The Jewish Divide — Enabling Hate from Within

As I opened my eyes this morning, for a very brief moment, it was if this weekend was nothing more than a bad dream. For a split second, I felt myself wondering if the tragedy in Pittsburgh was nothing more than a horrible nightmare. As I picked up my phone to look at my daily feed, reality set in.

The nightmare was real.

A tragedy.

Eleven Jews gunned down in a place that for most of us is a symbol of security, love and faith.

“All Jews Must Die”, he screamed as he opened fire on the innocent parishioners. 

I froze. Our worst fear as a community had just become reality. A synagogue was attacked. Jews were killed for being Jews. Antisemitism fanned the flames of hate and Jewish lives were lost as a result. 

My body shakes. I can remember the very first thought that ran through my mind as I watched.

I was glad that my grandfather, a survivor of the Nazi atrocities was no longer with us. I was glad that he wouldn’t have to bear witness to a tragedy that was steeped in the same vile hate that saw his parents gassed and cremated. 

This was a time when we as a community needed to come together. Jews as Jews. Not as Democrats or Republicans. Not as Orthodox, Conservative or Reform. Not as Israeli or Diaspora. Not as Ashkenazi, Sephardic or Mizrahi. As Jews. 

That hope was quickly shattered when Women’s March Leader Linda Sarsour, the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to her relationship with the Jewish community, tweeted “Whomever did this is a monster. Our places of worship should be sanctuaries. We should all be free and safe to practice our faith in this country with our fear of being targeted”

The same woman who championed Rasmea Odeh, 69, a terrorist convicted of murdering Jews during a 1969 bombing, giving her a voice and excusing her atrocities. 

The same woman who was asked to speak at the annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) conference and was recorded telling those same Americans in attendance to stop “humanizing” Israeli Jews. 

The same woman who claims that Zionism, the right of the Jewish people to self determination in our ancestral homeland, is “creepy”.

As a leader of the Women’s March, she denied feminists, men and women alike, the right to march side by side with other feminists who also were strong supporters of the Jewish people’s homeland,  as she claimed feminism and Zionism cannot be intertwined. 

The same woman who is a staunch supporter of Louis Farrakhan, arguably the most abhorrent and vocal anti-Semite in America today. 

The Pittsburgh massacre did not happen in a vacuum. The murderer’s name who I refuse to memorialize here had social media accounts full of the same hateful, Anti-Semitic rhetoric of Louis Farrakhan, Hamas, David Duke and Linda Sarsour. 

So why was I so taken aback by well wishes from a person who I’ve come to expect anti-Semitic hate from? The acceptance of her New Age anti-Semitism and response to it, by a cross section of American Jewry.

While Linda, herself, cannot harm our community, she fans the flames of hate and Antisemitism, feeding individuals like the shooter, who take heed of every hateful word and act as a result.

 Her anti-Semitic views and support of some of America’s most hateful have been exposed time and time again.

Prominent personalities such as CNN’s Jake Tapper have held her to account for the hateful vitriol she works so hard to indoctrinate amongst America’s youth. 

It’s the willingness of members of our community who have an augmented view of the Jewish people’s story and as such are willing embrace her hateful narrative.

Diaspora Jews who use their ethnicity to give credence to their radical and divisive narrative. Us vs. them.  Israel vs. Diaspora.

Here inlays the most frightening and dangerous threat we face as a people. A threat from within. The willingness of the “enlightened” to divide our community and side with those who dehumanize us , hiding behind the ruse of social justice. A threat to divide us, rather than unite us. 

This past weekend, while the Jewish people faced what was described as “The worst anti-Semitic attack in US history” a time when we, as a people, should be supporting and embracing one and other, the hatred and divide from within began.

IfNotNow, a group that describes itself as a “progressive American activist group opposing the occupation of the Judea and Samaria and Gaza” took to the social media channels to record Kaddish, a Jewish mourners prayer for those whose lives were taken in Pittsburgh. A beautiful gesture. 

But, the same group was recored reciting the same prayer for Hamas terrorists killed while attempting to infiltrate Israel, while armed this past summer.

Taking one of Judaism’s most sacred texts, honouring those who passed, praying for their souls to reach the heavens, and desecrating it by reciting it over terrorists who were vehemently attempting to slaughter Jews for being Jews.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of  Truah Rabbis, an American group that has taken religion an politicized it, reposted an article by Franklin Foer of the Atlantic that read “Any strategy of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers too. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger” only to end her post by thanking  the author for his words. 

On a day that we mourn the loss of Jewish lives,  a “rabbi” calls on the Jewish community to shun certain Jews because of their political leanings, for all intents and purposes placing blame on certain Jews for the murder in Pittsburgh.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs has decided to join the article’s author in blaming the victims.

Those same Jews she called to excommunicate were equal targets in Pittsburgh. Jacobs would do well to remind herself that the gunman was not after Jews that leaned one way or another, politically.

“All Jews must Die” he yelled. “All”

A rabbi, a spiritual leader whose entire job description is to guide and unite our people, took to social media following the massacre to divide and incite hate.

Of course, Jacob’s reposting of such divisive words was not the action of a rabbi, but of someone who is far more sinister.

A false prophet,  as is described in the theocratic world.

As a community we know to expect Antisemitism from the radical right. The right has always been a safe haven for such hate.

What we as a community need to aware ourselves of, is the growing Antisemitism from the radical left. A far more dangerous Antisemitism as it masks itself behind a the illusion of social justice, often peddled by some of our own. It attempts to divide us from within, creating a chasm between the two largest global Jewish populations, Israel and the US.

The Jewish people are the most persecuted people of all times. That is a fact.

Our strength, perseverance and ability to unite during the most difficult of times has been our saving grace.

I call on all Jews, left, right, straight, LGBT, male , female, Orthodox, secular to stop and ask yourselves the following question: Should we align ourselves with any organization that looks to divide our comparatively small global population or work to unite ourselves, as a people under threat?

I choose the latter. I invite you to join me. United we stand, divided we fall.

About the Author
Shai is an Israeli television and media personality living abroad in Toronto, Canada. Following the 2014 Israel / Gaza war, Shai understood that his North American platform, afforded him the rare opportunity to educate against the rise in Antisemitism and Anti-Israel vitriol. In addition to his success in television and media, Shai now travels internationally, speaking to various international organizations & communities on combating the fallacies presented on Israel and the Israeli - Arab conflict.
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