Table of Contents:
Paradox as Prism: The Implications of Trump’s Supposed “Antisemitism”: Frederick Krantz, Isranet, Dec. 20, 2019
Student Who Sued NYU For Anti-Semitism: Trump Has ‘Empowered’ Jews On Campus: Adela Cojab Moadeb, NY Post. Dec 14, 2019
Why American Jews Slander President Trump: Caroline Glick, Israel Hayom, Dec. 13, 2019
The BDS Faith: Judaism without Zion: William Kolbrener, Fathom Journal, December/2019
Paradox As Prism: The Implications Of Trump’s Supposed “Antisemitism”
Isranet, Dec. 20, 2019
It seems rather paradoxical that President Donald J. Trump, the most pro-Israel President in U.S. history, by adopting the broad International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and strengthening Title VI mechanisms against the vicious anti-Israel and anti-Zionist hatred spreading on campuses, has himself now been denounced as an antisemite by “progressive” critics.
Upon closer attention, this seeming paradox is a kind of prism, through which we can see refracted larger, and deeply concerning socio-political issues, which deserve closer attention.
First is an assertive anti-religious stance on the part of “woke” left progressive activists, for whom religion generally and religious affirmation specifically, express ignorance and bigotry. The oft-noted “anti-Zionism” of the current “secular” left in fact draws, in part, on this larger rejection of religion and belief.
A second and related sub-theme informing the paradox is anti-“nationalism”. This politically “ideological” motif is connected to, but not identical with, “anti-globalism”, Uneasy with and distrustful of the nation, and less directly “economic”, anti-nationalism expresses a residual leftist “internationalist” vision, which sees in the national community only an exclusionary and repressive vehicle of “dominant-class” (“elite”) political and ideological imposition.
Today, among the West European states of the ”post-national” European Union, among North American progressives, and on university and college campuses, nationalism is a bad word, negatively associated with colonial-imperial and authoritarian-fascist domination. seeming paradox . And it is almost exclusively linked to the most successful (and oddly–another paradox—the least traditionally “colonialist”) of all modern nation-states, democratic Jewish Israel, and its cultural-ideological expression, Zionism.
This negative association of religion, nation and Israel-Zionism rests, in turn, upon a broader and deeper rejection of precisely that Western civilization which, produced by Judaism, Christianity, and Roman law, birthed the very idea and reality of the nation, individualism, and human rights. Since Western civilization is precisely the seed-bed of individualism, critical rationalism and human rights, its rejection by “progressive” advocates in the name of “diversity” and “equality” is not only ignorant and illogical, but intolerant and psychologically unstable, and also capable of profound self-hatred and loathing.
Turned inside-out and projected upon “the other”, radical “progressive” egalitarianism becomes exclusionary and, at its most radical, aggressive. (Hence, the “deprogramming” and “cancel-culture” riots on campus to shout, and shut, down alternate points of view held to be antithetical by supposedly “egalitarian” diversity advocates).
This paradoxical negative dialectic, presenting Trump’s anti-antisemitism as itself antisemitic, also has a specifically “Jewish” component, at once interesting and depressing. This component is, in part, a product of the contemporary left-liberal assimilationist mentality. But it also is tied to, and expresses, in a modern setting, a traditional phenomenon, Jewish assimilationism and, in the extreme, a very old affliction, Jewish self-hatred.
Israel’s very existence has since 1948, and especially after its defeat of Arab aggression in 1967 and 1973, triggered the so-called “new” anti-Semitism. Focused not on old and hoary negative Christian, and later secular, stereotypes about Jews’ presumed debilities (as persons or as a group, a religion, and, from the late nineteenth century, a race), the “new” anti-Semitism fastens on modern Israel as a Jewish nation-state. Jewish Israel once achieved became, as the socio-political expression and renewed center of Jewish Peoplehood, the ”Jew among the nations”.
Of course, long before 1948, Zionism and its project, Jewish nation-hood, drew the ire not only of hostile right, left and center European political and ideological entities (including nascent socialist, and later Communist, as well as fascist and Nazi movements), but also, within Jewry itself, of secular-liberal, Reform, and leftist Jews.
Recent Jewish critiques of Trump’s Title Six edict draw on and express different elements of these “traditions”. An almost text-book example of the paradox is provided by a recent article by Marcia Gessen in the New Yorker, “The Real Purpose of Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism” (Dec.12, 2019). Focusing on the essence of Trump’s (and the IHRA’s) broadened definition, which turns on Israel being the state of the Jewish People and Zionism its cultural-political expression, Gessen notes that Jared Kushner, defending Trump’s Hannukah edict in the New York Times, makes it clear that what is at stake (and what is for her problematic) is that “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism”.
