Since I was a teenager, I loved Israel. She was an outgrowth of my understanding of who I was as a Jew, and as a human being. She spoke to me of renewal, understanding, and of a People that simply refused to die. I reveled in her existence and in her stubbornness. I knew that Jewish history was speaking through her. Perhaps I put too much emphasis on such a small country, a country full of fallible people. But what this little girl saw from her perch in middle America was a miracle. A miracle born of eons of slaughter, ghettos, inquisitions, pogroms and Holocaust. Israel lives not because of societies, civilization, and human culture, but in spite of humanity.
And today, I see within the anti-Israel movement, a singular obsession of Jew-hatred. I see that whenever the anti-Israel movement rears its ugly head, along comes antisemitism, and an exacerbation of Jew hatred. I understand that if you hate Israel, if you hold Israel, and only Israel to a particularly high standard, if the only nation in the world you decide is illegitimate is the world’s only Jewish state, then you are an anti-Semite. And this reality has shaped my politics.
I once had a conversation with someone I had respected, who told me that I need to learn to think of others. That when I vote I need to vote for everyone, and not just the Jews. He told me he learned how that was important while he was President of his conservative synagogue. He decided that despite all the known antisemitism of a political candidate that his progressive ideas and projects were more important. He chastised me for having a singular motivator. He along with those who see no evil, hear no evil, and decide only one side of the aisle speaks evil, ignore reality and live within a fantasy, and reject what is right in front of them.
But history repeats. And as it repeats there are Jews in Europe being told to keep their passports up to date, to make sure their finances are in order, and to start the process of possibly emigrating once again. We see the Holocaust mocked, civilized nations laude the terrorist murderers of Jewish babies, we see Jewish history distorted, reviled and denied. We see a resurgence of ignorance, xenophobia, hatred and above all Judeaphobia. Not only in Europe, but in the US. Not simply on the right, but as with Labour in the UK, the progressive Left is rising in the US and their target is Jewish freedom.
So, what is the answer? The answer is to wake up and see what is happening around you. The answer is to fight. Don’t accept it. Scream. Yell. Point it out. Don’t excuse it. Don’t turn away. Exclaim that racists and bigots have found a new way to excuse their behavior. Suddenly the Left has once again attached itself to the decades old rewritten definition of racism, which states that only if you have power and privilege can a person be a racist. This is as nonsensical as those who want to rewrite the international definition of antisemitism, to make sure they do not fall under its exegesis. Listen, those who want to rewrite the definition of racism, of hatred, of bigotry are themselves, without a doubt, purveyors of racism. If you need to rewrite the definition of hate to excuse yourself, you need to rethink how you view the world, your priorities, and your perspectives.
We need to remember that is important not to be afraid of being called a racist because you hold others to a modicum of decency when it comes to the Jewish People. There is no such thing as punching up when a person is filled with visceral ignorant hatred. When an individual is filled with hate, when they attack a group based on their skin color, their ethnic heritage, their religion, their gender identity, or nation of origin, that person is without a doubt a bigot, a purveyor of conspiratorial fantastical evil. They may try to dress their hatred up as political rhetoric, but that doesn’t mean their ideas are not anathema to a society of respect, equality and decency. Don’t be afraid of pointing out, that someone despite being on the “better side” of the aisle, isn’t fomenting antisemitism. Don’t be foolish enough to allow others to make excuses for Jew hatred simply because they hold to progressive political ideals. It is time for the Jews, here in the US, to stop being “useful idiots” for those that seek to obliterate the Jews from the face of the Earth, including some of our fellow Jews.
For whether or not people want to accept the reality that the anti-Israel movement is rife with antisemitism, truth is, that it is. It isn’t merely a different political voice. The projection of anti-Semitic vitriol once saved for the individual Jew is now thrown at the world’s only Jewish state. If you do not respect the Jewish people’s right to self-determination like every other people on the globe, you do not respect these same Jewish person’s right to live unassaulted within your own community. Antisemitism watchdog groups can tell you all about those polls and statistics, and the commingling of the world’s oldest hatred with modern political philosophy. We see it in the growth of antisemitism on college campuses, and the growing antisemitism in general worldwide. So yes, how a group thinks about Israel, is a barometer of how they think about Jews. Remember, that before a society will come after you for being a lawyer, a doctor, an artist, or your political bent, history has proven, that those that want to destroy us, will come after us simply because we are Jews.
The answer, of course, is not to turn away, or even run away. Those of us in the USA who understand what is at stake need to live here to fight another day. Israel needs the USA. For without America, the world’s only true superpower, no matter the miracle that is Israel, she cannot survive alone. And if there is no Israel, if antisemitism once again, becomes a global phenomenon, then Jews nowhere are safe. We return to the time of slaughter, ghettos, pogroms, inquisition, and Holocaust. History does repeat. And not always in a good way.
And yes, I do keep our US passports up to date…