –
American Jews are suffering because of Trump, Israel, the occupation, the embassy, the nation-state law, or whatever we disagree with this week.
Really? Crazy only started in 2018, 2016, 1967, 1948? This particular crazy was convinced that Jews are out to subjugate white Christians. That’s it. Any attempt to paint it as anything else, any attempt to tie this mass murder to American and/or Israeli policy is nothing more than a cynical exploitation of a horrific loss of life.
The radical rightist reaction –
American Jews are suffering because they are unarmed gun control advocates.
Tell that to the well-armed, well-trained police who were gunned down that day. I am a gun owner, and I just don’t see the brilliance in a system that has made it so easy for crazy people to amass private arsenals. Again, another cynical use of tragedy for a pet political cause.
The radical religious Zionist response –
Come to Israel now before it’s too late. It’s no longer safe in the US/Europe.
This one is repeated after every major and minor antisemitic incident. By this logic, we should simply tally up the death and injury numbers on a regular basis and decide where to live next. What about terror in Israel? Thousands of us leave home every morning, knowing in the back of our heads that someone, maybe the person standing next to us, is actively plotting our death. Sometimes they succeed. If antisemitism is a reason to come, is terror a reason not to come?
The apocalyptic/mystical response –
The Messiah is at hand. He must come now. Things can’t get much worse than this. We’ve reached a breaking point. Rabbi so and so predicted this.
Really? I’m not even going to touch the sad reality of charlatans that prey on the angst of naive people, but this idea that we are living in a period of unprecedented terror, antisemitism, war, catastrophe, etc., betrays a total disconnect from historical reality. For the world at large, and especially for the Jewish people, things are great right now. The Jewish people are in the midst of a period of calm, prosperity and security that is unprecedented in all our recorded history. Go back as far as you wish and you will find a Jewish history replete with never-ending cycles of famine, war, and plague. War is not the limited and largely controlled skirmishes we live with today. I’m talking about real wars, wars that wiped out entire communities. These horrors were the daily reality of Jews since remote antiquity. They are not part of our current reality.
Every Jewish life lost destroys an entire world for someone. No one is making light of that. At the same time, it is baffling that anyone could compare Jewish suffering today with that of the Roman occupation, Byzantine rule, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Holocaust etc. This type of thinking has no sense of proportion or context. It represents a worldview that has broken free of all the moorings of objective reality. We can and should focus on making our communities safer, our lives better, without all this reactionary rhetoric.
A Jew should live in Israel for many reasons, but escaping impending genocide and/or preparing for the end of days is not one of them. A religious Jew has a thousand reasons to live in the land of Israel, but leaving religion aside, a Jew should live here because he/she is a Jew, and Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Our future is and will continue to be forged here and nowhere else. For the first time in millennia, responsibility for our security and wellbeing is in our own hands. It’s a bright future, and we should consider ourselves fortunate to be part of such an enterprise.