For Gessen, who informs the reader that she grew, up in the Soviet Union, this “sleight of hand” renders any opposition to Israel and Zionism “anti-Semitic”, which is, she claims, to shut down any criticism. (An odd conclusion, given the ubiquity and sharpness of political division and debate within democratic Israel and Zionism themselves.) Citing [Israeli!] anti-Zionist groups like Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, she is certain that Israel ”has effectively created an apartheid state”, and that invoking “the memory of the Holocaust stands as a warning…in Palestine…”.
Trump, then, by supposedly illegitimately delimiting criticism of Jewish Israel, winds up being “a pro-Zionist anti-Semite” (which evidently accounts, as she claims later, for the 60% rise in anti-Semitic incidents during the first year of his Presidency [!]).
A similar reaction, and critique, was advanced by the “liberal” Jewish Democratic Council of America, whose executive director, Halie Soifer, termed Trump “the arsonist attempting to serve as the firefighter”, and his edict a “political stunt” used as part of his “re-election bid”. As with Gessen, the anti-Zionist J-Street group denounced “a cynical harmful measure designed to suppress free speech on college campuses”, which “unilaterally declares a broad range of nonviolent [sic!] campus criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitic…”.
(The radical groupuscule “Bend the Arc of Jewish Action”, denouncing Trump for being a “white Nationalist” who “time and time again… undermine[s] the civil rights” of black people, Muslim Americans, and “LGBTQ folks”, accuses him of “perverting the Civil Rights Act for political ends.)
These “Jewish” critiques of pro-Israel Zionism have a long and checkered historical pedigree. Jews, since the advent of modernity, have been attracted by the allure of participation in the national community (whether English, American, French or Austrian, German, Polish and Russian). This attraction was mediated by fear that assertions of Jewish national identity and rights would alienate potentially hostile “host-nations”. Jews had long lived with “the Jewish question”, the query by “liberal” advocates of nascent modern nationalism as to whether Jews, as an Am, a people or nation bound by their Tanakh’s call to Covenant and the Promise of Return to their Holy Land, could, in fact, be reliable citizens of the new post-1789 nation-states emerging across the nineteenth, with their shared language, culture, political community, and history. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
On Dec. 7, I had the honor of standing on stage at the Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) 2019 National Summit while President Trump affirmed the rights of Jewish students to a harassment-free environment on college campuses. Three days later, he signed an executive order to include Jewish students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
When I first started at NYU, I was excited to go to a school that championed diversity and inclusion — until that diversity and inclusion applied to everyone except my community. After years of overt protests, boycotts, and direct aggression toward Jewish students from NYU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the university honored the organization with the President’s Service Award for “outstanding contribution to NYU life.”
What did SJP do to “earn” this prize? They organized a 53-group boycott against Realize Israel, a non-political student organization, depicting assault rifles on flyers calling for a revolt. Further, at the 2018 Rave in the Park in which NYU students celebrated Israel Independence Day, one SJP member burned an Israeli flag and another physically assaulted a Jewish student; both students were arrested.
Throughout the year, I spoke with eight administrators from multiple NYU departments — the Office of Student Affairs; Center for Student Life; Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards; and even the Office of Public Safety — about rising hostility against the Jewish community on campus. My concerns were brushed off, and after the arrests, I was asked not to draw attention to the issue.
The presidential award solidified the university’s stance: violent acts against students on the basis of their views are not only tolerated, but celebrated, and the concerns of Jewish students are not to be taken seriously.
When I sued NYU for campus anti-Semitism, college leaders shrugged. It took the US president to do something about it.
NYU’s position stands in direct defiance of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which states, “If an institution knows or has reason to know about student-on-student harassment, Title VI requires that the school take immediate and effective action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and, where appropriate, address its effects on the harassed student and the school community.”
Although my legal complaint argued that NYU’s reaction — or lack thereof — to its Jewish community’s plight already violated Title VI, religion was not a protected class under civil rights law — at least until this week. President Trump’s new executive order not only changes that reality, but corrects a longtime gross injustice against Jewish students. The order expands Title VI’s existing protections to explicitly include discrimination against Jews. …. [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The past week has clarified a lot of things about the state of the American Jewish community – and its antagonists.
The two assailants who walked into the kosher supermarket in Jersey City Tuesday and opened fire intentionally targeted the Jews. The killers belonged to the black supremacist, virulently anti-Semitic “Black Hebrew Israelite” movement which claims its members are the true children of Israel and the Jews are satanic imposters.
The shooting in Jersey City marked a predictable escalation of the anti-Semitic attacks being carried out against Orthodox Jews in the New York area. The focal points of the attacks to date have been the ultra-Orthodox communities in Brooklyn. Over the past two years, the frequency of assaults has increased sharply. Most of them have been perpetrated by black anti-Semites. None have been carried out by white supremacist anti-Semites.
