Antony Gordon

Stop pushing the Jewish People under the bus in the name of social justice

Those of you who may have read any of the articles I have penned or attended any of the lectures that I have presented regarding the lesson we Jews need to learn from the dramatic betrayal of South Africa Jewry by the ANC leadership are all too familiar with my view on tikkun olam. While the concept is noble and unquestionably people have embraced tikkun olam with only benevolent motives, the groundswell of antisemitism across the globe should be a sobering wake-up call to my many so-called progressive Jewish friends.

While I do not wish to repeat what I have said in other forums, it is important to understand that the term tikkun olam as used by well-meaning Jews in the pursuit of virtuous goals has been completely misused and distorted albeit it only out of ignorance.

Tikkun olam does not mean repairing the world in the sense of social justice. To be clear, the term and concept tikkun olam does not appear in the Torah itself but appears in the Mishna and Talmud in the context of courts and halachic regulations involving disputes and legal rights, but I digress.

As has become evident on university campuses across America, Jews in their pursuit of tikkun olam have found themselves standing alone in the face of antisemitism.

Throughout history, Jews have been at the forefront of social-justice movements – not only in South Africa – advocating for the rights of the oppressed and marginalized. Sadly though, in their eagerness to stand with others, Jews have found themselves abandoned when it comes to confronting antisemitism. In those moments of crisis, when Jews needed support the most, they typically found themselves standing alone, betrayed by those they thought were allies.

One of the most insidious aspects of antisemitism is its ability to masquerade as legitimate criticism of Israel. In recent years, we have seen a troubling trend of individuals and groups using criticism of Israel as a cover for antisemitic beliefs. This phenomenon, sometimes referred to as the “new antisemitism,” seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel and deny the Jewish people the right to self-determination.

Those who engage in this form of antisemitism often claim that they are simply criticizing the policies of the Israeli government. Their rhetoric however crosses the line into outright hatred of Jews, using age-old stereotypes and tropes to demonize and dehumanize the Jewish people. This kind of antisemitism is particularly insidious because it exploits the principles of tikkun olam, twisting them into a weapon against the Jewish people.

When criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism, it must be confronted and condemned. Jews must not allow their commitment to tikkun olam to blind them to the reality of antisemitism. They must be vigilant in recognizing and combating antisemitism wherever it appears, even when it comes disguised as legitimate criticism.

The Jewish people have a long and proud history of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. They have shown repeatedly that they are willing to fight for justice, even when it means standing alone.

It is time for Jews to reclaim the narrative and assert their right to self-defense. They must not allow themselves to be bullied into silence or scapegoated for the sins of others. They must stand up proudly and assert their identity as Jews, refusing to be ashamed or afraid. They must remember that being a Jew is not just about what you do but about who you are, and no amount of tikkun olam can ever justify abandoning your own people.

About the Author
Antony Gordon, a Fulbright Scholar, graduate of the Harvard Law School and member of the Advisory Council for Israel and Middle East Security spearheaded by Congressman Ron DeSantis, Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee is the co-author of the renowned research article titled “Will Your Grandchild Be Jewish? and one of the most sought after speakers in the Jewish world in America.
Related Topics
Related Posts