This is an important distinction because progressive politicians like New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Senator Bernie Sanders routinely present the anti-Semitic violence in Brooklyn as the product of white supremacists.
And while it is true that to date, white supremacist anti-Semitism has been the most lethal form of anti-Semitism in America, from a political and social perspective it poses a smaller danger to Jewish life in America than the three other forms of active anti-Semitism in America today: Progressive/socialist anti-Semitism, Islamist anti-Semitism and black anti-Semitism.
These forms of Jew-hatred pose a greater threat to Jewish life in America than white nationalist anti-Semitism for two reasons. First, whereas white supremacists are political orphans, with no political party willing to embrace them, progressive, Islamist and black anti-Semites are deeply embedded in the political left. Over the past 15 years, they have become powerful actors in the Democratic Party capable of bending the party to their will.
The second reason they pose a greater danger to Jewish life in America than white nationalists is because while socialist, Islamist and black anti-Semites will not cooperate with white supremacist anti-Semites, they are more than happy to work with one another to achieve their common goals. They cover for one another – as Sanders and De Blasio cover for the black anti-Semites in Brooklyn. They support one another, as both men embrace Islamist anti-Semite Linda Sarsour. Thursday Cong. Rashida Tlaib claimed that white supremacists were responsible for the attack in Jersey City. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Those advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who claim no connection between antisemitism and anti-Zionism have their own definitions of both antisemitism and Judaism. For them, religion, revolves around faith, as it does for Christians, but not the distinctly Jewish conception of nationhood – so that the State of Israel is seen not as a genuine expression of Judaism, but a cynical colonialist grab for power. This is one thing Trump gets right – Judaism is a nation before a religion in the Christian sense.
The refusal of Jewish exceptionalism has a long history. BDS-supporting progressives, wearing the multi-cultured garment of intersectionality, are not unlike most Christians before the founding of State of Israel: both seek to deny Jewish difference. The idea that ‘there is no Jew nor Greek,’ asserted by the apostle Paul, informs contemporary progressive versions of community. Such progressives may bristle at hearing themselves described as akin to Christian universalism, but in their urge to deny Jewish difference, they show many affinities to older forms of antisemitism. Just as they did in relationship to Christianity, today Jews give the lie to universalist claims. Then, as now, the Jew is made the excluded outsider, the one difference excluded from the universalism of difference.
Today, the most obvious expression of Jewish exceptionalism is the State of Israel, and thus the target of antisemitic attack. For those progressives who reject Judaism as defined through peoplehood and practices, mere Judaism as faith does not justify Jewish nationhood, in fact, it’s an affront to their sensibility, a betrayal of what real faith should be. But Judaism encompasses every aspect of public and private life – mandating not only laws about diet, sex, and work but laws in relationship to farming, commerce, charity. The latter category of laws also includes ways in which produce of the Land of Israel must be designated for the poor. That is, Judaism imagines itself – in its ideal form – as a way of life and aspires to found that encompassing life in relationship to the Jewish community in the Land of Israel. This is the way Jewish peoplehood has been expressed as an ideal in exile for at least two thousand years, and as a lived reality, however flawed, in the current State of Israel. Those who advocate BDS, however, having determined what Judaism is, can go ahead and deny any connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, calling out the Jewish State as colonialist because they insist that religion, and therefore Judaism, must be determined by faith alone. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
The Real Purpose of Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism: Masha Gessen, New Yorker, Dec. 12, 2019 — Donald Trump has a knack for taking some of humanity’s most problematic ideas and turning them on their head to make them even worse. He has done it again.
President Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism: Dan Diker, JCPA, Dec. 15, 2019 — President Donald Trump’s signing of an Executive Order on December 11, 2019, applying Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Jewish Americans, is arguably the most significant single presidential action protecting their civil rights since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act into law 55 years ago.
Duke University Agrees To Address Antisemitism Concerns Following Education Dept. Complaint: Algemeiner, Dec. 17, 2019 — The US Department of Education resolved a complaint this month against Duke University, which has agreed to take several steps to address concerns over antisemitism stemming from a March conference on Gaza, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) announced.
The Real Dangers to Jews: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Dec. 11, 2019 –– The past 24 hours provided a clear and painful picture of the momentous challenges American Jews face these days.
Of Course, Bernie Sanders Has a Jeremy Corbyn Problem: David Harsanyi, National Review, Dec. 17, 2019 — “Trotsky makes the revolutions, and the Bronsteins pay the bills.” This was the purported rejoinder of Moscow’s chief rabbi, Jacob Maze, after Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky — the former Lev Bronstein — rebuffed his request for assistance, explaining that he was not a Jew but rather an international man of socialism.